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Old 01-10-08, 12:10 AM   #1
goldfishin
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how do you search for a place to rent in an area you can't get to?

so, i might end up going to grad school in commerce tx. i would like to rent an inexpensive house ($500 a month or less really for the whole thing. no room mates.). how should i go about doing this?
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Old 01-10-08, 12:12 AM   #2
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craig's list?
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Old 01-10-08, 12:13 AM   #3
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Craigslist, apartments.com, any number of other, similar websites.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:14 AM   #4
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Also maybe your future department has some resources as well.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:15 AM   #5
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Old 01-10-08, 12:23 AM   #6
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so, i might end up going to grad school in commerce tx. i would like to rent an inexpensive house ($500 a month or less really for the whole thing. no room mates.). how should i go about doing this?
Good luck.

I rent out my 6 bedroom house to 3 students for $700 each. Fully furnished, 2 car garage, each has their own bathroom. They each get two bedrooms. Fully supplied kitchen privileges.

They tell me it's cheap for what they are getting.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:25 AM   #7
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one of my professors had a house down there for $75 a month back in the 70's. it's like podunk usa or something
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Old 01-10-08, 12:26 AM   #8
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Good luck.

I rent out my 6 bedroom house to 3 students for $700 each. Fully furnished, 2 car garage, each has their own bathroom. They each get two bedrooms. Fully supplied kitchen privileges.

They tell me it's cheap for what they are getting.
Somewhere in the Bay Area != Somewhere in Texas.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:33 AM   #9
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Don't tell me Texas is waay cheaper for the same type of house!
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Old 01-10-08, 12:40 AM   #10
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Craigslist, apartments.com, any number of other, similar websites.
+1

I had to do almost exactly this when I moved out here to Washington 7 months ago. I was able to come out here for 1 week a little bit in advance, but you can't spend that week looking. I had to look and have places "ready to check out" before coming.

Craigslist, apartment.com, rent.com, classifieds of local papers websites, some real estate websites (they show rentals too). Try to call them ahead of time to check any requirements you may have that aren't listed (fenced yard for dog was my issue) like fenced yard, pet restrictions, etc....

Also see if you can find any local websites that give any crime statistics to make sure you don't go into a high crime slums kind of neighborhood. I still have a subscription (through my relo package with company) to the prudential relocation website. I can check stats on any zip code for basic crime stats. If you can't find a good website to show crimes, PM me and I can look up zip code crime stats for you.

Good luck.
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Old 01-10-08, 01:16 AM   #11
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Don't tell me Texas is waay cheaper for the same type of house!
Why not? It's a fact. A LOT of places are WAY cheaper than California for the same type of house.


And $2100 in your area IS cheap. Especially for what it sounds like they're getting.


I've rented a house for less than $500 before... a little one bedroom for $375 in Washington State, and a 3 bedroom place in Virginia for $400, a two bedroom mobile in Arizona for $500 (included all utilities), and a one bedroom cabin for $380 in Arizona (incl. utilities)

Location makes a HUGE difference in rental and property prices!

Oooo.... here's one I wouldn't mind... 1 br cabin, 2 car garage, workshop, AND storage shed for $500/mo... and it's within a few miles of the ocean. Too bad there wouldn't be any work for me there!
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Old 01-10-08, 01:38 AM   #12
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So you're not planning to visit the campus before you move there?

Personally I would get there with a minimum of stuff, find some temporary month-to-month
housing for the first semester and really check out the rental market, then do the big move at the break.

By giving it little time you'll find out where in town you want to live, get a feel for what rentals go for an who the good and bad landlords are (in any kind of college town there are always a few bad ones). There's also the chance the program at this particular school doesn't agree with you in which case you'll have the chance to bail without being tied to a lease.

If the $500 house is not doable, waiting a while gives you the chance to meet someone you can stand living with too if you're really set on a house.
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Old 01-10-08, 07:49 AM   #13
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I'm in the camp of "don't rent sight unseen." Both KT and marqueemoon have offered good advice.

When I went to St. Louis for grad school in the early '90s, I first visited for a few days during the summer and took the bus system to get around while looking. I had already inquired about off-campus private housing at the university housing, and had also picked up an "Apartment Finder" for St. Louis prior to my visit, and so had narrowed my possibilities down. I ended up in a $500/month 565sqft studio on the 6th floor of a 21-floor building with a doorman, elevator with key, restaurant/bar on the first level, and a one-mile walk to campus.

I, too, had wanted a house, having lived in one during my other grad school program in NC ($150/month with two housemates in a 1920's 3-br, 1bath, also about a mile from campus). But I couldn't find anything better than that apartment regarding security and location, so close to the university, a half-mile walk to the nearest grocery store, and a view of Forest Park (which is to St. Louis what Central Park is to NYC) and a glimpse of the Arch in the far distance.

I don't know what your reason is for feeling that you can't get out there to look around prior to moving there. Yes, it's a hassle, with regard to both money and time, but well-worth it, IMO. But, if you really can't go, then take marqueemoon's advice. I have a young German friend who spent a year studying in SF. He arrived with no idea where he'd stay, found temp housing, and lived on a monthly basis until he met some students he felt comfortable enough to room with....

You might also find out from the university if there is an internal newsletter for faculty/staff that might list homes owned by faculty/staff for rent in the area. My UG school had one such, and a lot of grad students and visiting faculty found it useful, as there were also cars and furniture advertised. And those advertising were all university faculty/staff....

