How to Adult: Finding a House
Living on campus is not for all of us. It is a good experience to have once, perhaps twice, but after a year or two of moving your things in and out for breaks, having the elevators stop working, and putting up with noisy upstairs neighbors and communal bathrooms, you may decide to start looking at off-campus housing. So how do you find a place?
“There are a lot of apartments by Tech, a lot of houses. Look it up online, see what’s listed.”
One student I interviewed, a freshman, had a cousin who lived and worked in Socorro after they graduated from Tech in 2016. The two now live together, along with a super senior and a nontraditional 30-something student. They are trying to move to a two-bedroom house or apartment, but haven’t found one yet.
“What typically happens is you find a friend that you want to live with and you guys look for places together,” he says. “It can be really challenging to look for a place on your own.”
According to him, there are a few important factors to consider when choosing a house. First is location, and also first is price. If he could be picky, though, what he would look for is ‘simplicity’. “The way it is in my house right now, three of the bedrooms are at the end of one hallway, so we all constantly have to deal with each other, and all three of us share a bathroom,” he says. “And it would be nice to have some furnishing, because I own like, six cups, and that’s about it.” Functional heating and air conditioning are also things to look for, as well as the character of the landlord and the neighborhood.
“Finding a house, I think, is pretty easy as long as you have enough people.”
“The first thing I did,” says a mathematics super senior, “I started driving around town looking for ‘for rent’ signs. Craigslist and Google were a pretty big help, but the biggest thing was just driving around finding signs, calling the numbers and asking for tours.”
It was only afterward, once he had an idea of what he wanted and what was available, that he started asking around for housemates, and he soon had enough people.
For those newly living off-campus, he advises making a list of rules to clarify acceptable standards for the house. “Everybody does dishes differently, everybody uses the bathrooms differently, everybody thinks what is clean is different.” The biggest thing, though, is to be responsible with your money. “Most places here you have to sign up for your own utilities. Paying those on time and paying your rent on time is a big deal.”