Off-campus cost forecast for local rental property

Sarah Pounds, News Editor

Average cost per Bedroom

ZIP Average cost of 1 room by ZIP 1 Bed: Average Cost 2 Bed: Average cost 3 Bed: Average cost 4 Bed: Average cost 5 Bed: Average cost
31201 $337.46 $575 $299.58 $315.24 $160
31204 $251.46 $475 $252.92 $248.13 $186.25
31206 $218.47 $181.67 $193.75 $280
31210 $249.38 $249.38
31211 $318.75 $395 $312.50 $248.75
31217 $225 $225

As summer approaches, some students already know where they’re living next fall. Others, though, are still searching for a place to live off campus.

If you fall into the latter category, here are some resources to consider as you search for a place to call home next semester.

There are a whole host of websites out there geared towards helping people find rental properties, including Zillow, Craigslist, Houses, RentalHouses and other similar pages. Facebook pages geared towards real estate can also be a resource for those looking for a spare room or home to rent.

The entire success of these sites depends on how many current owners utilize them, and based on the number of listings, Zillow and Craigslist seem to give users the highest number of relevant results.

Using these websites, The Cluster has calculated average prices for the areas around Mercer University. We cannot promise that these are exact, due to the fact that postings can change by the minute, and there is no guarantee that we captured every property in our data. But they are an indicator for how much you may pay in different zip codes, depending on how many people you share a house with. They do not always account for the cost of utilities or various additional fees associated with individual properties.

To get more up-to-date information about rentals as they’re made available, it’s also possible to receive updates from some of these websites. On Zillow, in particular, you can specify a search criteria, and the site will send you an email when a new property is listed.

As current students graduate and move out, it’s likely that more and more homes will be back on the market this summer.

Yet, there are always homes that will slip through the cracks. This can be a result either of your personal search criteria or the house just isn’t posted online at all. In those cases, a specific real estate agent’s site may be the only online source, or the landlord may go old school with the classic “For Rent” sign in the yard as the tool of choice to draw in potential renters. Using online sources is not the only option.

There are also important questions to consider once you’ve made an appointment to view the property.

Mercer’s Residence Life office publishes a worksheet that students can utilize to understand the safety of their prospective home, which includes questions and prompts such as:

  • Ask current residents and neighbors, do you feel safe living here?
  • How far away is emergency assistance, e.g. police station, fire department?
  • Does the complex provide any security devices, a doorman, patrols, escorts, etc.?
  • What are the procedures for changing keys that are lost or not returned?
  • Who has access to the residence or master keys?
  • Are locks on the doors changed/re-keyed with each new resident?
  • Have maintenance men had criminal background checks?
  • Does the university police department work closely with the local and county police departments in patrolling off-campus areas in this jurisdiction?