Off-Grounds Services: Making the Move
When to look
Note: there is NO housing shortage in Charlottesville. Take your time. There is no need to sign a lease in a hurry. Remember that the lease is a legal contract between you and the landlord.
The smart process
The place you choose is going to be home for the upcoming year, so choose accordingly. You've found the perfect apartment, but there is no washer/dryer in the building - how important will that be over the next 9 months? Make a list of things that are important to you in terms of everyday life and take it with you when you start shopping for a place to live next year. Make it a point to walk to the location after dark - if you don't feel safe now, you won't feel safe living there.
Get a good map and think about how you'll get to class. How far is the nearest bus stop? Is there a safe and legal place to park your car? Will your walk to and from class, the library, and/or the Corner be well lit?
For more tips on finding off-Grounds housing you'll be happy with, see the Cavalier Daily article: What to look for when signing a lease.
Talking with prospective landlords
Be prepared to have a conversation when the phone is answered. Have a copy of our Search Sheet (XSLX) and Suggested Questions for Landlords with you and be ready to make notes when you call a prospective landlord. If you have to leave a message, prepare a short script to promote yourself and encourage a call back. Be accessible by phone (note: landlords don't usually communicate with prospective tenants by text). If you are not easily available, landlords will simply go to the next person on their call list. Keep your cell phone with you as well as a copy of the Search Sheet.