Tip #1: Start Looking Early

            Off-campus living can be extremely hard to find in Kingston, especially when you’re considering multiple factors such as location i.e. (proximity to campus, entertainment, and grocery stores), pricing, number of housemates required, number of bathrooms, additional amenities, security, and leasing management companies. Furthermore, most places become available in October and November of your first year. With that being said, it's also important to consider how many first-year students need housing in their second year; according to the Queen’s 2022-23 Enrolment Report, there were 5,420 first-year students. Add in the fact that St Lawrence College students are also looking for housing, and it’s easy to see how waiting till the last minute to look can be a recipe for disaster as pickings become slimmer. With that being said, the biggest piece of advice you will receive from any upper-year student at any post-secondary institution is to start looking as early as possible. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to find a place that meets your desired requirements.

Tip #2: How to Find Housemates

            It can be extremely hard to know if someone will make a “good” housemate early on; you’re in a new environment where you’re meeting a lot of new people, and while you’re making friends, you may not know enough about someone to make a good judgment on if they will be a suitable housemate for you. What defines a suitable housemate can be different for everyone, therefore, it’s important that you create a list outlining qualities or things you’re looking for in a housemate. These qualities may include things such as that they’re clean or that they’re in the same program as you. There’s no one list that suits everyone so make sure that you create one that’s personalized for you. You may not find housemates that meet every single thing on your list, but at least you’ll have a better idea of what it is that you want and don’t want.

Tip #3: Make A Housemate Agreement

            While housing with friends can be a fun and exciting experience, it’s important that you all agree on rules for your house, both so that there is a clear understanding of everyone’s expectations and quite frankly, for the sake of your friendship. Housemate agreements typically include various aspects, and templates can be found online. For example, a household might decide to include guidelines in terms of groceries. Does everyone buy, eat, and label their own food? Does everyone eat whatever they find in the cupboards regardless of who paid for it? Are certain goods (i.e. toilet paper) common with payment being split evenly and others individually paid for? These types of things should be clearly outlined and agreed upon by all housemates so that everyone is aware and to avoid potential misunderstandings.

Tip #4: Having a Budget When Looking For Housing

            When looking for housing, it’s important to have a budget. In terms of creating that list, I have 3 components that I would advise:

  1. Do a lot of research on Kingston and what the norms are. 
  2. For parents, know what you are comfortable with in terms of where your child is. For example, area and security.
  3. Have a list of must-haves or non-negotiables that you do not want to budge on. For example, if you don’t want to share a bathroom with anyone else, 
  4. Set a budget but be open to that budget changing when choosing housing

These tips may sound extremely simple for budget-creating, but they allow you to outline exactly what you are looking for, as well as what is required for you (and your parents) to be comfortable with your living situation. 

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