Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

February 26, 2008 9:50 PM

A few tips in finding that perfect apartment....

Wow! Alex, Wendy, and Stephen have done an awesome job giving great advice when searching for a place to live after freshman year. Since I have been living off-campus for three years now, I wanted to bring up some interesting points that you may want to consider when looking for a place. First, if you want to live with someone, make sure you two can really get along. Maybe have a trial run first to make sure you two are compatible. Don’t let this end a friendship! I’ve been living with my roommate for three years now and it has been great.

Keep in mind all the little expenditures you will have to pay for. This includes water, electricity, gas, garbage, building maintenance, food, internet, cable, etc. Most of the time if you live in an apartment, your landlord will pay for some of the services, but make sure to ask! My landlord pays for water, garbage, and maintenance, but others may provide internet, cable, gas…

The further you move away from campus, the cheaper the rent, the bigger the apartments, and more space for parking. I’m living in a two room, two FULL bathroom apartment a little further from campus, but there are two bus lines, with stops directly in front of my apartment, that go to campus. We also get a parking space for the car.

We looked on Craigslist a few weeks before the semester ended. This let us get the first pick of apartments, plenty of time to decide (no stress during finals week). Like Wendy said, Craiglist is a great place to look for open apartments. They usually provide some pictures and open house times.

Finally, the best tip I can provide: Don’t limit yourself to open houses. If possible, make an appointment to see the potential apartment in private. This will give you more time to actually look at the apartment without the pressure of the competition. I’ve gone to open houses, but everyone was walking around, looking at us like we wanted to steal it from them. Everyone was so busy filling out applications and I don’t think they really looked around closely. When we walked around our future apartment during a private viewing, we were able to ask the realtor specific questions, and we had plenty of time to figure out if this place was right for us. Renting yearly is a great financial, emotional commitment, and I’m really happy we took the time to figure out what we wanted.

Good luck in finding your new place!

If you have any great stories about how you found your apartment, or if you are looking for one and have some questions, feel free to drop by our office hours and let us know!


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