Thursday and yesterday, my wife and I were in Charlottesville looking for housing for me since this coming Fall, I’ll be entering the Ph.D. program in Religious Studies at UVA. I must say it was quite frustrating. Advertisements were often erroneous in a number of annoying ways. There’s one place we visited that announced “washer/dryer: none” but in fact there was a laundry facility in the building. (Because of this mistake, this place turned out better than advertised but there’s no telling how many places I rejected because of erroneous information.) Then there were places for which the addresses they had entered for showing a vicinity map were wrong. The difference between 1309 and 1039 can be enough to put a location out of the running.
Some ads were for places that had already been rented out. I can understand that the timing may just have been bad: maybe I called just after the place had been taken but before the manager had time to remove his listing. However, there were a number of cases that looked fishy: management companies overadvertising in the hope that they’d get more calls. (Why that is advantageous remains a mystery.)
I also had a bit of sticker shock. I expected Charlottesville to be cheaper than Philly but that’s probably some expectation I formed without enough research. I don’t think now that it is cheaper than Philly; rather, prices are probably very much in the same range. In Philly I stayed in a big Victorian house with 6 other students. The house was located in West Philly which actually has a bad reputation due to perceived criminality there. (In 2 years there, I haven’t had a problem.) That might have been enough to make the price lower than average and then I went to Charlottesville with that unrealistic price in my head.
The place I have found in Charlottesville is closer to the university than the place I had in Philly. It is also closer to… hmm… places of interest in general. It is similar to what I had in Philly in that I have my own room but the kitchen, dinning and living room areas are shared with 3 other students. However, I have my own bathroom whereas in Philly I had to share that with 3 other students (there were 2 bathrooms in the house). Due to the rules in place, noise or other disturbances shouldn’t be a problem. I’m just hoping there won’t be personality problems with the other students. In Philly, I was lucky that that was never an issue. I had been thinking of getting my very own apartment but the places that I have had a chance to see all had some problem: the location was bad, too spartan, too big (yes, one of them was too big), too expensive, run down, etc. Getting my own place would have also meant furnishing it, which would have been yet another thing to take care of. Now, I don’t have to think about that.
Anyway, I’ve found a place which will fulfil my needs for a year. After that, I can move.