Housing scramble starts earlier once again
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 01:10
The annual rush of sophomores and juniors looking to secure off−campus housing has already kicked off, more than seven months before the leases that students are signing would begin. The housing search in recent years has begun significantly earlier than in the past.
“The whole thing just moved up,” sophomore Ami Wulf said. “It put a lot of stress on a lot of my friends.”
Wulf, who recently secured a house for next year, was warned by an upperclassman friend that many students were already looking at houses and began his search two weeks ago.
“I heard that people had already started to find leases,” he said. “This is really early compared to when it usually happens.”
Although Office of Residential Life and Learning (ResLife) Director Yolanda King said her office does not keep statistics on how many juniors and seniors live off−campus, she said more students in recent years have sought off−campus living.
“Interest in [off−campus] housing has increased a little as more students are seeking the experience [of] living off,” King told the Daily in an email.
The increase in number of students living off−campus may be causing students to feel pressure to compete with others for the best housing. Most students are competing for the same type of housing: apartments that are both close to campus and relatively inexpensive, according to Colony Real Estate agent Ross Blouin.
Students this year felt increased pressure to secure housing before the best places were snapped up, Wulf said.
Word spread that a few people had already signed leases, and others felt the need to follow, fighting to secure the closest, cheapest houses available.
“Everybody rushed in and joined,” Wulf said. “The better areas, in general, are gone.”
The first landlord Wulf called had already leased 11 out of his 12 available spaces, Wulf said.
After this year’s stressful housing process, Wulf will take extra precaution when searching next year.
“I hate to be part of a vicious cycle,” he said. “[But] it would be a good idea to take a look at it even earlier than this year.”
Rosalee Zammuto is a real estate broker with Ross Real Estate who works in Somerville and Medford and has helped Tufts students find homes to rent over the past seven years. In the past, she rarely saw students beginning their housing search earlier than January.
“They hear that you should book a year in advance,” Zammuto said. “The competition is tough. There are a lot of applicants.”
She believes that the rush to find housing has become too extreme.
“In my opinion, I would say it’s not necessary,” Zammuto said. “Typically two months prior to the move is ample time.”
Blouin agreed that there is a lot of “over eagerness” in the housing process. He explained that searching for a home between 60 and 90 days before move−in is normally sufficient.
“Nobody usually knows what’s available till 60 days ahead,” Blouin said.
Although Zammuto and Blouin are listed on ResLife’s online Off−Campus Housing Resource Center, few students seek the assistance of real estate agents to find housing. Many instead rely on word−of−mouth and get in contact with older friends’ landlords.
“Word−of−mouth can work any time,” Blouin said. “Most of those owners deal directly with the students.”