This post was written by one of our own students, Filipe Daltro Minho. Read on to see his helpful suggestions for finding a place to live in San Francisco!
Finding a place to live is pretty hard, especially if you are looking to live in San Francisco. The city is only about 46 square miles and there is NO space available, not even just to park your car. Just after the .com boom, the “techies” invaded the city by the bay and pushed the rent up. Nowadays you won’t be able to find anything below $ 1,100 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. But God gave me the opportunity to be a student for a couple of years, the ability to know where to start looking for a place to live, and, of course, I have been lucky (trust me, you will really need some luck). Here I will try to help you find housing in San Francisco in just three simple steps.
You must tell everybody that you are looking for a place to live, and when I say everybody, I MEAN it. Telling your friends, acquaintances, strangers, waiters, teachers, taxi cab drivers, your yoga teacher, and even your gym mate won’t be enough. The power of spreading information through word-of-mouth is priceless. Eventually you will be able to find something, maybe at least two or three places to visit. I hope you can make the deal happen. Do not forget to use social media. Facebook is a great way to look for a connection.
Another good option is Craigslist (craigslist.org). It is the most well-known website to find everything, including housing. You also will be able to find room shares, home stays, (it is a good option if you are willing to live with a family. This is also a good way to practice your English. Personally I lived in a home stay for three years and it helped me a lot.) and so on. Do not forget that you have to be careful when you are looking for something on Craigslist. I recommend that you take a look at a place with a friend and never give your personal information to anyone by phone or email. Unfortunately cases of housing scams have been found on this website.
Walking around is a great option too. Some of the landlords do not post ads on Craigslist; instead, they just post them on their windows or on bulletin boards in local cafes. This is also a good opportunity for you to explore the neighborhood and feel the energy of the place that you want to live in.
To sum it up, you definitely must think positively and don’t give up. Some landlords do not want to rent out their properties to international students due to a lack of credit history. But some of them will accept your I-20 and bank statement. It is rare to find those good people, but it is not impossible. I hope I was able to help you! Happy apartment hunting!! =)
key words and phrases
.com boom: when the Internet became very popular commercially
techie: a person who knows a lot about technology or works with technology, such as computing
acquaintance: a person you know a little, but not as a close friend
gym mate: someone you go to the gym with, such as a friend or an acquaintance
word-of-mouth: the passing of information from person to person through oral communication
scam: a trick, usually involving someone trying to steal money from someone else by selling a fake item or service
credit history: a record of a borrower’s responsible repayment of debts. Many landlords ask for a copy of your credit history and credit score when you apply for an apartment