Where To Live Off Campus
Starting the search for off-campus housing can be an overwhelming ordeal. There are many aspects to consider, from choosing a neighborhood to setting a price range. Not sure where to begin? Well, you’re in luck, because Your Mag is here to help. Adam Mason is the owner of Preview Properties Inc., a real estate agency with offices in Allston and Brighton. His advice for students who are beginning the search for off campus housing is to be as prepared as possible. “Identify what your budget is. Determine your deal breakers,” says Mason. “If you take the time upfront to determine what you want versus what you do not want, and what you can spend, etc., the search will go a lot smoother.” Additionally, he recommends identifying a part of the city where you will “get the most bang for your buck,” and advises against setting an unrealistic price range. Finally, he tells students to do their research. “While most listings are made available to the larger agencies, not every agency is the same,” says Mason. “Don't be ‘sold’ an apartment, be matched with the right place because your agent listened to your needs and has the inventory to offer you selection.”
In addition to getting a professional opinion, we at Your Mag talked to students who currently live off campus. Here’s what they had to say.
Resident Expert: Krystyana Greaves ‘17
Krystyana Greaves lives in Allston with three other roommates. The rent is about $2,600. When looking for off-campus housing, Greaves used Off-Campus Student Services, Emerson Facebook pages, and recommendations from other Emerson students. “I really like that I am a three minute walk from the Green Line, there are tons of other students in my neighborhood, I am close to a grocery store, and there are a lot of restaurants in the area,” says Greaves.
According to Greaves, there are some downsides to living off campus. “If you have any late activities on campus you have to be aware of how late it is and when the last train is so that you do not get stuck,” says Greaves. “There is nothing bad about my neighborhood, but you do always have to be aware of your neighbors and what is going on around you.”
Her advice for students who are looking for off-campus housing is to start looking early, and not to get discouraged if you don’t find something right away. “I found my roommates during orientation and I am very thankful and lucky that I waited and did not jump on the first apartment I found. Also, make sure you are comfortable with where you are living. If you do not feel good about the area or the apartment, don't settle because it is close to school or is a really good price. Your apartment should feel like a second home and if you are not comfortable in it when you first settle into it, you will probably never be comfortable,” says Greaves. She also recommends setting a monthly allowance, but planning to spend extra here and there for a special occasion. “Also, set a plan of how you will be paying for rent and facilities with your roommates in the beginning so that you are not trying to figure things out in the middle of the year and risking a late payment,” says Greaves.
Neighborhood: East Cambridge
Resident Expert: Sam Nipatnantaporn ‘16
Sam Nipatnantaporn lives in East Cambridge. “My living experience is a little different since I kind of live at home. Though I live with my dad, he travels most of the time so it's really like living alone. I have the luxury of not having to pay rent, but I do have to pay for my own utilities, etc. by myself since my dad isn't actually around that much,” says Nipatnantaporn.
Nipatnantaporn likes where she lives because of the close proximity to other colleges, the Cambridgeside Galleria, the short commute to campus, and the fact that it’s a quiet area. “I like having the freedom to do whatever, whenever I want and not be restrained by dorm rules. It's nice to spend all day on campus but then have somewhere else to go home to,” says Nipatnantaporn. Though she says it can be hard to carry all her books and equipment for projects around when she has many things going on on campus in one day, she does mention that Emerson offers lockers for off-campus students.
Her advice for students looking for off-campus housing is to look for places that aren't too far away from campus. “[It should] have easy access to the T (you'll be happy for that when it's pouring rain with wind), and look for a place that has easy access to places to eat. Late at night when you're too lazy [to cook], you'll want options,” says Nipatnantaporn.
Resident Expert: Jasmine Reyes ‘16
Jasmine Reyes and her three roommates live right off of the Brookline Hills stop on the D line. It’s a 25-minute T ride from campus, and the rent is $850 per month. “Brookline is just a really cute neighborhood,” says Reyes. “I love the park by our place, the cool local stores…and the fact that it’s not that far of a walk or bus ride from Coolidge Corner is great, because of the movie theater and the Trader Joe’s.”
Reyes does admit that living off campus can sometimes be a pain, especially when it comes to getting to class on time (and looking presentable). She also says that visiting friends can be more difficult when you live off campus, but she looks on the bright side. “The way I see it is there can be negatives to anything, but you just have to find the positives in the situation,” says Reyes. “I do have a good amount of friends who live off campus and our schedules align enough to where we can all hang out in the Student Lounge. Make time to see them even when you really don’t want to put pants on and go outside. It’s great to visit friends at their apartments or have them come over to yours and just be able to hang out. It’s different than going from LB to Colonial or Piano Row or Paramount and hanging out in a common room.”
Reyes’ advice for students who are looking for off-campus housing is to talk to Steven Martin, the director of Off-Campus Student Services. “He has a lot of resources at his disposal,” says Reyes. “And just remember to breathe. The process is crazy enough as it is, and stressing out about whatever little thing that may go wrong won’t make it any better. Things will work out, you will find a place to live, and it’ll be worth it when you have a place to call your own.”