1- Although we've been given an off campus housing directory, what might be helpful too is to get an estimated breakdown of costs (ie additional charges we can expect apart from the rent) - Since a lot of these costs are hidden until we pay the application fee. These costs are often hidden until the application fee is paid, causing potential surprises. Here is a breakdown of potential additional costs: • Common Area Utilities: This includes electricity in common areas, water, and trash services, which typically amount to around $50. • Trash Fees: There might be separate charges for apartment-wide trash services, usually around $15. • Valet Trash: Many apartments require valet trash services, where a designated person collects trash from outside your door. This service usually costs around $20 and has restrictions on the amount of trash allowed per day, including size and weight limitations. • Parking Fees: If you do not own a car, consider asking the apartment management to waive parking fees, which are typically around $20. • Package Delivery Service Fees: Some apartments charge approximately $20 for package delivery services. • Utilities: The sewerage and water bill for your specific apartment can vary depending on your usage but usually amounts to around $150. • Pest Control: An additional cost for pest control, if applicable, is generally around $4. By considering these potential costs in advance, you can better plan your budget and avoid any unexpected financial surprises. It's always a good idea to inquire about these charges before finalizing your housing decision to ensure a clear understanding of all expenses involved. Remember, transparency in costs is key to making informed decisions and managing your finances effectively. 2- Furnishings- I've found it a little difficult to figure out whether a place is semi/fully furnished because these leasing websites can be a bit misleading. Additionally it would be a big help to maybe get an idea of where we can source furniture? IKEA is an obvious choice ofc 😅 but maybe some platform where we can get secondhand furniture from students leaving ATL - since that seems to be the biggest setup cost for me atm Here's a breakdown of the kind of furniture you might need and some potential cost estimates: • Lamps: If the lighting in your apartment isn't sufficient, you can find affordable lamps at IKEA for around $10-15 each. • Mattress: Purchasing a new mattress can cost around $150, or if you're lucky, you might come across free mattresses from other students. However, arranging transportation for a free mattress can be a hassle. • Bed frame: While not a necessity, you can find bed frames for approximately $50, either secondhand or brand new. • Table/Chair: If you're looking for a table and chair set, you can often find secondhand options in pairs for around $60. Alternatively, you can choose to invest in new ones, but they may cost double the price. • Sofa, etc.: If you're open to it, you can sometimes find usable furniture items left out on the curb for free. However, it's worth noting that the chances of stumbling upon high-quality items in Atlanta curbside pickups are relatively slim. Another option is checking out nearby Goodwill stores for affordable furniture pieces. While there are furnished apartments available, it's important to consider that they may come with outdated or worn-out furniture. While they often come at an additional cost, it may be worth exploring the option of securing an unfurnished apartment and using the rent difference of two months to invest in fresh furniture. Additionally, keep an eye out for opportunities to acquire furniture for free. Atlanta is often referred to as "Freelanta" for a reason, as you might be pleasantly surprised by what you can find at no cost! You can also look up on FB Marketplace. But again getting the furniture to your home from distant places is a pain. I am planning to get a solution for that as well! By being resourceful and exploring different avenues for furniture, you can set up your living space within your budget and make your apartment feel like home. For 2nd hand stuff, there is GT Thrift shop and other Facebook Groups and groups on Groupme like GT Opportunists. 3- it'll also be a bit useful to understand how stuff like rental insurance works, or even the general leasing process because it's quite different from how we do it in India. In the USA, rental insurance is typically mandatory. It provides coverage for costs related to water or fire damage, among other things. Every apartment has minimum coverage requirements that tenants must meet. Fortunately, there are affordable options available for renters insurance, such as Statefarm, Lemonade, and eRenterPlan, where you can obtain coverage for around $20 per quarter. Stay tuned for a detailed blog and comparison of these insurance providers. The premium value for rental insurance can vary based on factors such as the condition of your apartment. Additionally, you may have the option to include additional coverage for valuable items like jewelry or laptops, although most people tend to opt for the cheapest available option. It's worth noting that cases of apartment break-ins and theft are relatively rare. While there have been instances of laptops being stolen, they are infrequent occurrences. Nonetheless, having rental insurance provides peace of mind and financial protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances. As part of our services, we will provide more detailed information about rental insurance, the leasing process, and other essential aspects to ensure that you are well-informed and prepared for your move to the USA.