Current Students - what is your housing situation?

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jwaters
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Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby jwaters » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:28 pm

I thought we could get a discussion going for us OL's that will soon be looking for housing wherever we choose to attend. I've always lived in the dorms while in undergrad so I don't really know what to expect or look for when I start apartment searching. Can any current law students answer these questions:

Do you live in university housing or live off campus?

Do you have roomates or live alone? Which do you prefer?

How big is your apartment and how much do you pay for rent?

How much time do you spend in your apartment versus the library or other law buildings?

What are some things that us OL's should take into consideration when looking for apartments?

Any other tips/thoughts about law school housing in general?

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northwood
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby northwood » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:33 pm

tag. although I will not be living in the dorms. I allready live on my own and will continue to do so while in law school.

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jwaters
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby jwaters » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:38 pm

Also, do you typically have to sign a 12-month lease or can you get one for just the school year?

NonTradHealthLaw
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:41 pm

jwaters wrote:Also, do you typically have to sign a 12-month lease or can you get one for just the school year?


Depends on the city - if it's a "college town" you are much more likely to have school year leases, otherwise a 12-month lease with first and last months deposit is pretty standard. You can sometimes negotiate shorter leases depending on your credit score but that is quite infrequent and sometimes includes a higher rent.

2lstudent
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby 2lstudent » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:11 pm

I'm a former law student (current government employee---pretty sweet), but I figure my year old advice might still be useful.

1) I lived off-campus throughout law school though I was always within 1/2 mile of the campus bus system.

2) I lived with my husband, no other roommates. For what it's worth I found it helpful to live with a non-law student. I needed a break from law school.

3) I lived in three apartments: a two bedroom 600 sq foot apartment for 600 a month; a one bedroom 800 sq foot apartment for 700 a month; and a two bedroom townhouse for 800 a month. The first one sucked, loved the other two. Townhouse also included a dishwasher and a washer/dryer in unit.

4) I never really spent time at the law school other than classes. I hated studying at the school---the atmosphere was tense. I mostly studied at home or at my husband's office (he was a grad TA).

5) I'd look for good roommates (if your personality leads you to work well with roommates), and a quiet neighborhood near the law school. In terms of actual apartment, I can't tell you how awesomely timesaving it was to have a washer/dryer in unit. I'd also look up the landlord to see if they are frequently sued for housing conditions issues, or if they have been foreclosed on. A good landlord is super important.

6) No other thoughts really. Talk to local folks at your school to find the best neighborhoods and deals. Good luck!

7) oh yeah and I always had 12 month leases.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby dextermorgan » Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:15 pm

Just a 0L, but I want to chime in on the lease thing. A lot of apartments in college towns have shorter leases near campus, but if you are stuck with 12 month leases there are almost always students wanting to sub-lease for summer. Most schools set up boards to connect sub-leasers to sub-leasees.

blong4133
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby blong4133 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:15 pm

jwaters wrote:I thought we could get a discussion going for us OL's that will soon be looking for housing wherever we choose to attend. I've always lived in the dorms while in undergrad so I don't really know what to expect or look for when I start apartment searching. Can any current law students answer these questions:

Do you live in university housing or live off campus?

Do you have roomates or live alone? Which do you prefer?

How big is your apartment and how much do you pay for rent?

How much time do you spend in your apartment versus the library or other law buildings?

What are some things that us OL's should take into consideration when looking for apartments?

Any other tips/thoughts about law school housing in general?

I live off campus about 5 miles from the school. I found a nice little apartment complex that is pretty cheap considering the price of most apartments in the area. I pay about 600 a month, which includes utilities, direct tv, internet, and an additional 25 bucks because have a dog. I don’t have a roommate because I had roommates all through undergrad and found it to be more of a distraction than a benefit. Considering the amount of work and stress that’s associated with going to law school, I’d rather have a place where I can go and be alone to focus on my studies than have to deal with a roommate that has a different schedule/priorities, etc.
My apt. is a one bedroom, one bathroom. I have a living room and kitchen that are basically one big room. It’s a new apt. and I’m the first one to live in this particular apartment. In terms of advice, the best thing I could tell you is that you need to understand your situation. You’re in law school to get a degree so that one day you can make a decent amount of money. You don’t need to live a lavish lifestyle, and in all reality, you won’t be able to afford it. Keep in mind, that if you’re like me, the money you have, and the money you’ll be spending is government money and will need to pay it back. Find a cheap place to stay, and tough it out for three years. You’re going to be in a lot of debt after you graduate so there’s no need to spend more money than is necessary on a big and fancy apartment. Some of my friends have 700 a month rent without utilities so they end up paying about 800 a month, which seems pretty crazy to me.
I spend most of my time in my apartment. I like to study at my home so I don’t usually go to the library unless I need to do research in books that I don’t have access to on West or Lexis.
The big thing is to realize that you won’t have the money to spend on a lot of things. The next three years you will want to only buy what is absolutely necessary so that you’re not paying loans back your entire life if it is possible to avoid it. Be modest and find an apartment that is cheap, and clean (no roaches, leaks, etc.) and deal with it until you’re out of school. The big thing is to remember that all the money you’re going spend needs to be paid back. Just use your common sense and that should be enough to tell you what you need to do.
Also, from what i've heard, most places will make you sign a 12 month lease. My apartment is a month to month agreement, but if I stop paying through the summer months whenI'm not living here, the landlord could rent to someone else, so in reality it's a 12 month agreement if i want to keep the apartment.

