The off-campus housing search at Berkeley isn’t easy. Students complain about expensive rent, costly utility bills, competitive seekers, and lazy landlords. In addition, few end up in locations to their exact liking, but all say that they’re grateful that they even found a place. The demand for housing from the 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students drives up the rent prices to ridiculous levels. Berkeley is very aware of the housing crunch and provides several services to help students in their transition from dorms to apartment life. Many students cite the importance of planning early and at least thinking about post-dorm living options in the early spring if planning on moving in the early fall. Start even earlier if you want to move in at the beginning of summer.
A couple of students said they lucked out and found their places at the last moment, weeks or days before school began. While you might see “Roommate Wanted” signs in the bathrooms at school throughout the year, finding a new place to live at the last minute or during the school year is time-consuming and adds a lot of mental stress. Try to find people you’d possibly like to live with early on, talk to them about possible plans, and start visiting places as soon as ones that interest you pop up. Try to stop yourself from committing to the first place that seems “okay” out of laziness or fear that you may have no other options. Talk to other friends who are already living off campus and ask for names and numbers of people they may know who are graduating or renting out their place.