GV students explore housing options



Emma Armijo, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University students are beginning to explore where they’re going to live next year, while local apartment and housing complexes start their 2022 sign-on campaigns. Apartment complexes around the Allendale area are offering sign-on bonuses and other discounts to those who sign their leasing agreements early. 

Many students begin searching for future housing options in the fall. There are many benefits to starting the housing search early, rather than waiting until the springtime. Many local housing complexes operate on something resembling a tiered leasing system; as time gets closer to the start of the fall 2022 semester, lease rates increase. If students are able to act fast and get signed early, they can avoid having to pay higher rent fees. 

Canvas Townhomes in Allendale is one of the apartment complexes using the tier system. Leasing Agent Holly Sayre said there is a system behind the process at Canvas. 

“We have a set number of leases that can be signed at the base price,” Sayre said. “So as leases continue to get signed, we move up in tier and that price does increase.”

Canvas Townhomes are not the only complex to use this technique. At Campus West Apartments, the best deals are promoted at the beginning of the leasing season, Campus West Marketing Manager Bryan Vanburen said.

“I know we have our best deals at the very beginning of the year, and as the year goes on the promotions get less and less,” Vanburen said. “So, if you’re signing earlier you’re guaranteed to save the most money.”

The approaching months are the busiest times in the leasing season, with spikes generally right before the holidays. Apartment complexes around GVSU said that they fill up quickly, and availability factors into higher rates. For Campus View Apartments and Townhomes, some of the most popular units such as the cottages, singles and one-bedroom apartments are already getting low in inventory. Property Manager Ben Jansen said that the earlier students are able to find where they want to live the better chances they have in getting the units they want. 

“The highest demand units are usually taken before too long,” Jansen said. “If you come in and lease early, you are going to get the chance for those units that you really want.”

One of the most prominent opinions of GVSU students in their housing search is that the price is everything. Many would rather live somewhere lower quality and not have to pay as much versus living somewhere that is higher end with higher rent. 

GVSU student Brandon Miner said the biggest factor in deciding where he lives currently was the cost of the rent. In the GVSU Housing, Sublets, & Roommates Facebook Group, Miner said that his main concern is being in the least amount of debt possible.

“At the end of the day, I’d rather save money and have to deal with poor conditions than be any more in debt,” Miner said. 

Besides the cost, GVSU students said that factors like management and an environment where they feel safe are important when looking for off-campus housing options. Factors such as nearby parking, neighbors, and location are some of the areas that upperclassmen students recommend keeping in mind. 

GVSU student Danielle Ellis said in the GVSU Housing, Sublets, & Roommates Facebook Group that accessibility and safety are some of the most important aspects of a living space. 

“I consider location above all else,” Ellis said. “It’s very important to me that my friends are able to be independent and safe when coming over.” 

Beyond the physical aspects of off-campus housing, the experience that students have with their roommates can make or break their off-campus living experience. It’s equally as important to click with the individuals that will also live in the same apartment as it is to find an apartment that has everything you’re looking for.

GVSU student Megan Vernier said that roommates will alter the overall experience that students have with their housing situation. 

“My biggest tip is to live with people who make you happy,” Vernier said. “Even if you’re living somewhere not ideal, good roommates will make it fun and happy for you.” 

Vernier said she has had overall positive experiences with off-campus housing, but students can’t expect perfection everywhere. 

Jansen said students should be aware of “hidden fees” and charges that might not be talked about upfront and advises students to pay attention to additional costs such as cleaning fees, parking fees and utilities. 

“Look at all of the fees that are associated, and make sure that you understand what any given apartment complex might be charging you,” Jansen said. “Utilities can be kind of a wildcard, so make sure you understand how those are built and how it works.”

GVSU also offers advice for students exploring off-campus housing options, at www.gvsu.edu/housing under the “Upperclassmen” tab.