Senior year is the time when Butler University students can form a group of friends to live with outside the Butler Bubble. This year, students are starting that process earlier.
Sophomores have already signed leases for their 2014-15 senior year.
Sophomore Ellen Clauss signed her lease a couple weeks ago, though that’s not what she expected to happen.
“We were just going to weigh our options, see what there was to offer and try to find the best deal out there,” Clauss said.
That changed when the landlord her group was working with planned to be in town to show them the house.
“He said, ‘We have two other people about to close in on this house, so you might want to think about it,’” Clauss said.
The combination of that pressure and Clauss’ group liking the house, its location and the landlord gave them reason to sign the lease, she said.
“It was very unexpected,” Clauss said. “It was a way faster process than we thought. We kind of jumped on it—maybe too soon. We’ll never know.”
Sophomore Molly Swigart signed her lease March 23.
“We toured the house on Friday the 22nd and signed the lease Saturday morning, the 23rd,” Swigart said. “We didn’t get a chance to shop around that much, but we really liked the house and location and had heard good things about the landlord. We figured we might as well bite the bullet.”
Swigart said her mom was upset at the house’s price, but Swigart said the benefits of the house were worth the cost. She also said her group is off-setting some of the costs by having six people live in a five-person house.
“It’s cheaper than Apartment Village, and it’s more fun,” Swigart said.
Scott Jacobson rents out 11 houses in the neighborhood around Butler’s campus. He said he has students asking him about leasing earlier and earlier every year.
Jacobson said this time of year, students are recommended to him by those currently living in one of his houses.
“(Signing a lease early) is just one less thing to worry about, but it pushes up the stress,” Jacobson said. “I’ve been trying to calm people down. You really don’t need to sign a lease within the next two months. There are enough houses to go around.”
He said one of the challenges of signing a lease this early could be if a tenant has to leave the group for some reason, but Jacobson said he works with such groups to help them replace the member.
Swigart said she has heard a lot of groups are worried about how relationships between group members could change before senior year.
“I’m not worried, but some people are, and you can’t be sure,” Swigart said. “Things can change. Someone could transfer or go abroad.”
Swigart said if that were to happen, her landlord said she and her housemates would be responsible for finding a replacement.
Jacobson said he has not had very many tenants drop out of a lease but added that the number may increase with the number of students signing leases early.
Overall, students have to find the house that’s right for them.
“You have to find a house you can see yourself living in that will fit your needs but also find a landlord that will work for you as well,” Jacobson said. “Find a landlord you can trust.”