OPINION: The do’s and don’ts of finding a place to live in Manhattan

As students prepare their living arrangements for next year, there are many variables to think about. Location, price – and of course - roommate compatibility are some to consider. (Photo Illustration by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Congratulations! As part of your college experience, you’ve taken the first step in being a self-sufficient adult by wanting to find your own place to live. No group living, no dormitories, no mother’s basement — just you, your possible roommates and the low-budget home of your dreams.

Whether you’re finding an apartment, a house or something in between, finding a living space can be tricky when you spend most of your time studying and working. From someone who’s had a different living situation every year of college, here are a few do’s and don’ts to make the house hunting process easier for you in Manhattan.

Do: Look for rental listings EVERYWHERE

The hardest part of finding a place to live is knowing where to start. Put simply, look everywhere. Searching online is a good place to begin (typing “Manhattan apartment” into Google works for me), but it’s also smart to look at newspaper advertisements and “For Rent” signs on the side of the road.

Don’t: Live somewhere because someone told you to

Nothing will make your living situation more sad than spending your waking hours in a home full of broken promises. Maybe your friends are different, but I’ve only had bad experiences going off of other people’s living recommendations. Whether it’s “This place is great” or “I’ll cover most of the rent,” don’t rely on other people for your livelihood and financial stability.

Do: Find a roommate

While there are many one-bedroom and studio apartments in Manhattan for those who value privacy, the high cost of living in a college town means you might want to find a roommate. Splitting a multi-bedroom place between several people can often be cheaper than living on your own. Friends, classmates and people you meet online are all good roommate options, but use common sense when you’re making those calls.

Don’t: Find an immature roommate

Living with someone else will always have its difficulties, so make sure you room with people who will actually listen when you talk through your issues. Good roommates provide space, courtesy and tidiness in their living arrangement. Living with someone who does none of those things is a hellish exercise in patience, especially if they’re too immature and stubborn to change their ways.

Do: Schedule a showing before you move in

They say seeing is believing, so if you want to feel confident and comfortable in your choice of residence, scheduling a showing beforehand is a must. Pictures can lie to you, and nothing will tell the whole story quite like seeing it in person. Once you’re physically there, try to imagine yourself living in the space and see if it feels right to you.

Don’t: Let someone rush you through a showing

During a showing, it’s important to look for things that might become problems later, like a crappy shower or cold concrete floors. If the person showing you around the residence is trying to rush you through it with no time for questions, that’s probably a sign they don’t want you looking too closely, no matter what excuse they give you. If a rental company doesn’t have time for you, you don’t have time for them.

Do: Look up reviews online

Hearing from the former occupants of your chosen abode is a good way to see what obstacles you’ll face while living there. It’s best to read both good and bad reviews so you get a full picture of what to expect in your residence. Reading reviews of your rental company/landlord is also a good idea so there are no surprises when you sign the lease. Don’t worry if there are no reviews — sometimes a forgettable landlord is much better than a bad landlord.

Don’t: Tolerate your landlord’s bulls***

I’ve only had experience with three rental companies in Manhattan — Alliance and Frontier are recommended, Aggietown is not — and I’ve learned a lot from them, namely that your property management can’t step all over you. As a tenant, you should know your rights and stand up for yourself if your landlord or rental company is bullying you, violating their lease or breaking the law. If you’re a tenant with grievances, I highly recommend contacting Kansas State’s very own Student Legal Services at 785-532-6432.

Kyle Hampel is the reviews and opinion editor for the Collegian and a junior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.