Surviving the Housing Search

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Updated June 2016

Are you new to Cincinnati? Is your current apartment or roommate driving you nuts? Are you having a rough time finding a place to live? You’re probably losing sleep thinking about the fact that you’re either going to be homeless or living somewhere unsuitable come August, but don’t give up hope quite yet. There are tons of resources out there that can help you find your new (happy) home in no time.
 

As You Look

Regardless of where you look for a place to live, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here’s a list of things we suggest you do as you search for the perfect place for you:

  • Have a budget in mind before you start to look
  • Go and physically look at the places you like. Pictures are all well and good, but they don’t come with a sense of smell. Make sure all doors, drawers and closets open and close.
  • Try and visit more than once, or at least stop by at different times of the day. Is it quiet enough at night? Is it still safe after dark?
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something doesn’t seem right, speak up. You don’t want to sign a lease, then find out that there are hidden fees afterwards. Ask about the typical electric costs for summer and winter.
  • Bring your questions with you. If you’re not sure what to ask, check out these guides from U.S. News & World Report and RentLingo for some ideas.
  • Take someone you trust to look with you. Whether that’s a roommate, a relative, or just a friend that won’t hesitate to tell you the truth, two sets of eyes are better than one.
  • Keep transportation in mind. Where will you park? How will you get to and from campus in bad weather?
  • Check the incident map for the areas you’re looking at to see what type of crime happens there. The public safety website is also a good resource.
  • Look at the UC Housing resources and leasing tips for other great advice 

Start with Google

A good place to start looking at apartments is Google. Search “places to live in Cincinnati” and check out some of the listings just to see what’s out there, and what kinds of places are in your price range. You’ll see all kinds of websites that pop up full of listings, so try not to get overwhelmed. Cincy Rents has a listing that allows you to search by neighborhood as well as by price. ApartmentList.com (Cincinnati listings), Apartments.com and Gaslight Property are also good places to look.

Trulia.com has a ready-built search for properties near the University of Cincinnati Uptown Campus (the Uptown Campus encompasses both the west and medical campuses). Each Trulia.com listing pulls in info on the neighborhood, including restaurants, banks, grocery stores and bus stops near the property's location. 

Craigslist is also a great resource for housing needs of many kinds. You can find a roommate, a place to live, or even a source of furnishings for the apartment you do find. Craigslist makes it easy to find a sub-letter for your extra room, or to find someplace to live for just a semester or short period of time. 

 

UC Housing Help

Don’t fret if you are having a hard time dealing with all of the information on the internet. UC has a variety of web pages and very helpful staff members to help you.

Visit the Graduate School page for graduate housing to find housing options and resources. The Office of Housing, Food & Retail Services operates a Graduate & Family Off-Campus Housing webpage provides information on local housing options and resources.

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There are two UC affiliated apartment complexes that we recommend for graduate students: Bellevue Gardens, near the medical campus, and Senator Place, north of the west campus. The housing website lists many apartment complexes near the Uptown Campus as well as private listings. Some of these are a little pricey, but their locations are excellent. While you’re looking for a new place to live, you may need a place to stay short-term. If that’s the case, you can check the UC Temporary Student Housing & Short-Term Housing page, or search Google for local deals.

Make sure to read through UC Law’s Tenant Information Project while you look. It is a volunteer organization that provides legal information to anyone calling about landlord/tenant law. They aren’t allowed to give you legal advice, but they can answer any questions you may have about what is legal in a tenant/landlord situation. Even if you don’t have any specific questions, it may be useful to take a look at their FAQ page.

If you have looked at all of these resources and still have more questions about finding off-campus housing, don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Housing & Food Services at ucgradfa@uc.edu or 513-556-0682.

Written by Hillary Oberpeul, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate School Office