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Early Thoughts on Apartment Shopping

We might only be a little over a month into the Fall Semester, but I’d be willing to bet your already starting to hear murmurs from your student about where they want to live next year. It baffles me too, but we want to go ahead and start setting the groundwork for you. Below I’m going to outline different apartment communities and a timeline (so you can snag the best deal!) Lastly, we will share with you some inside secrets.

It would be hard to count the number of properties for students in Oxford. When I was in school we had two “newish” ones: The Commons and Lexington Pointe. So let’s start with the skinny:

Leasing Season: Each college town is different in their core leasing season. Ours at Ole Miss tends to be January/February. However, doing your legwork right now will prepare you for when you’re ready to actually pull the trigger.

First things first, POM hosts our annual “Housing Week” the week PRIOR to the start of Spring semester classes. So, save the dates of January 10-14, 2022 to watch our Facebook live events as we tour each property and allow you to ask questions live! We strategically do it this specific week in January because we know your student has spent their Christmas break wearing you down on their number one pick of places to live and they are hot to sign a lease. We also know that parents want to do their own research and not take the young adults' begs and pleads without knowing the facts. Be sure to check out prior years' Facebook Live videos on our Facebook page under videos!

Specials: You will see housing specials start in October, this could be anywhere from offering a free month’s rent, no deposits, enter to win a new MacBook, get visa gift cards (and in the hundreds of dollars) to free spring break trips and more. These properties get creative and competitive. You don’t have to bow down at first offering but may want to review past years offerings to see when the getting is good.

“Selling Out” Let’s be real, with so many apartments in Oxford, its unusual that a property will “sell out” entirely. BUT with that being said, the longer you wait, the slimmer the pickings on the actual apartment, location or full availability (example: they may run out of 3 bedroom options or like.)

Individualized Leases Most properties offer individualized leases. Meaning, if you don’t have a group of roommates ready to all live together when signing a lease, a 4-bedroom unit at XYZ Apartment will then “roommate match” you. Your student will fill out a survey and the management team does its best to place you in a shared apartment with likeminded folks.

Find quality roommates! Let’s pretend your student has three buddies he/she wants to live with. But maybe one is iffy on staying at Ole Miss, or maybe flunks out and stays at home the following school year. Well, now your student’s apartment has one bedspace (room) available and could potentially be filled with a random roommate (again, from survey above). So, finding quality roommates, you know will show up next year would certainly alleviate any surprise roommates.

Location, Location, Location One of the top questions I field during our live segments at Housing Week is “does the OUT bus service this property?” Location and amenities like the OUT bus are often a top deciding factor. Many families opt to not send a car with their student, or decide that the parking cost (and tickets) are far too expensive and make them use public transportation, like the OUT Bus. It is actually a really convenient service and pretty much will drop you off at your classroom's door. Some properties may not be on the OUT bus line, but really don’t need to be when residents can literally walk to campus.

Amenities: I don’t know a country club nicer in Mississippi than some of these apartments and the amenities they offer. But now most offer pretty bougee amenities and you’ll probably want to compare each of them. I often compare this whole apartment shopping process to buying a car. While negotiation isn’t really a thing with apartments, comparing what you’re getting for your money is absolutely valid.

Management: This to me might be one of the most critical aspects to be sold on when apartment shopping. It’s almost like a housemother of a frat house. If you have good management, they will be prompt with your requests, keep a clean property, run a smooth staff (with little turnover) and ultimately leave you with a good feeling in your gut about where you’re leaving your student. Do not be fooled by false promises of management when touring. If they say “our gym is under renovation” or “our pool is just about finished” I’d do a quality check and try to get some references from past residents. I have heard too often that certain properties use these coin phrases year after year and fooling students and parents that it might be the “newest” property, but it also might have been the “newest” for 4 years running making false promises and just in it for the sale. Go back and revisit my thought on comparing car buying to your new-found endeavor of uncovering what is reallly under the hood.

Show up unannounced at your narrowed down choices. Walk around the property to see if “trash is really picked up.” I’m amazed at the trash smells and sights permeating from some high amenity properties. If you see trash laying next to an apartment door, or stains on concrete from said trash, or smells… might want to consider all these things.

Security Deposit: I’d love to sit here and say that you WILL get your security deposit back. Truth is, unless your student didn’t step foot in that apartment, you will never get any or all of your money back. Let’s also revisit the quality roommate reference above. Example: say one of your student's roommates doesn’t show, or moves out. Common area repair within the actual apartment will be split up among its tenants at moveout. So, the holes that roommate’s daddy drilled into the wall to hang the TV are the actual responsibility of all the tenants to pay to fix. Again, quality roommates.

You can always expect that you’ll never get all your money back. There will be carpet to clean, there will be cleaning that needs to be done, and repairs beyond your quick glance. I’m sorry in advance!

Now, lets break down some of our favorite options for student living in Oxford:

  • For students who want a sense of community and social interaction, The Hub has what you’re looking for. With an oversized game lounge and a hot tub that holds 60 people, it promises a great time with new and old friends. PSSSS… It also happens to be where our POM Offices are and we love it here!

  • Student Quarters Communities also offers a variety of housing options, all over Oxford - and some of the most sought after because their locations and lifestyle they offer.

  • Cambridge Station has a more charming, homey vibe. Within walking distance from the university and the square, this recently renovated community offers a cozy sense of home (and free HBO).

  • If you’re looking for a more calm and quaint space, consider Lexington Pointe. It is a quieter community with a prime location tucked behind Jackson Avenue.

  • For a family-friendly atmosphere, check out Faulkner Flats. It houses people of all ages and professions. It also serves breakfast every morning and holds events to celebrate students coming back for school.

  • If you want a unique living experience, think about Uncommon. Located literally in-between campus and The Square, it lives up to its name by offering residents a city feel with a small town reality. Walk just a ¼ of a mile either direction and you'll be met by The Square or Campus!

  • DLP Oxford Apartments (Formerly Lafayette Place) : Recently bought out, this property has been undergoing an overhaul in every aspect. From resident amenities, to management and unique living offerings (having buildings designated for certain residents like: Grad school, professors, undergrads and more.) This property has lots of good things going on now and in the coming months!

  • U Club: Literally a par 3 from campus, U Club is as close to Country Club living as it gets. Offering OUT bus line, the ability to also walk to campus or games.

If your savvy enough to put pen to paper and look at how purchasing a property in Oxford actually makes money on the short term and long term, then you'll want to visit with our friends at Crye Leike Oxford. Their real estate team is one of the most robust in Oxford and knows the old Oxford and the "new" Oxford well (think Eli manning era.)

Its worth noting the Oxford Commons community is a great investment area, offering housing options for every walk of life - townhomes, cottages, patio homes, signature and premier homes all from the $290ks.

If you are undecided about any of the properties in Oxford, feel free to visit their websites and tour the communities to get a feel for yourself. Happy house hunting!

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