Merely one year ago, college students were enjoying the throes of summer break, and casually considering their plans for a seamless fall return. From declaring housemates based on inseparable bonds already formed, to saving up cash for an upgraded sofa, figuring out off-campus housing plans was now a nostalgically straightforward process. However, with the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic, the realm of college life, and real estate, dramatically changed. From cancelled courses to limited apartment showings, students’ lives were impacted vastly. Now, as this year’s summer break brings uncertainty, change, and a completely new “normal” for the imminently upcoming school year, students should take the time to solidify their housing plans for the upcoming fall semester early. With so many changes, intricacies, and evolving protocols to consider, Chicago staple in real estate development and management, Beal Properties, has provided tips for students to successfully, safely, and expertly secure housing.
Check Out Options Early
With limited inventory, and more people staying put, options for students may be somewhat limited upon the beginning of the upcoming semester. For students looking to pursue off-campus apartment living, competing with the entire local neighborhood population means that the generally witnessed market trend of limited inventory will potentially impact their choices. Beal Properties has been providing countless tenants with a multitude of apartment options spread amongst the company’s expansive 100 building portfolio, offering studio to three bedroom apartments within many of Chicago’s most sought-after neighborhoods. With varying price ranges, a commitment to tenant satisfaction, and a forward-thinking business model, Beal Properties has long been a staple for students looking for a positive apartment living experience. The professionals at Beal Properties advise students to be aware of rising demand for apartment dwelling coupled with limited inventory, and encourage students to act early.
For out-of-state students, virtually touring potential apartments, and communicating digitally with landlords and roommates may have already been a commonplace standard. Conversely, most other students may have been used to physically touring potential apartments, meeting with Property Managers, and signing leases at the local pub. With social distancing continuing to dictate behavior, and rapidly changing state regulations regarding social interaction, Beal Properties encourages students to embrace technology during their apartment search process. While Beal has already adapted and implemented technology to innovate various services, from creating a fully-functional tenant portal, to servicing client communication online, the company has ramped up “virtual tour” services. By allowing prospective tenants, including students, to virtually tour their properties, Beal Properties is safely allowing prospective tenants to ensure that properties meet their needs, and providing tenants with the opportunity to receive seamless service in light of the continued changes brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to these forward-thinking virtual tour options, many property management companies, including Beal Properties, are offering tenants contactless applications via various virtual resources, contactless or limited contact move-in procedures, and other digitally enhanced procedures designed to maintain the safety of all parties during this unprecedented time. For students hesitant to pursue the traditionally in-person act of apartment searching, Beal Properties reminds students of the seamless implementation of technology that renders this process now digitally enabled.
Consider Neighborhoods, Transportation, & Lifestyle
For students at the University of Chicago, DePaul, Loyola, IIT, Chicago State, or any of the other higher learning campuses within the vicinity of the city, ease of commute is an integral consideration in choosing the perfect apartment. The experts at Beal Properties point out that an easy access to the ‘L’, bus routes, bike routes, and highways can create a seamless experience for busy students. Between busy class schedules, rotating study groups, part-time jobs, and lifestyle activities, students need to have access to needed locations without too much hassle. Without such ease of access, students are more likely to forgo “non-essential” classes, seminars, and other otherwise positive opportunities.
With many students, and professionals alike, choosing to forgo automobile ownership within bustling cities like Chicago, renters’ preferences are steering toward housing in convenient proximity to public transportation. For Beal Properties, consideration of students who rely on public infrastructure to service their needs is a factor for determining adding properties to the company’s thriving portfolio. Whether in Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, or any other coveted Chicagoland neighborhood, the majority of Beal Properties’ complexes are conveniently located within walking range to trains, subway stations, bus routes, and bike paths. For students, this provides an excellent opportunity to hop on the bus to their University, and retain a convenient commute.
In addition to the importance of considering proximity to school, Beal Properties professionals encourage students to consider neighborhoods as a whole, looking for particular “live-work-play” microenvironments that suit their unique needs. For example, active students may prefer neighborhoods with robust gym options, hiking trails, dedicated bike lanes, and community pools. Conversely, social students may prefer hyper-local communities nestled between restaurants, bars, and trendy hotspots. Since student housing is essentially home, choosing a neighborhood that is conducive to needs, desires, and lifestyle will create an easy transition for students leaving their hometown for the first time.
For students whose financial status has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through the loss of part-time work, or otherwise, budgeting is instrumental in ensuring successful living arrangements throughout the year. By creating a realistic budget for groceries, rent, essentials, and “fun” expenditures, students can stave off the potential panic of having limited work opportunities, and can safely determine which apartments can fit their needs. Recognizing the need to offer modern apartment dwellings at varying price points, the experts at Beal Properties maintain a diverse portfolio of studio apartments perfect for singular students, or 1, 2, and 3 bedroom options that are suitable for roommates who will split costs. The company encourages students to create budgets prior to beginning their apartment search, and sticking to only considering dwelling options that fall within the pre-set budgets.
While the landscape for students has certainly changed in every aspect as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, innovative companies like Beal Properties are implementing proactive measures to ensure that the apartment hunt is seamless, easy, and direct during this unprecedented time. By following a few simple pivots, students can ensure a safe, successful, and positive return to the fall semester.
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