Finding affordable, quality, off-campus housing can be a challenge for students who are just beginning to develop their sense of independence.
Student Spaces, a new housing website, was recently launched in order to help students find affordable living around various college campuses by recent Texas State University graduate, Nassim Joseph.
Over the last several years, the population of Sam Houston State University has grown tremendously, creating some complications regarding the placement of students. Based on campus policy, all freshman must live on campus for the entirety of the school year while students of higher classifications have the option of living somewhere off campus.
Joseph’s website attempts to aid these students’ housing decisions, serving students located near the campuses of the University of Texas at Austin and San Antonio, Texas Southern University, SHSU, Texas Tech, Baylor University and the University of North Texas.
“After helping students find rentals at Texas State University as a licensed real estate agent, I noticed a large disconnect between properties and potential renters,” Joseph said. “Students are new to renting and do not understand how the leasing process works or the significance of it. Our website seeks to educate the student renter and provide them with a streamlined search process that makes finding the right place as easy as possible.”
For many students, transitioning from on-campus living to living off campus can be highly overwhelming.
“Prospective student renters and their parents find it difficult to quickly view appropriate listings,” Student Spaces spokesperson Renita Smith said. “Student housing property managers find it difficult to target student renters directly.”
There seems to be numerous issues with attracting new tenants in areas highly concentrated with a youthful population.
“In my experience, properties were more concerned with pushing their latest move-in specials than educating prospects on the details of the lease contract,” Joseph said. “The more rewarding part of my job was knowing which questions to ask while escorting students to properties around town, and making sure they understood that signing a lease is a big decision.”
As a student, Joseph said he had some trouble finding an apartment to rent while still in school.
“The most stressful experience for me was when I needed a one-bedroom apartment for my sophomore year of college,” he said. “I had subleased a room from a friend for the summer and didn’t think finding a place of my own for the fall semester would be difficult. After waiting until the last minute, I realized how wrong I was. It took at least 10 property visits over the course of an entire day before I found an available apartment. Securing the unit required a deposit that day and all of the leasing paperwork needed to be turned in the day after in order for me to move in within a couple of days.”
According to Joseph, utilizing his website is how students can avoid getting into a similar situation.
“Students are able to filter their searches based on what matters (furnishings, washer and dryer, pet policies, individual/conventional leases), get answers to rental questions from licensed real estate agents using our Q&A feature and have access to valuable rental market insight,” Joseph said. “Users have access to charts showing the average rents and unit availability, their saved favorite listings and messages from properties from their dashboard. All of these features combined allow the student to make an educated choice, while providing a direct link to properties without any third party being involved in the process.”
Students can find more information at studentspaces.net or by calling the toll-free number 1-800-859-9472.