Don’t Panic! How to Find Last Minute Accommodations

Sep 12, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Happy September!  Welcome to the beginning of a new term.  No place to live yet?  Fret not—you don’t need to move into that cardboard box.  Let’s take a look at five strategies you can use to find housing at least for the next semester.

1.  Start with the obvious: ask your university

You missed the deadline, you didn’t sign up—no matter.  Your university housing office can help you.  You might not get your first choice of accommodations, but you’ll find something.

From university-owned residences to approved landlords, private student halls, and even sublets, your university office will help you find what you need.

Another tip? Try the Student Services office, too—and check the Student Union building.  You’ll find more information about housing agencies, and finding housemates.

The key?  Go with something reputable.  If a housing situation sounds sketchy, it probably is.

2. Check social media

There’s no question that your university has a housing group Facebook or Twitter account—or both.  Join them—you might just find the right situation or the right roommate.

Another great place to check?  Online student accommodation forums.  Find potential housemates living in your area or studying at your university. 

The nice thing about a forum?  You can send your message out on a thread and get responses from students in similar positions.  Scan the forum regularly and respond to threads—you’ll find something. 

3. Set your limits

The Rolling Stones said it best: “You can’t always get what you want.”  Even better reason to set your limits.  Your limits should be absolutes that you’re not willing to negotiate, not wants. 

You might want to reconsider setting a limit at living in only a two-bedroom, when the only thing available is a three-bedroom. 

Things you should consider?  Affordability, distance to campus, and roommate preferences. 

Figure out exactly what you’re looking for, exactly what you want to live with, what you’re willing to do—and what you’re not willing to do.

Keep the absolute maximum that you’re willing to spend tucked away in your mind, and consider neighborhoods where you are willing to live.  You can’t be picky, but you can have a set of reasonable limits.

4. Look for live-in jobs

This one’s tricky, because it’s not for everybody, and these situations require a bit more digging.

If you have the time and the experience, consider a live-in position.  What does this mean?  Typically, it’s a nanny, housekeeper, or babysitter role.  Sometimes, there are other roles too, like groundskeeper or landscaper.

While they’re a lot of work, they pay—and they offer lodging.  Some of them also offer board.

If you can find one that suits your skills and schedule, go for it. 

Need help?  Start with student services, and then ask around. 

5. Beware of scams

Scammers smell desperation.  Don’t jump too quickly even though you need a place. 

Use a reputable firm, or go with a reputable tip.  If your landlord asks for a deposit before you’ve seen the place?  Walk away. If you can’t get the keys when your lease is supposed to start?  Run.

If it sounds too good to be true?  It probably is.

urces around you that you trust and start your search on your campus.  Your housing office is there to help you.  Trust yourself to make the right decision.  Even though you’re in a bit of a rush, don’t let others intimidate you into making an uncomfortable choice.

Do you find housing interesting?  Check out programs in Urban Planning.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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