Searching for a suitable home can be a daunting task
Especially if you are a student in a foreign country. At times you may find yourself at the mercy of people and circumstances beyond your control so it’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into.
I’ll preface this by saying that getting your own place off-campus is a big step towards “adulting”. Seriously. It’s basically jumping into the deep end of real life. You’ll learn a lot and meet a lot of new people.
You will, however, have to seriously consider the pros and cons of such a move.
Getting your own place off-campus is a big step towards adulting. Seriously. It’s basically jumping into the deep end of real life.
Here’s a few reasons why you should move:
• Privacy – Let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to have any privacy in a college dorm. Apartments provide much more privacy. Even if you choose a “shared” apartment arrangement, you will typically have a private bedroom and sometimes a bathroom. Pro-Tip: make sure you know at least one of your roommates well.
• Fewer Rules – In the dorm, you will have very strict codes of conduct and possibly even a curfew. When you live in an apartment, you can come and go as you please, often with fewer restrictions on what you can do within your own space.
Another advantage is less surprise inspections. Although your landlord may have access to your space at any time, he/she will typically notify you in advance. Dorm inspections can happen any time and occur frequently.
• More Space – In most cases, your apartment will have much more space than your dorm. You’ll have a full kitchen, a living area, a bedroom, and a private bathroom. In the dorm, you’ll be lucky to have enough space for your bed and a desk.
• Food is Cheaper – In many cases, shopping for groceries and making your own meals is cheaper than the campus meal plans or ordering fast food. On-campus, you have fewer options for meals and you are at the mercy of the cafeteria’s hours.
Living in an apartment gives you the option of more menu choices and you can eat whenever you feel hungry.
So how do you go about renting your first place in Malaysia?
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
1. Finding a place
The good news is that Malaysia offers a host of ways how you can find a place to stay. You can ask your friends if they know of anyone renting (usually a good idea to get a reference) and besides the traditional ways like engaging a real-estate agent, there are a lot of websites which allow landlords and tenants to connect.
Try Mudah, Caribilik for a start. Some universities and colleges have their own agreements with apartment owners.
You may be interested to know that some renters will specify the type of tenant that they are willing to accept and accommodate.
This can be anything from gender to nationality. There’s nothing you can do about it if you fall on the wrong side of the requirements. Best to move on to the next apartment.
2. Pick your roommates carefully.
Renting an entire house may be out of the reach of most students so you may opt to either rent with your friends or look for an existing availability. I’ll add a caveat about shitty roommates. Often the quality of life you get is directly related to the people you live with.
3. Discuss the bills and payment
How much? If you are getting a room in an apartment, you will find that they are usually listed by room size and utilities. Make sure this is clearly stated out in the beginning and written down so there is a record in case anything goes belly-up. Most places will ask you to pay a refundable deposit of 2 months’ rent plus one month for utilities. DO NOT PAY IN CASH. Make sure there is a paper trail showing who is receiving the money.