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Student Housing: The parent’s Guide to Finding the Perfect Fit

Jun 29, 2016 09:38AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Nelson Brothers

Cottonwood Heights

Student housing has been on my mind as my son, Jacob, prepares for college. While we’re focusing on ACT prep, perfecting his GPA, and finishing that Eagle Scout for the finishing touch on his college applications, my mind is going full speed ahead.

Finding the right type of housing in Utah will help define Jacob’s college experience. So, I was excited to sit down with Pat Nelson, CEO of Nelson-Brothers Property Management (managing over 19 student housing properties throughout the country, including University Gateway, University Towers, 9 & 9 Lofts, Park Plaza, 900 Factory, and Alpine Flats in Utah) to get some tips on how to choose the best student housing. Here are four things to consider before you put money down on that first month’s rent.

1. Does it make life efficient and easy?

Securing housing that places your student in proximity to everything he or she needs can be tricky, but will make a big difference over time. “People don't realize how much 10-15 minutes a day adds up over four years,” said Nelson. “Make sure you choose a place that makes your student’s life efficient so they spend time on what is most important.” Ultimately, if Jacob’s life is more efficient, mine will be too.


2. Is it safe?

The location is a plus, but the condition of the property needs to be evaluated. For example, are the units equipped with carbon monoxide alarms and lighted hallways? Is it in a good neighborhood? How well does the management care for the property? Do I feel comfortable around the other residents? Look for properties that are near public transportation and provide safe and well-lighted parking.


3. Is it priced right?

Do you rent the nicest apartment or the one that’s budget friendly? The answer is to consider your needs and the amenities the housing provides. “Some properties may charge more, but they offer on-site laundry facilities, a fully furnished unit, a swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, or a game room,” said Nelson. “The cost of many of those features is figured into the rent and could save you money overall. Even more importantly, it can give students more time at the library instead of hassling with the laundromat or constantly searching for the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot.”

Before you scratch the upscale apartments off your list, add up the cost of the perks—it might be worth it.


4. Does it have the right vibe?

Different apartment complexes have different vibes—you’ll be happiest with one that suits your student's lifestyle best. “A law student may not want to live in a highly social complex,” said Nelson. “Rather, he or she will probably need a quieter, more academic environment. In contrast, an incoming freshman may enjoy an environment with a robust social network.”


To ensure your student’s home away from home will be sweet, allow yourself enough time to consider factors like the freshman experience, location, safety, price, and social element of the available properties.

For more information on Nelson Brothers’ Utah properties, please visit: www.nelsonbrothersutah.com.

Next article: “Why You Should Live in Student Housing Even When You Are Local” 

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