Like many students nearing graduation, I am preparing a move to a new town, a place I am unfamiliar with. One of the biggest concerns I have is where I am going to live. Finding an affordable apartment is of the utmost importance. Below, I will detail my adventures in finding new housing for a new city and give tips in case you are also considering relocating.
Previously, I have lived in a college town where I have lived in dorms, high-rise apartments, and single story housing. From this experience I have learned a lot about what to look for and how to find housing. Traditionally, I made great use of Zillow and other similar websites. For my purposes this worked fine. However, I am finding that it is not the only tool to be used.
To find a new place I recently took a trip to Chicago to visit the neighborhoods I may like to live. While I was there, I found a large number of available apartments are not listed on Zillow. Many of them were cheaper than the ones found online also. I managed to get a few same day tours, and while I didn’t sign with them, the apartments were nice, and similar to the ones I toured virtually. Touring the city on foot was very helpful to me, because I was able to get a real feel of what it would be like to live in that neighborhood. Expand your search beyond one website to others like Apartments.com or Rent.com. This way you are getting a more complete picture of what is available to you.
Another option is joining a Facebook group. While it seems like the least likely option to yield results, there are dozens of groups that have people listing apartments of all shapes and sizes, and ample reviews of most places. As a bonus, many of them also provide space for trying to connect people as roommates. Before you balk at the idea of finding a roommate on Facebook, it is helpful to know that you are not alone in trying to find new housing. People are in the same situation across the country, so if you plan well you increase your chance at finding someone who is a good fit. This also increases your network, as you will not only be in contact with them, but all of their friends who may be in the area too. I personally know several people who have found roommates on Facebook, and are very happy with their living arrangements. As always with social media, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your own research.
While my housing hunt is not over, the things I have learned are, use a variety of websites to explore possible housing opportunities, don’t be afraid to connect with other people on sites like Facebook and if you can, try to get yourself to your location before you sign to tour the area and apartment.