View Full Version : Looking for a home
I have a question I want to ask in this thread, but maybe I can turn it into a usefull. Going away to a university or college can be a fabulous experience! One of the funnest things seams to be finding a place to live... atleast it is in the exerience I currently am having. Trying to find a place can be tough, expecially if you are living off campus. What kind of tricks and tips have you used to try and find a place? Or, if we haven't come to that part in our lives yet, what questions do you want to know?
Anywayz, My question is - What's the difference between an apartment and a flat? :D thanx!
07-09-2003, 07:16 PM
i know that at my last school people advertised at the local school about apartments and stuff or other students needed a room-mate so you could always see if your school does that. which would be helpful because the renter would understand that as a student you would be off for certain months in the summer if you choose.
i also thought that a flat was the british word for an apartment- then again i may be completely wronge and there is some difference.
07-10-2003, 10:37 PM
I was also under the impression that a flat is the same as an apartment, or else it was a term for a suite (like the upstairs of a house) or an apartment.
I agree that it's really hard to find somewhere to live...especially somewhere that doesn't mind if you stay only 8 months and not twelve. I've found that the best thing to do is view the online classifieds of the paper for the city/town you're moving to, find as many as possible that fit your price range or other specifications, and then call everyone and ask as many questions as possible regarding the lease, how many appliances there are, if there is a washer/dryer, parking space if you need that, etc etc etc.
Sometimes I wish I lived in a travelling Winnebago! How do you spell Winnebago??
07-11-2003, 10:40 AM
If possible check the bulletin boards at the college you plan to attend. By mid-August they will be covered with possibilities.
07-12-2003, 07:47 AM
"By mid-August they will be covered with possibilities."
Unfortunately, if the town is a 'college' town, it might mean that the possibilities will be gone within the first week of school starting. The school itself can be a good starting point for apartment searching...but search early!
One thing I recommend is living in the dorms for at least the first semester if you're not very familiar with the city/area your college is located in. After the first semester you should have a pretty good idea of what areas to avoid, what is reasonable as far as rent is concerned, and how the public transportation system operates (assuming you have to rely on public transportation to get around). You'll also meet friends who may want to get out of the dorms themselves, ie: potential apartment mates!.
Keep in mind that you may need as much as 1000 dollars of ready cash depending on the area of the country the college is in (some cities are much more expensive places to live than others) as deposites for rent, telephone, electric, gas, garbage pick-up, etc.
07-12-2003, 11:45 AM
My school had an office called the "off-campus student resource center," which specialized in many things including rooms for rent and finding prospective roomates. I used it, and got a couple of really bad roomates. If I had it all to do over again, I would have found a small cheap studio apartment to live in alone.
I've found that finding housing in my area was extremely easy. Everywhere I find signs, posters, flyers advertising rooms for rent. But, this is a major university with 45,000 students, so the surrounding area has been enveloped by the students.
07-14-2003, 09:48 PM
I lived with my parents for almost the entire college experience. I lived one year in the dorms, which was FUN, but had to move back home because dorm living was too expensive. Parents are free.
Of course that is not an option if you are going AWAY for college. LOL :D
just adding my 2 cents into this thread, now that i have the chance! :D
The college i'm going to doesn't provide housing for students since it is such a small college in the middle of the city. However, there are other universities in the city, and so I found using the resources they provided was a major help. Here, although they did not provide housing, they partnered with the local universities and allow students to stay in the dorms with the other students - however it is first come first serve, with the priority to the university students! So, what it came down to was really finding an apartment to live in, which can be expensive depending on where you are living - I found that even the difference between living downtown near the college, or just outside of the city was a few hundred bucks, which is big if you're a student.
Living with a couple other people can help. Even if you don't have any friends you could live with, you could hook up with other students and rent a room in a house with them. In the classifieds of the papers here, there was even a section for advertising rooms for rent - rooms within houses with other people. Looking online I found a lot of web sites with adds posted, looking for other students to live with them.
We also made several trips to the other universities, where they had more information about off-campus housing for students, and gave it to us even though we did not attend their institution. I found it was hard to get information from my own college since it is such a small college, but the universities had loads of handouts with listings of apartment buildings, street names, maps, classifieds and newspaper clippings, websites all available to the students.
Unfortunately, even using all these resources we still had difficulties trying to find an apartment. Running back and forth between the city and my home town became impractical, and we eventually organized a week-long stay in the city. We stayed with a friend of mine who was already living in the city, and we took that time walking the streets, looking for adds in windows and telephone polls, calling places from payphones to come and check them out. If you don't know someone to do this with, you can also look into renting a room for a week, or checking in at a motel until you find a place for yourself.
Some of the things we made sure we looked at when we were looking for an apartment included the rent, and what utilities were included with the rent - one thing my mother drilled into my head! Heat and Hot Water seamed to be often included with the rent, which was a good thing - I guess if you couldnt afford to pay the light bill, atleast you could take a hot shower and wouldnt freeze to death in the winter lol. But seeing what is included in the rent is a good idea, so you may be able to get some good deals (especially if electricity is included!) Also, if you don't have a car, and parking is included with the rent, you can see about deducting the cost of the space from the rent.
We checked to see what amenities were close - grocery stores, banks, laundry services, buses. Also, living in a city we looked for apartments on the second or 3rd story up for security reasons. We checked hallways for what kind of fire safety stuff was around, and looked for "secure buildings" with keypads and locked doors.
A lot of leases are yearly leases, but you can also look for monthly leases, or 6 month leases - be sure to ask because you don't know what you can get. If you're stuck with thep lace for the entire year, you could look into sub letting it out to other people while you go home with your family. Other students may be interested in moving in to take summer courses, or just renting your place until they find their own place.
We found that moving into an unfamiliar city that it made sense for us to give ourselves the time to get comfortable with the city. Instead of getting our apartment for September when school starts, we got one for august - this will allow us to move up during the month, and stay up there to job hunt and get familiar with the city.
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