Many apartments near UF will offer individual leasing options because there are so many students living with roommates in this area. This lease sets a rental price per bedroom or resident, so the property managers will collect rent from each individual rather than from each rental unit. This gives you more protection because your right to reside in the apartment is not contingent on your roommate paying their rent.
How to Select Apartments Under $700
When you see an apartment listed for less than $700 a month, first check if that's for the entire unit or one bedroom within the unit. If you're paying for your personal space within the larger unit, the apartment management team will often offer roommate-matching services. This allows you to room with other students without taking the time to find others actively looking for roommates. Just keep in mind that this means you won't necessarily know your roommates before you move into the unit.
If you see "per room" after the price for an apartment, you're likely looking at property that offers individual leasing. If you're searching for an apartment for your family or want to pay for the entire unit with a traditional rental contract, you can still contact the apartment manager to ask about other leasing options. The further you venture from the UF campus, the more likely you are to find apartments with standard rental agreements.
Are Utilities Included?
Many Gainesville apartments include utilities in the rental price. If you determined that you need an apartment that costs less than $700 with the expectation that you will pay additional for utilities, you may want to bump up your maximum rental price when you find utilities-included apartments. If you haven't considered what utilities may cost, then you may want to make it easy by only looking at apartments that include utilities.
If utilities aren't included in the stated rental price, you may want to ask for the unit's average utility cost before signing the lease. Larger apartments are likely to come with higher utility expenses, and some in-unit features can make a significant difference. For instance, small room heaters or outdated window air conditioners often use a lot of energy while energy-efficient central HVAC units allow you to control the settings to save money.
Some student apartments also offer free Wi-Fi, but there are some risks to your privacy when using a shared network. If you need to provide your own internet service, then that's another expense that you should consider before selecting an apartment.
How Many Bedrooms Do You Need?
With a budget of $700 per month, you can afford an apartment with at least two or three bedrooms. If you plan on living alone, you may opt for a spacious studio rental or a one-bedroom apartment. For $600 or $700 per month, you can secure a luxury one-bedroom apartment with some upscale amenities like a walk-in closet, a gourmet kitchen with full-sized appliances, or perhaps hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings. You shouldn't have a problem finding these apartments near UF as well as in the downtown area or in upscale neighborhoods popular with families and professionals.
If you need at least two or three bedrooms, you will still have many options in Gainesville. There are some apartments that offer units up to four bedrooms within this price range, and many student apartment communities offer per-bedroom rates well under $700. Some communities will offer fewer on-site amenities than others, and some will place you closer to the UF campus. If you're looking for an apartment in August, you'll have many options with properties offering move-in specials and other discounts.
If you want to live in an apartment with four or five bedrooms, you may want to look for units offering individual leasing. You can easily pay more than $1,000 per month for a large apartment in Gainesville, but sharing the rent with others can take that rate down substantially. Individual leasing gives you the most protection, especially if you don't know your roommates well.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished Apartments
When you find an apartment listed for less than $700 per month, consider what you may spend filling that apartment with furniture and décor. If you don't have the budget for that or want to ensure that you can easily move to a new apartment in the future, you might want to look for furnished apartments.
If you decide to rent a furnished unit, try to visit the apartment in person before signing the lease. You want to make sure that the appliances and furnishings meet your expectations. It's a good idea to take pictures, especially if there are some damages that you don't want the landlord to hold you liable for at the end of your lease.