HC: "The Apartment Hunt Is On!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The time has come to start picking out who you could live with, how far you are willing to walk campus, how to deem a landlord trustful, and of course, how much money you  are willing to spend. Picking out an apartment can be stressful, especially when competing with so many of your fellow Bruins for your own little piece of our cherished Westwood. So take note of this advice because leases are binding and sublets are difficult.

Westwood is full of apartments, a lot of them not even listed on renting sites and some often without names. The best way to look for an apartment is to simply walk around, knock on doors, and call phone numbers! Don’t be afraid to stop people coming out of the complex and ask them for their opinion on their unit, the landlord, the parking, etc. A friend of mine just recently ran into a resident, who told them AT&T had no reception in their building and another, who mentioned their water heater had been broken for months. These are things landlords will NOT tell you. Doing your own research will keep you from making a regrettable decision and trying to sublet come October!

But before you start out on this quest, you should make sure you and your new roommates are on the same page for prices, bedroom sizes, parking, and utilities. Does someone want a single bedroom or a private bath? Tivo or air conditioning? Pool or fitness center? Making a list of your priorities will help all of you focus in on a budget and to find the apartment that will best suite all of your needs.

If parking is an issue for you or your roommates, make sure you ask about extra costs for a parking space and if it will be a guaranteed or reserved spot that you can count on being there after a long day at work or school.

Also, furnishings! If this is your first apartment, you may not have enough furnishings to fill up an entire apartment. Make sure to make a list with your future roommates to see who has what in terms of couches, tables, chairs, kitchen appliances, etc. If you don’t end up with a substantial list, you may want to consider a furnished apartment, which will keep you from spending more money!

In my opinion, despite of all this helpful advice, your experience in an apartment depends completely on the roommates you decide to share it with.  Even if someone is your best friend, make sure you can actually live with him or her. Trust me, cleanliness will become an issue, so its good to talk about the expectations you will have for your apartment in terms of keeping it clean, having guests over, and the use of shared spaces. Just like the dorms, you want to be able to have fun without worrying that your roommates are violating any of your terms. With all of those agreements out of the way, your apartment can be used to its greatest bonding, studying, and partying potential!

Be sure to check out UCLA’s own resources, such as the housing board for roommates and available apartments, as well as Bruinwalk.com for reviews of complexes, rent prices, and landlords.

Some of your best memories will be made in this space, so be sure to look for the potential each apartment has. Even if it doesn’t end up being your dream space, you can still make it your own!