The Apartment Hunt

Written by: Mary Kuczkowski, Class of ‘22

According to the Emerson Student Residency Requirement, “new first time students (freshmen) entering Emerson College in a fall semester are required to live in College housing for their first six semesters at Emerson.” On the flip-side, housing is not guaranteed for students after completion of the residency requirement.

So, what does that mean for me, a rising Senior who came to Emerson in the fall of 2018? It means the apartment hunt is on! Although I will be attending Emerson Los Angeles next semester, I, along with my friends I will sublet from, have begun to look for a place to live.

To some, it may seem too early to begin looking for an apartment with a September 1st start date. That being said, we’ve quickly learned on our own and according to Off-Campus Student Services that it’s better to search sooner rather than later as apartments fill up quickly. Not only that, but we’ve begun to see that although many units are listed as an “ASAP’ move in, the connections one can make with realtors are still invaluable. I say this because even though one’s “dream” apartment might not be on the market yet, the connection to a realtor can lead to personalized messages targeting exact needs and wants come September 1 listings.

We also learned from this process that we should be prepared to put down fees such as first/last/security/brokers which will equal about four months rent. The only other fee you can legally be charged is for a lock change. Something to keep in mind as well, is that application and background fees are illegal (though unregulated).

We began our apartment search on apartments.com. We chose this site because it does a wonderful job of mapping out each area of interest. For example, the site can block off which “end” of Boston we want to look at, such as The North End, South Boston, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, or “Eastie.” Next while using the site, we can select minimum/maximum price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and the September 1 move-in date. We also took a look at The Off-Campus Student Services website which is through apartments.com and has quite a few resources including a roommate finder, apartment listings, and so much more. From there, we’ve had the most success by calling the places of interest and booking a tour or virtual tour if applicable. Once tour dates are set, we also created a shared spreadsheet between us to keep track of addresses, amenities, fees, and any questions or comments for the realtor.
To be very clear, my friends and I have yet to find our future home, and that’s totally fine! The most important thing we’ve learned thus far is that this is the perfect time to be more “choosey,” ask a bunch of questions and have an open mind. We realize we will have to make some big decisions relatively soon, but right now we are stepping into the “adult” world for the first time and it’s more than okay to be patient with ourselves. We’ve also learned how much of a wealth of information Off-Campus Student Services! We feel hopeful to know that we aren’t solely on our own throughout the apartment search and that resources are available to help us succeed.

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