Students have multiple choices when living near campus
By Ed Waller
For most college students, life after the dorms tends to lead to living in a house or an apartment, but for those students that do not know which type of establishment they want to live in, it sometimes is useful to hear from students that already know the pros and cons.
Junior bio-chemistry major, KC Muzik thinks living in a house is a better choice for a lot of reasons.
“I’ve been living here since the start of school in the fall,” Muzik said. “There’s a lot of things I really like about living in a house.”
“There’s a lot more room, you’re able to have pets, you don’t have to hear what your upstairs neighbors are doing and the best part to me is you feel like you can have your own space other than your room,” Muzik said. “Another great thing is we don’t get noise complaints even though we play a lot of loud music.”
However, like most things in life, there is always down sides to living in a house, Muzik added.
“The rent is really cheap but in the winter months the heat is really, really high because the house can’t keep heat in,” Muzik said. “A lot of the houses around like mine, are a little older so keeping in the heat and the cold air out is kind of a task in itself.”
“You’re spread out from your friends and if you break something you have to fix it yourself and not be able to call the apartment maintenance people,” Muzik said. “Also we live in an actual neighborhood, it’s kind of far from campus and students don’t really live near us, so it’s mostly families living near us.”
“I’m moving to the east side of the state but if I was staying at Western I would live in the house again,” Muzik added.
In addition to living in a neighborhood, crime comes with the package, and although Muzik has never had any problems with it, there are incidents that happen all the time to homeowners and renters.
Maggie Sanders, a junior social work major, is on the other side of this match up, she lives in Hidden Hills Apartments.
Like Muzik, Sanders has been living in her apartment since the beginning of the school year as well and has had more than enough time to see the pros and cons of living in her apartment.
Sanders first chose to live in apartments because of what she had heard about living in houses and what she already knew about life in apartments.
“I heard that houses get broken into a lot over breaks, she said. “I didn’t want to have to do any maintenance myself and I was able to find a pretty good deal. The payments are pretty inexpensive as well.”
“I like that maintenance is immediately taken care of because the complex has someone on staff; sometimes with houses it takes the landlord a while to fix something that could be important,” she said. “I think I feel more secure than I would living with all girls in a house. It’s hard to break into a second floor apartment and having people living so close around me makes me feel more secure as
Sanders also likes the social aspect of living in apartments.
“It’s also nice when they are all college kids who like to socialize, you get to meet more people,” she said.
Although Sanders enjoys living in Hidden Hills, the recent fire and the string of fires that have been happening to apartment complexes around Western Michigan University worries her along with other issues as well.
“Obviously the recent fire at Hidden Hills, which was just down the way from my place, represents a huge con,” Sanders said. “It is definitely scary. It’s scary to think that something so destructive would happen to your stuff without having any control over it. Although I don’t have anything exceptionally valuable in my apartment it’s still concerning that all of my clothes, books and things I need everyday could be gone so quickly.”
Sanders adds that neighbors can be bothersome, especially in noise levels.
“It can also get annoying to live in a flat with very little space,” she said. “With four roommates sometimes it would be nicer to be able to spread out more and get some personal space other than your room.”
“I am moving to a different apartment which is condo style because I would rather not have upstairs and downstairs neighbors,” she said about her future living arrangements.
Hidden Hills community manager, Lisah Simon, recommends apartments over renting houses because of the convenience of management on site.
“If you need anything you can come right down and speak face to face with somebody whereas if you rent a house, typically they own more than one house, she said. It’s going to take time to get in touch with them and you’re pretty much at their whim whenever they feel like coming to you to address your issue.”
The renting prices are another factor in consideration. Simon said the renting prices seems to be steady compared to the housing market.
“I know that for the most part, people are not raising their rent significantly,” she said. “We’ve seen kind of a freeze in the past few years. Actually last year we saw a decrease in renting prices. It should even out a little, I think prices should probably stay the same with the economy being the way it is, doesn’t look like we will have any new developments.”
As far as the fire risk goes, Simon recommends apartment owners get renters insurance.
“Make sure that you’re covered either on your parent’s homeowners or your own separate policy and make sure that you are always on the lookout for potential risks,” Simon said. “I know that some kids have ignored taking down their smoke detectors because when they cook they go off, you just want to make sure you’re being as proactive as possible to minimize your risk.”