Good luck!
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Old 01-10-08, 11:51 AM   #14
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When my wife and I had to move a long distance for her PhD, she talked to the secretary of her department.

The secretary was a great resource for everything from contacting landlords to contacting student groups whose main purpose is to give relocating students the ins and outs of the area. Not only did we rent sight-unseen, but it was the best place we have ever lived, and it was the least expensive, too! We were the only students living there and it was still a block or so from campus.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:06 PM   #15
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Along with apartments.com I found that using apartmentratings.com will help give you an idea of which places you don't want to live in. (Like the place I'm in now, which has gone from a 90%+ rating to under 40% in the past year and a half since management companies changed.)
...so glad I'm moving next month!
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Old 01-10-08, 12:10 PM   #16
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Don't tell me Texas is waay cheaper for the same type of house!
Texas is waay cheaper for the same type of house.


Actually, 6 bedrooms in CA strikes me as HUGE. Can't believe you only ask $2100 for it.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:13 PM   #17
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My last apartment I got I ran a Want to Rent ad in the local newspaper in the area I was looking for. I got several hits from it. I got a sweatheart of a mother in law apartment.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:54 PM   #18
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Don't tell me Texas is waay cheaper for the same type of house!
Very likely.

I had a house I rented in Florida for $800/mo. Here in Washington, my house is similar (maybe slightly nicer, but roughly same size, both 3-bedroom) and its $1300/mo.
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Old 01-10-08, 01:06 PM   #19
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Good luck.

I rent out my 6 bedroom house to 3 students for $700 each. Fully furnished, 2 car garage, each has their own bathroom. They each get two bedrooms. Fully supplied kitchen privileges.

They tell me it's cheap for what they are getting.
Thats sounds like a steal in SF. I pay a little north of 1100 for a 1 bed and thats a pretty good deal around here, outside of Boston and not close to the T!


OP.. Craigslist + internet search on ratings.. Yelp, apts.com etc.. FTW.
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Old 01-10-08, 01:26 PM   #20
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Look into bus service to nearby cities like Greenville or Sulphur Springs. Competition for lodgings in a college town is fierce. The school I went to had housing for married Grad students. The wife and I were both students and wound up spending a year sharing the School Presidents' mansion with Dr. McBride and his wife.
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Old 01-10-08, 02:35 PM   #21
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Very likely.

I had a house I rented in Florida for $800/mo. Here in Washington, my house is similar (maybe slightly nicer, but roughly same size, both 3-bedroom) and its $1300/mo.
$1300 is a steal around here too!
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Old 01-10-08, 02:44 PM   #22
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$1300 is a steal around here too!
Yes I know. For what the house had, most comparable houses were in the $1500-$1700 range easily. I got a 3-bedroom, with fenced back yard, and 2 1/2 miles from work (3 1/2 miles via my bike route).

Of course, its somewhat buffered by the fact that my landlords prefer the "hands-off" approach. I call them with a problem, they get around to fixing it a month or so later.
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Old 01-10-08, 10:51 PM   #23
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Texas is waay cheaper for the same type of house.


Actually, 6 bedrooms in CA strikes me as HUGE. Can't believe you only ask $2100 for it.
I don't want more than three people in the house, that makes for a cramped household and more of a chance of clashing personalities. I rent to students and I figure at 700 each it would be affordable for them.

Now if I were to rent it to a family, I understand the asking price would be around 3k.

But I like having students there. I feel like I'm helping them out. On all situations the parents have come to look at the house and approve of it. And when they see how nice it is, they usually tell their son or daughter that they better keep the place clean. (It's immaculate)
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Old 01-10-08, 11:00 PM   #24
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you're only helping yourself for $700 a month! that's almost a months full time min wage!
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Old 01-10-08, 11:00 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by VegaVixen View Post
I'm in the camp of "don't rent sight unseen." Both KT and marqueemoon have offered good advice.

When I went to St. Louis for grad school in the early '90s, I first visited for a few days during the summer and took the bus system to get around while looking. I had already inquired about off-campus private housing at the university housing, and had also picked up an "Apartment Finder" for St. Louis prior to my visit, and so had narrowed my possibilities down. I ended up in a $500/month 565sqft studio on the 6th floor of a 21-floor building with a doorman, elevator with key, restaurant/bar on the first level, and a one-mile walk to campus.

I, too, had wanted a house, having lived in one during my other grad school program in NC ($150/month with two housemates in a 1920's 3-br, 1bath, also about a mile from campus). But I couldn't find anything better than that apartment regarding security and location, so close to the university, a half-mile walk to the nearest grocery store, and a view of Forest Park (which is to St. Louis what Central Park is to NYC) and a glimpse of the Arch in the far distance.

I don't know what your reason is for feeling that you can't get out there to look around prior to moving there. Yes, it's a hassle, with regard to both money and time, but well-worth it, IMO. But, if you really can't go, then take marqueemoon's advice. I have a young German friend who spent a year studying in SF. He arrived with no idea where he'd stay, found temp housing, and lived on a monthly basis until he met some students he felt comfortable enough to room with....

You might also find out from the university if there is an internal newsletter for faculty/staff that might list homes owned by faculty/staff for rent in the area. My UG school had one such, and a lot of grad students and visiting faculty found it useful, as there were also cars and furniture advertised. And those advertising were all university faculty/staff....

Good luck!

i've no car.
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