You're looking for an apartment in Orlando for yourself or a student that will be attending UCF, Valencia, Seminole State, or Full Sail. Where do you start and what should you expect along the way? When should you have something secured? I can help with all of that!
Hi! I'm Rob. I've been working in Student Housing for the past twenty years (apartments in Gainesville & Orlando), most recently as the General Manager of UCF-affiliated community. I'm going to tell you how to repeatedly narrow your scope to a few core options and then advise you on how to help select from those choices. You've got this.
Options are great, but we don't want to leave this process with too many. There's a reason those shows were people shop for their next house always wind up with three choices. Too many UCF apartments to consider and you'll end up with vertigo and forgetting which had what.
Start with price. Everyone has a budget and you should start with an honest assessment of what's comfortable for you and your family. Keep in mind that this is college – the last time in your life where it's sort of cool to be poor. Shelling out for a lavish pad may not be as fulfilling as you think. Only you know what's right for you.
Can you bear to share a bathroom with a friend or roommate in your apartment near UCF? Virtually all off-campus housing provides free roommate matching so don't worry about that step. How many roommates can you stand to have? Going with a lot of roommates early in your college career is a good move. First, it saves money (rent is cheaper the more roommates you have) but it also provides an opportunity to make lifelong friends. You'll have lots of options for three-bedroom or four-bedroom apartments near UCF to choose from. Or, if you value your privacy, this is the time to secure a one-bedroom or two-bedroom sized unit somewhere.
Next comes location. If you have a vehicle of your own you can afford to venture a little further from UCF campus. Otherwise, you're going to want a community with a dedicated shuttle to UCF. Even with a car a shuttle is nice. The good news is most places within a couple miles of campus have free shuttle service to UCF. Be mindful of traffic, specific shuttle routes and where they drop off on campus relative to your classes.
Now you should be down to about 5-6 options you're open to. Start to dig into the particulars and narrow your search to 3-4 communities you want to visit in person. Do you have to pay for parking? Extra fees or reoccurring charges you need to factor in? Sign up fees?
When is the best time to sign a lease for UCF apartments?
Time is becoming important now as the Orlando student market for apartments has filled up fairly early in recent years. You'll want to have a firm choice in mind by UCF's spring break, if not sooner as some communities will be sold out by that time. In addition, it's common for prices to increase as the season goes on from its start in November to May and in the final days leading to move-in before school starts in August.
Most communities don't require appointments so take a friend or family member and get looking! Think you can picture your day-to-day life there? Sounds like you've got a finalist! Once you know where you want to live, lock it down!