As many first-year college students can attest, the idea of independent living is an exciting one. I have been planning for my very own apartment since I was about twelve years old. So when a few of my friends said they were looking for another roommate, I jumped at the chance. 

My friends and I met in Redding last year, back when all the freshman Honors students lived together. One of them was actually my randomly assigned roommate, but all four of us spent the whole of last year practically inseparable, so I knew we’d work well sharing an apartment. My floor was very closely connected, even if we weren’t all best friends, and I missed living with people my own age. That’s the thing I’m looking forward to most next fall semester. 

Our first step was identifying our building or property management company of choice. We knew we wanted either two or four bedrooms, depending on price. We also wanted two bathrooms. Like most people who have lived in a dorm building, we desired at least a little more privacy than we had there.

The two management companies we focused on were Tsionas and Lang. I get the impression that they’re the most popular companies among students in Newark. It was apparently commonplace up until this year for prospective tenants to camp outside the Lang management building in order to secure a lease. I didn’t know anyone could be that intense about an apartment, but it must make a good story at the very least!

Throughout our search, we found that both companies have their positives and negatives. Tsionas tends to be more expensive, but Lang makes you pay utilities separately from your rent. Both require students to have a cosigner, or a functional adult who can vouch for your ability to pay your rent on time. Lang needs that contract to be notarized, which is a bit of a pain, though not impossible. Tsionas is more trusting, just asking that the cosigners’ signatures be on the application and the lease. I would be more leery of that trust if I were rooming with people I didn’t know, but I trust my friends to be responsible and pay their share of the rent. 

Something I didn’t know when we first started is that most property management companies don’t provide rent prices online. You have to call and ask for the prices on specific units or buildings. Even then, they can often only give you an estimate or price range instead of exact prices. I assume it’s a combination of a lack of knowledge of the following year’s utility and upkeep prices, and wanting to gauge the amount of people interested in the building. 

If you’re thinking about an apartment for next year or any point after that, my best advice is to START EARLY. While it’s entirely possible for you to find an apartment later on, the likelihood of it being exactly what you want goes downhill pretty sharply once you get into November of the year before. Lang’s leasing day was October 1st, so most of their apartments were reserved for next year right away.

So, start early and don’t be afraid to reach out if you have questions. The property managers would much rather you have all the information you need before you sign the lease to avoid any possible problems afterward. Good luck!

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