Sandro
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby Sandro » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:36 pm

werd ^. I've never understood people my age (early/mid 20s) who went to UG and refer to anything that isnt a cookie cutter faux-nice apartment/townhouse as "ghetto". Mostly girls but even some of my guy friends who really stayed in the sheltered "college living" apartment complexes where everything was furnished. You don't have to live in a 1k 1br townhouse while you are taking out 100k in loans when there are plenty of 400-600 a month places to live that aren't like Compton as people make them out to seem.

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eandy
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby eandy » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:48 pm

1. I live off-campus, but our university housing isn't really intended for law students and is on the complete other side of campus(and campus is big so its a big deal)
2. I have one roommate. Next year I will have 3. If you don't know your roommates, and you are female, it is better to have one. The thing about having one roommate is that if you didnt do something, you know who did. If there are 4 of you in one apartment, I guarantee that there WILL be a scapegoat. FWIW, I refuse to ever live with all girls again.
3. My apartment is pretty big considering that it is pretty much downtown and I am able to walk to class every day. I mainly pay for location, though, as the apartment itself, aside from my closet, is not outstanding. I pay 635 plus utilities. The house we got for next year is decently sized farther away from campus(about a 9 minute drive) but close to the store, restaurants, etc. It's going to be 500 plus utilities.
4. After the beginning of the semester, I do not spend much time in my apartment. I can't really study or focus in my apartment, if I am there I just nap or watch tv or both.
5. Look into history of pests(roaches are so gross), make sure if you are planning to get a subleaser in the summer that you are allowed to, and you generally don't want to commute really far to school.

blong4133
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby blong4133 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:20 pm

Sandro777 wrote:werd ^. I've never understood people my age (early/mid 20s) who went to UG and refer to anything that isnt a cookie cutter faux-nice apartment/townhouse as "ghetto". Mostly girls but even some of my guy friends who really stayed in the sheltered "college living" apartment complexes where everything was furnished. You don't have to live in a 1k 1br townhouse while you are taking out 100k in loans when there are plenty of 400-600 a month places to live that aren't like Compton as people make them out to seem.


I agree. In the area I live cheap rent is anything below 650. It's crazy. I lucked out with my apt. Like i said, it's brand new and it's cheaper than any apt I looked at. The one's I mentioned that were 700 bucks aren't even as nice as the one I'm in now.

Something I don't understand either are the people who use their loan money and buy $100 dollars worth of beer every week. But then again, most of those people didn't make it back for the second semester.

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Pretzel_Logic
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby Pretzel_Logic » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:48 pm

Somebody said something key: you are a grad student. Remember that unless somebody else is paying your bills, it's probably in your best interests to live like one. I lucked out with a pretty cute apartment about five miles off campus--which is great, because I dodge campus nonsense but I'm still close enough that it's not a hassle to drive in every morning. Especially for a small place, it's not hard to make it homey and cute on a tight budget (IKEA is my friend!) However, if you're more than about two minutes away, I would do a test-drive of apartment --> school, preferably at the time you'll drive in every morning, just to make sure the commute won't make you want to dropkick your own head every day.

Also, just because an apartment is on the cheaper side doesn't mean that the facilities can't be fairly nice (mine has a small but nice gym, a pool, safe laundry facilities, all that jazz) and it's within walking distance to kroger and a quick drive from loads of shopping (including cheapo places like Target). Especially in a college town, sometimes you can find nicer places away from campus, just because of the supply/demand principle (definitely the case where I go to school). I've found it's really important to me to be away from campus in order to keep perspective--also because when you're not in undergrad anymore, these kids who were once you will not annoy the bejesus out of you.

And for the first time in my life I'm living by myself, and I honestly believe this is one of the main reasons I am much happier now than I ever was in undergrad. True story. I'm an introvert and I NEED to be alone for decompression after school/work/whatever. If that's not you, find some roommates.

wolverine2014
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Re: Current Students - what is your housing situation?

Postby wolverine2014 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:21 pm

great tips...thanks




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