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Apartment Hunting

June 3, 2014

Coming from the Midwest, I was a little shocked with apartment prices here in San Diego. However, I would describe myself as “creatively frugal”, so I was determined to find an apartment within my tight budget. Although most people told me to expect paying $800/ month, I knew that was not an option, so I had to get creative. In addition to finding an apartment way under $800/month, I also had to find roommates. Not knowing a soul in San Diego, I turned to the Recently Admitted SOLES Facebook group to find potential roommates. I lucked out because I found my roommates and also one of them was willing to share a room to save on costs. I know sharing a room does not sound fun to most; however, you have to think of your priorities in apartment hunting. Is it location, price, safety, etc? Price and safety were major factors for me and sharing a room kept me within my budget and we were able to find an apartment close to campus. It is important to not only prioritize your wish list for an apartment but give yourself time to research places. Lovely, Trulia and Craigslist are a few websites I used and will use for next year’s apartment hunting. I highly recommend following the Facebook group for helpful tips and finding roommates. Good luck everyone!

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Here are a few tips from other students who have been successful in finding housing in San Diego:

  1. VISIT! It is hard to really know what a place looks like (and the neighborhood surrounding it) without visiting first. This may be difficult for some but if you can swing it, come out for a long weekend to apartment hunt.
  2. Be ready to act fast! One student said: “One day I missed a place by, literally, 30 seconds. The next morning I found the studio that I ended up getting and wanted. It was posted (Craigslist) and I immediately called and left a voicemail with a self-description and what I was looking for. The gentleman called me back a few minutes later and did a short phone interview before agreeing to show me the place. I liked it and applied immediately and was accepted.” Another admits: “I found a place (had a showing with TWELVE other people at the same time!!!) put an application in the next day and was paying my deposit the day after that. Things go quickly!!”
  3. Don’t look more than 30 days before you want to move, and look around the first of the month. “A realtor suggested that I look as close to the first of the month as possible because that’s when people put in notice and owners/landlords put up listings.”
  4. Know what is a necessity and what you can live without.  Sure you’d love a rooftop deck, but is it a necessity? Do you need to live on the beach or would living 5 miles out be okay?  Do you need to be near public transportation?  Make a list of the non-negotiables and stick to it!
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