Housing for dummies, part 1

For some of you, freshman year is coming to an end. Despite free wifi, a full staff of computer consultants, spotless bathrooms, tidy halls and cafeteria-style buffets  — despite all of that — you desperately want to escape dorm living. Perhaps it’s the card-swiping guardians whose nightly watch unsettles you. Maybe the muscle-straining hike to Clark Kerr has finally caught up to you. Maybe, just maybe, you realized that coordinating your romantic life with your roommate’s ridiculous schedule is slowly pushing you over.

There’s always frat and co-op life, but how about the apartment hunters? We at the Clog have the top websites to help you live like you’ve never lived before off campus.

Berkeley CribsThe ASUC-sponsored website is one of the best kept secrets for Cal Bears searching for a den. It lists all the closest apartments to the UC Berkeley campus on Google Maps, allowing you to easily peruse to accommodate your lifestyle. Apartments are reviewed like Yelp and usually come with a price range. Berkeley Cribs also lists tenant’s rights information under “Resources,” an important pit-stop in case you ever have legal disputes.

TruliaThink of Trulia like Apple. Its easy-to-learn web interface and slick graphic design makes it a powerful tool. All kinds of housing are listed, so be sure to check “rent” to limit your search. Trulia provides detailed information on amenities, nearby restaurants and grocery stores. It also displays the closest public transportation lines to any dwelling and has a very active blog community.

ZillowThink of Zillow like Microsoft. It packs tons of information about each dwelling, including pet allowance and year of property construction. Houses are arranged on maps by “zestimated” prices, allowing you to roughly compare your rent with other rents in the neighborhood.

Apartment HunterzFor those of us who always wanted to live in a studio apartment, Apartment Hunterz has hundreds. Specializing in California rental properties, the site is especially useful for the out-of-college, into-the-work-world fare. Hourly updated, the website features extremely recent housing findings — a useful tool at this stage of the semester.

This post is the first of a week-long “Housing for Dummies” series. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Image Source: Thomas Huston under Creative Commons

Contact Alex Mabanta at [email protected]