Housing: Part 2

Matt DiGiovanni

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I received an email response to my first housing editorial requesting more information on my experience with moving off campus and the search for housing, so I’ll do my best to answer some of the questions that were brought up there!

In my experience with searching for off campus housing, I found that the most difficult requirement we had was parking for four cars. We frequently found locations with one, two, or even three spots, but four showed up much less, and usually meant we were looking at houses rather than apartments. The four parking spots also made most New Haven locations an issue since, obviously, New Haven being a city results in limited parking availability. This isn’t to say it’s impossible, but for us, it mostly came down to guaranteed parking versus potential street parking.

With all this in mind throughout our search, we began hunting around online, mostly on Craigslist (www.apartments.com can also work in some cases), and calling the available locations that fit our needs. When we first started looking, most of the numbers we called were dead ends for one reason or another – some were the “too good to be true” listings that ended up being fake while others chose to not rent to students or had requirements we couldn’t meet (long term leasing, etc.). Eventually, we made some of the right phone calls and were able to visit a few locations and had a few real estate agents offering to help us search for a fitting location. We got a little nervous around now because we weren’t sure if anything was going to work out, but then we got a lucky break. A friend of ours was moving out of the house in East Haven that we are now renting and shortly after talking to our landlady, we put down a deposit and signed a lease.

I think the key to finding off campus housing is maintaining flexibility during your search. It’s much easier to find a one or two bedroom apartment with one or two parking spaces than it is to find a four, possibly five bedroom house with all the amenities and affordable rent at times. Don’t think that it’s impossible to find a place to live; just be sure to be patient and remain calm.

A few final caveats for anyone looking to venture off campus: be sure to check out how long the commute will be. Sure, at ideal times it takes fifteen minutes to get to campus, but how long does it take during rush hour? Make sure to discuss every factor (distance, rent, utilities, amenities) with all of your potential roommates. Nothing stinks more than thinking you found the perfect location only to have someone bail on you for one reason or another. Finally, I mentioned this in my first editorial, but I want to reiterate: be sure to check with the Financial Aid Office to make sure that your financial aid package will not be affected by a move off campus. I’ve heard many stories of people neglecting to do this only to find out that half of their aid has been axed. No one wants that!

It can be tricky to find the perfect place to rent, but if you put in the time and effort to your search, it’s only a matter of time before something will turn up that fits your needs. Persistence is key!