OPINION: Dealing with your first apartment

Students living off-campus will likely have to deal with at least one apartment horror story



Students living off campus will have to deal with a whole new set of housing issues like landlords, rent and utilities.


My mother’s first apartment with my father was nicknamed “the rat hole.” She told me about the train tracks nearby that made the building shake, the puke-yellow plastic table they owned and several other features that made the place an ‘ideal’ residence.

With apartments, first doesn’t always mean worst, but first apartments are generally expected to be closer to the trash heap end of things than the Ritz. When I started hunting for my first place, it was hard; due to the pandemic and being out of state for work, I couldn’t see the places in person.

One place was significantly cheaper than the rest and my roommates and I got no answer when we called management, not even voicemail, which we took as red flags. In general, though, I think Pullman has a significant amount of nice options that are affordable for the average student.

Claudia Berry, sophomore wildlife ecology and conservation sciences major, got her first apartment this semester.

“So far it has been great,” Berry said. “Leasing was pretty simple, they walked me through everything I needed to do.”

Berry said she thinks that because Pullman is a college town, there are nice options within the same general price range as opposed to other locations. Currently, Berry said she is looking for a house to rent after her lease and seems hopeful about her prospects.

Neida Regis, junior nursing major, said she and her roommates met in the dorms and one of them took the initiative and found the apartment.

“It was a lot to find an apartment,” Regis said.

If not for her friend, she said she might not have found as good of a place.

Regis said putting down money on the apartment seemed like a lot at first.

“But I feel like when we actually moved in it all paid off because you become more independent,” Regis said.

She said because you’re on your own, you have to remember bills and rent so it makes people more responsible.

“When you’re looking for an apartment, unless you have time and are doing your research and trying to find the one that suits you best, you need it fast and you aren’t given the best options,” Regis said.

She said it is a financial burden when you first start to look for an apartment.

“I personally didn’t know that it was that much money that needed to be put down in order to get an apartment,” Regis said.

Meanwhile, all I knew coming into apartment life was that tiny apartments in big cities seem wildly expensive. My misinterpreted idea of apartment prices made me unsure if I should view Pullman apartments as wildly cheap.  Compared to New York City, they certainly are. However, Pullman apartments are pricey because everything is kind of expensive when you’re a student.

It is also fairly easy to find a place in Pullman. There is no shortage of options if you stay on top of it, as many students come and go.

“I feel like apartments here promote themselves very well,” Regis said. “They put signs up everywhere.”

There are countless ways to find listings. Berry found her current apartment from a friend who was living there. I found mine through listings on apartments.com. One of my roommates checked Craigslist for listings.

Despite the notion that the first apartment is bad, Pullman makes it easy to find somewhere comfortable without breaking the bank.