After six months of walking to your dorm after long days, it’s time to worry about where you’ll be snoozing away when you miss those 8 a.m.s during sophomore year — a home where you can procrastinate and then do homework into the early morning, and a bed to curl up in for those cold winter nights.
So what do you do to find such a place? Out of all the apartments nearby, how do you decide what’s the best fit for you? Follow the steps below to narrow down your options and find your place of rest for the next year.
Figure out your budget
This will come into play a lot for the next few steps — having had the expenses of campus housing for a year, do you now want to save some money, or was that actually cheap? Determining just how much money you want to spend will help narrow down lots of options, so set a range you think you’re comfortable with now — this doesn’t have to be fixed, and you can always change those numbers as you learn more.
A group of people to live with
Have a few friends been discussing housing with you, or are you in it alone? Knowing whom you’ll be living with, or at least the type of environment you want to be living in, will come into play with the size of the place you’ll be living in. Talk to the people you’re living with about expectations, discussing which person gets to use the bathroom in the morning first and whether you need quiet hours after a certain time because you’d like to sleep. Clearing this up in the beginning will make move-in easier.
An apartment or a house
Depending on how many people you want to live with, you’ll be deciding between a house and an apartment. Again, consider the type of environment you want to live in. Would you like to be in a bustling house filled with people where you never feel alone? Alternatively, do you prefer a smaller apartment with personal space and plenty of quiet? Your physical surroundings for the next year are going to have a large effect on the next year of your life, and this is the first step.
Do you want to commute to campus or live nearby? Typically, living farther away means cheaper rent and saving some money for all the Postmates you’ll order at midnight as you cram for your midterm the next day. On the other hand, it also means figuring out how you’re going to get to class when walking is no longer an option. Do you have a bike or a car to get you to all the places you need to be? Are you willing to BART every day? Think about how easy it is for you to arrange transport into town and whether that’s something you can commit to every day. Talk to your fellow apartmentmates or housemates, and see how they feel.
Move-in date, and background-check the agency
Talk to your housemates or apartmentmates, and decide when all of you would like to move in. Some housing agencies look for the space to be filled out by a certain time, though many are fine with a move-in at the beginning of the semester or right before the semester. Some housing agencies also have unreliable backgrounds, being known to be unhelpful in terms of maintenance or move-in, so be sure to Yelp the companies and look at reviews to see past customers’ experiences with them.
The type of room
Similar to determining the type of space you want, the type of room you will want to get depends on the amount of space you need and the type of living environment you’re comfortable with. If you’re social and don’t like feeling alone, a room with multiple people might be a better idea. On the other hand, if you prefer having your own personal space or are the type of person who is easily disturbed by having other people around, getting a single room might be better for your needs.
Now that you have these tips in mind, go out there and start looking! We at The Daily Californian wish you the best of luck in finding a place you love that meets your needs! Happy hunting!