Student Life

Moving Off Campus

by Corona Beck–

If you are a junior or senior looking to move off campus or if you are graduating and need to find housing in the Bay Area, you will face various obstacles. Housing prices are rising rapidly. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco is about $3,400 according to a Huffington Post article published in February. The reason for this rise in prices is the high demand for housing, which means that you can expect to compete with other renters for possible housing.

"Alamo Square Painted Ladies" by Mark (from https://www.flickr.com/photos/34186459@N00/3280807818)

“Alamo Square Painted Ladies” by Mark (from https://www.flickr.com/photos/34186459@N00/3280807818)

Although the housing market in the San Francisco Bay Area is a notorious cause of frustration and anxiety, it is possible to find decent housing for reasonable prices. Networking, that lovely word our professors like to throw at us, is actually quite helpful. Maybe your aunt’s next door neighbor is looking to rent out a room to a trustworthy person. The neighbor is more likely to consider the relative or associate of someone he or she knows or trusts over someone responding to a post on Craigslist. The app NextDoor is also a worthwhile investment of your time.  If you resort to Craisglist.org, it is important that you check new listings every day. Email and call as many people as you can; one or two will get back to you.

Like most college students or young professionals, you will probably want to have roommates. You can either look for a place that already has some tenants, or you can enter into a new lease with your roommates. When looking for roommates, there are several options. You can talk to your friends, post an ad online, post on facebook, and look at other’s ads online. You need to ensure that you and your roommates have the same wants and needs for housing:  Are you going to have a one-year lease, a month-to-month lease, or a six-month lease? How much space will you and your roommates need? Parking?

When it comes to actually signing the lease, make sure you understand the contract. A common point of contention is whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for garbage, water, internet, and gas. It is possible to change a contract, so when you do not agree with all the points, negotiate with the landlord! They want the rental income as much as you want housing. This means that negotiating for lower rent is also a possibility. Most landlords are more interested in a tenant who can consistently pay every month than someone who can promise the most rent right away.

Last but not least, in 99% of cases, you will have to go through a credit approval process. The landlord will probably request proof of income and your credit score. If you’re wondering how to prove your income this in-depth guide can help. They may also ask for prior rental references (your Resident Assistant is not a bad source). Make sure that you have all these things figured out before you go to see a house so that you can immediately respond to questions. This will leave the landlord with the impression that you are well prepared and responsible, and that you are a trustworthy individual, which you are of course!

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