Location, utility bills are important factors when finding a four-bedroom house
The little blue house is nestled between the I-5 South exit ramp and Hendricks Park on the eastern side of campus. On the outside it appears just like a typical student rental, but for Julie Basque, a senior advertising major, this house has been her home for the past three years.
Basque moved into the four-bedroom house after her freshman year. The ten-minute bike ride to campus, the big backyard, and the camaraderie and comfort of roommates had Basque hooked from day one.
And the best part is Basque only pays $400 for her share of the rent each month.
Students face many trade-offs when it comes to choosing a house that won’t break the bank but also fits their needs. Fortunately for students, there are many four-bedroom houses in a range of prices, from low to high.
University student Steven Katz helps with the ASUO Rental Directory program, which helps students find housing and roommates near campus. Katz said roommates should expect to pay below $400 per room in a house in the lower price range, between $400 and $600 in a house in the mid-price range, and $600 or more in a house in the higher price range.
Property managers say price typically depends on distance from campus, the size of the house and the amenities they offer.
Katz said houses offer unique amenities. “What you’re mostly paying for in a house is the living room, the kitchen, and the space you share with your roommates,” he said.
Jennings & Co. broker Kathy Cotta says rental prices are most influenced by distance from campus. Higher-end houses are anywhere within 10 blocks of the University. Once you start heading past Willamette into West Eugene rent prices drop significantly.
“The closer you are to basic campus functions, the higher your rent will be,” Cotta says.
However, distance is not the only factor.
Other amenities that influence the price of a four-bedroom house are parking, garage space, a yard, laundry room and the price of utilities.
For example, a house in the higher price range tends to have parking, a garage or basement, storage, a washer and dryer, a yard, interior updates and is close to campus.
“Things that make life easier for students will make the rent go up,” Cotta says. “Students don’t want a major variation in their month-to-month bills, and they want a place to park their car so they can walk to campus. Anything that makes life easier.”
Houses in the lower price range are farther from campus, have smaller rooms and haven’t been remodeled or updated in a while.
Lower houses also tend to be less energy efficient because they are older. They often have amenities like baseboard or ceiling heat, single-paned windows and less insulation. This leads to higher utility bills, especially in the winter.
“When I am pricing houses I try to keep the rent a little lower to adjust for higher utility prices,” Cotta says.
While Basque might live further away than the houses behind Matthew Knight Arena, she says that saving money is worth the extra time it takes to get to school in the morning.
“I’d rather save big bills then save two minutes on my commute,” she says.
Basque says there are other perks to renting a house too.
“I like the benefits of living with several friends but not too many so that it’s not too crowded,” Basque said. “Also, the extra space in a house and the backyard makes me feel more mature because I have the space that I need and can host people for things like barbecues.”
When the time comes to decide where to live, four-bedroom houses are an option many students gravitate toward. Living in a house with other people is a way to learn life skills without ever stepping foot in a classroom.
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