Finding Your First Apartment: Madison

 Finding UW-Madison off campus housing is a nerve-racking experience. Whether you are just starting off college or simply moving to a new city, each area has its own unique tricks to finding your perfect place. While there are many options to choose from, there are important details to consider that help narrow down the decision pool. Among these are price, area, utilities included, and also nearby amenities.

Finances: What can you expect to afford in Madison?

One of the most important things to consider when you are looking for an apartment in Madison is your price range. Before you begin, you should sit down and figure out how much you can afford to spend every month and then don’t forget to leave an amount to pay your initial security deposit. Costs to take into account are rent, groceries, utilities not included in your rental agreement, and extracurriculars since Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and as such has many amenities to enjoy.

Rent is one of the biggest costs of living to consider and it fluctuates depending on what type of apartment you are looking at (studio, 1 bedroom, duplex, etc.), area, and amenities included in your rental agreement. Madison apartments can generally cost between $600 and $900 a person per month. Proximity to UW can also affect the price of your apartment. (Many apartment leases do not include electricity and some also exclude internet or charge extra on top of rent.)

Area: Where should you live?

Madison is a large city, being the capital of Wisconsin. The areas to live in are varied as you will find in all larger cities, but to find a place near campus is a much smaller search radius. Many of the places near campus are categorized by street name and will consist of student tenants. There are still many areas to choose from, including Monroe Street, Campus Drive (which is turns into University Avenue heading east), and then northeast of the UW campus, which is right by the lake. Each of these areas is right near campus and is primarily students living there. Don’t forget to research the area you are thinking of living in before you choose it.

Looking: What to look out for.

While you are searching for your apartment in Madison, be sure to keep an eye out for things included in the rental cost and things that are not. The biggest costs to look for are heat, cooking gas, electric, internet, and if the facility has on-site laundry. Before you sign a lease, read it over carefully because some landlords will try to slip in a clause that you do not need to sign on with. If you are questioning anything in the lease you can search for the Tenants’ Rights Handbook.

Callie Kollenbroich has been the Operations Coordinator and Content Writer/Editor at Rent College Pads since 2015. When she's not working, you can find her at home, eating peanut butter out of the jar and bingeing an unhealthy amount of Forensic Files. She's not as lame as she sounds.

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