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It’s nearly impossible to move to Waco, TX without hearing about the Fixer Upper show, where residents’ future homes are renovated by Chip and Jo Gaines for a new and improved living experience. However, for the grad student moving into Waco, this likely isn’t quite the same as the house hunting adventure that awaits you. And, with the close of the semester nearby and the Baylor Student housing market is currently in full swing, both for current and prospective students. As such, today’s article holds some helpful tips on navigating your house hunting experience as a graduate student.

Ask Around

Especially if it’s your first time here, do make sure to check in with colleagues, friends, or family who live in Waco and know what the housing market is like. Whether you’re looking for an apartment or something more stable in the form of a house or even a condominium, hearing input from other people can give you a lot of insight into what different companies or locations have to offer, so don’t hesitate to ask for others for their input.

Know Your Budget

Finding housing can come with a lot of hidden fees and financial challenges, so it’s important to be aware of what your budgetary restrictions are when looking at things like down payments, application fees, or any costs that might be associated with pets or vehicles. Knowing the limitations of your budget will also help you be more judicious when narrowing down the housing options that are best for you, as well as weeding out options that won’t be a good fit for you in the long run.

Consider Your Restrictions

Do you have children? Perhaps a dog or cat? Or maybe you want to move into a place that has room for both you and a few friends? In any of these cases there may be restrictions that apply when it comes to looking for the right number of bedrooms, pet or child parameters that rentals have, or extra fees associated with either of the previous. As such, you’ll want to make sure you ask your landlord about any of these restrictions which may apply so that you don’t accidentally end up applying to or signing on a building that can’t accommodate your needs.

Count the Distance

Are you looking for somewhere that’s right inside the Baylor bubble or would you like to be farther removed from the campus life? Are you interested in living in a place close to Cameron Park or would you like something outside of Waco proper? All of these distance and location considerations are important when finding housing options that will be a good fit for you. Many times locations that are outside of the campus area will entail some commuting, so make sure you’re aware of how far a location you’re looking at is from Baylor’s campus and your willingness to buy a campus parking pass. Additionally, make sure to fit gasoline costs and any vehicle wear and tear you may accumulate into your budget for the upcoming year.

Expect Some Compromise

While it’s important to have a safe, comfortable, and accommodating home during your time in graduate school, for many of you, this is not a permanent residence. As such, consider what items you’re willing to compromise on when it comes to housing and what you do count as a necessity, since these may open up more housing options to you in what can sometimes be a very competitive market.

Start Early

Although the housing market is in full swing right now, it often begins opening up as early as January or February. These months directly follow the deadlines for current residents deciding whether they will renew current leases, and so this is frequently when the new options for the upcoming year begin to appear. So if you’re looking to get housing locked down quickly or thinking ahead for the future, getting an early start on the housing market can be helpful for providing more options.


Finally, when you’re looking for housing at Baylor, be sure to embrace the adventure of it all. Book apartment tours at all the places in your parameters, take lots of photos, make pros and cons lists and compare your options. Then, when you finally move in, celebrate your win as you open your new home for the first time to friends and family.