Before you even start looking for an off-campus house to live in, you need to think about who you will be living with. You may have had an awesome roommate last year if you lived in residence at McMaster, or you may have had a terrible one. Do you want to live with this person again? Are there any people on your residence floor who might be looking to join a group of students to live in an off-campus house for their second year at Mac? Generally, friends group up together and look for housing together, typically during the summer off from school. But if you plan on living off-campus, we recommend you start your house search early so you can get the best selection. Most houses are available in May, and students sublet over the summer.
Living arrangements in a rented house are often in groups of two or more people. While some houses go up to eight, the number depends on first deciding who you want to live with.
The next step is determining the budget for rent – not everyone can afford $700 a month. The average rent for a room in an off-campus house is $500, with shared bathrooms and kitchens.
When looking at houses near Mac, consider how many roommates are included and if utilities are included as well so that overall cost isn’t too high. Typically you will share utilities as a group, and pay one utility bill. So if you have a housemate that uses a lot of electricity, you end up splitting the cost between the group. The more housemates you have, the more that cost is split between and you can end up paying less individually.
The last step to finding the perfect rental house is deciding what you want out of your living situation – whether it be yard space or close proximity to campus. Some students might prefer being around other people their age, while others may not mind some solitude on their way home from class.
When choosing who to live with in your student rental house, you need to remember that living with a group of people is difficult. Sometimes the people you want to live in your student rental house don’t end up working out. From year to year the people in your house may change. Just because these people are your friends doesn’t mean it’s easy to live with them; sometimes, they can even make things more difficult.
If you don’t have any close friends who want to group up and rent a house with you, look at this as an opportunity to make new friends. You never know, your new housemate might become your new best friend! Go online and search for McMaster groups and directories to help you find other students looking to group up and rent a house together. One tool you can use is McMaster’s housemate connecting service called McMatch.
Choosing who to live with in your student rental house can be stressful, but it is an exciting experience once you move in and get to enjoy off-campus living with a group of fellow McMaster University students. Now, once you’ve figured out who you’re going to live with, you can start actually looking for a place.