I’m looking to live off-campus for the first time. What are some things I should look for in an apartment near Florida State University?

The decision to move off campus was one of the hardest that I have had to make in college. When my friends and I embarked on our quest to find a 2 bedroom FSU apartment, we had little to no prior knowledge and no clue where to start. It took months, and while we eventually figured it out, the only reason we didn't pull our hair out was that one of us worked for a realtor company and at least vaguely knew what to look for. If you are going to shop for apartments – and I highly recommend living off-campus at least for your last year in college – then you will need to compile a checklist of key things to search for in potential candidates. Paying attention to these things will ensure that your space meets all of your needs and wants and that you don't have any post-move-in regrets.

1. A floor plan that suits you.

A vital first step is to figure out the logistics of what you want out of your space. If you're going to be living with roommates, this process will be much easier if you know the roommate situation prior to your search. That means knowing who you'll be living with, visiting the same apartments together, and communicating what you want from the space so you're consistently on the same page. Most apartments near FSU will have many different floor plans to choose from; it's important to define how many rooms you need and how many bathrooms you want before going on any tours. Be open and honest with your roommates about the amount of space that you're comfortable with.

2. Safety.

This is probably an obvious one, but what does safety really mean? If you're anything like me and you're moving from the campus dorms, you've most likely taken the safety measures of on-campus living for granted. Between the RA's, the on-campus police, and the emergency plans for just about everything, safety isn't really at the forefront of a college student's mind. However, safety off-campus is an entirely different story. Every person has their own preferences when it comes to safety, but it's good to lay out a few minimum requirements for an apartment. These may include gated Tallahassee apartments, emergency stations, and Courtesy Patrol Officers. If anything on this list is the most important, it's this one.

3. Proximity to your Florida State University.

As a student, one thing to consider if choosing an student apartment close to campus. Speaking from experience, a 15-minute commute takes a bit of time getting used to, especially when you're so used to being right on campus every day. In most college towns, there are so many options for an apartment close to Florida State University, and it couldn't hurt to take a look into those first. You'll even find a few of the apartments are within walking distance to FSU campus. Even if it means spending a little bit more money, you'll be saving yourself time and energy living somewhere close. Apartments close to campus also generally house mostly (if not only) students, which means you'll be surrounded by people your own age.

4. Transportation to campus.

It is vital to figure out what kind of transportation accommodations there will be going to and from your apartment. In some places, you can simply walk or bike to school or work, in which case you will want to make sure there's a safe place to lock up your bike. If you will have to drive, you will want to look into places with cheap, if not free, parking. However, if you weren't able to score a spot near campus and you don't have a car, you're not out of luck. Most apartments have buses that can transport you to and from school and other popular areas around town.

5. Your ideal community.

Living in the dorms, there were always new events, social opportunities, and activities happening daily. After all of that activity, the community of an apartment is an important factor to keep in mind during your search. Do you want somewhere lively with lots of events going on? Do you want somewhere a bit quieter? Do you want somewhere you can throw house parties, or do you want somewhere where you can relax by the pool in peace and quiet? Although this step may not seem necessary, it is a checklist item that is necessary if you're hoping to find the best off-campus housing near FSU. It's a weird shift going from a place where you know everybody to a place where you don't know a soul and choosing an apartment near FSU that facilitates community can help you make new friends and give you the incentive to live there. It will also likely help you feel safer and more comfortable in the community. 

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTally.com or any of our advertising partners.