How to Find Affordable Housing for Your College Kid

As the parents of a college kid, your life is going to be full of excitement and mixed feelings. You still have a student to send to school, but you also now do with a little bit more freedom. College students are no longer inherently children and minors. They’ve just started with the legal age. They can vote, they can live on their own, and they can even drive.

This means that in this season of your kid’s life, it’s also time for you to give more freedom when it comes to college accommodations. Your kid may want to study far from home, so this adds up to your responsibility of choosing – and eventually helping pay for the housing accommodation of your college kid.

Like any regular parent, it’s understandable too that you’re going to be on a tight budget. You’ll want to find the best deals possible for your kid’s college accommodation. To help you along this line, remember these tips:

  1. Point Out Your Personal Deal-Breakers

When you start your search for properties on the Internet, you’re inevitably going to come across a myriad of possibilities for housing options.

There are many, yes. Right there and then, it helps to be able to list what aspects or factors of each option is a deal-breaker for you. That way, you can scrap options off your list, while looking for cheap student housing.

Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the quality of life of your college kid while in the university. Listing down your deal-breakers can help cut down the housing that, although affordable, doesn’t work well for your kid.

Here are some of these possible deal-breakers:

  • How you, as the parent, feel about your child accepting overnight guests
  • The commute time of your kid to and from school
  • Whether your college kid wants to have a roommate and works well with a roommate
  • Whether or not the apartment is smoking or non-smoking
  • Whether or not the housing accepts pets, especially if your kid intends on having one
  1. Consider Renting Off-Campus

Generally, first-year students tend to stay in on-campus living arrangements for the first semester of their college life. This gives them a better opportunity to adjust to living away from home.

In-campus living choices such as dormitories, for instance, have their meals laid out for them in the cafeteria, no electricity bills, and house management to worry about, and it’s also a few steps away from the school buildings.

But, the caveat is that living in an on-campus dormitory can be quite expensive. In this case, you may want to consider renting off-campus options. Living off-campus is, in fact, not only cheaper, but it’s also one of the best ways to teach your young adult about adulthood in general.

They learn life skills beyond what the four walls of the classroom and books can offer.

By renting off-campus, you not only save a few hundred bucks. But, each time that your college kid comes home to you, you realize that they’ve grown a little bit more responsible than before.

Because your kid is now in charge of budgeting and managing their own “home” away from home, you’re also teaching them a thing or two about saving and being more financially responsible.

  1. Download Real Estate Apps

Apart from the Internet, your mobile phone is also an excellent resource.

All thanks to technology, you can also do your search process right in the comfort of your hands. This step begins with real estate mobile phone apps. Download these apps and start searching for possibilities within the local area of your child’s university.

In these apps, you can search for new options daily.

Then, you can even apply your filters as to which choices speak well to you or not. You can save your chosen listings to make tracking an easier process for you. Through real estate apps, your search process is now made easier.

  1. Consider Living In A Senior Center

A senior center refers to housing arrangements for senior citizens.

Yes, your college kid can live there, too, even if they’re not a member of the senior citizen age group. Taking this route is also a desirable option if you really need the cheapest possible option.

Some senior centers offer free housing for non-senior citizens in exchange for service in the center, for instance. For rendering service thirty hours a month to help out in the operations and special activities, your kid gets free rent.

Apart from the savings that you can gain, your college kid also learns to grow their heart to become a more emphatic person. This is a great way to help develop the character of your college kid, as they move forward in life.

  1. Have A Room Mate Ready

Does your college kid have friends that are also moving to the same university?

If there’s anyone that they’re close with and feel comfortable moving in the same housing together, then this is a plus. Having a roommate ready before going to college is another good way to narrow down your housing options.

Because your kid already has someone to share a unit with, you can open up your possibilities to shared living arrangements. Right there and then, you’re able to cut down on costs.

You have someone to share the bills with, plus you don’t have to worry about who their roommate is going to be.

  1. Join Facebook Groups

Depending on where the university is located, many Facebook groups focus on housing arrangements.

Here, you’ll also find housing options straight from the owners of the property themselves. That’s another beauty of social media, beyond just posting photos and communicating with friends.

Talking on Facebook is also an excellent way to start having direct communication with the property owners. That way, you know exactly what you’re dealing with. Who knows, you may even chance upon a direct owner that can be willing to haggle down the price that you can afford.

If you can’t find Facebook groups, another way to go about with it is to draft a post on your social media accounts for an apartment or housing options near the university that your kid is headed to.

That way, any of your friends who have ideas can consolidate them all in the comments section. It’s going to be so much easier for you to sift through the options when you have them all in one place.

  1. Keep Your Budget In Mind

You’re searching for affordable housing options for the very reason that you’re on a budget.

As you browse through the various options online, always keep in mind your budget. As tempting as it might be for you to look for fancier options or whatnot, this will only cause you a major headache if you know it’s something that you can’t afford.

Stick to your budget, and use that price point to narrow down the possibilities. If you’re lucky, you may even come across apartment owners that are more than willing to lower down the price a little bit to fit your budget.


If you’re a parent now with a child off to college, you’re in luck.

There are many housing options for you to choose from. This gives you so many more possibilities for choices of housing that fits your pocket. Cheaper living arrangements don’t always necessarily mean that they’re of inferior quality.

With the right efforts and pointers on how to find these options, you can be one step closer to choosing the best and most affordable option for your family.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

Recent Posts