Moving in San Francisco: A Student Guide
April 25, 2014 by Franko Ali     Blog Stuff     1 Comment

Moving in San Francisco: A Student Guide

Sutro Tower in San Francisco

Summer is rolling around, and we know quite a few of our SF State gators are looking ahead, trying to determine just where they’ll call home to in the Fall. Whether you are moving off campus, moving to the city for the first time, or you’re simply ready for something new, this guide to moving in San Francisco and other surrounding areas will help point you in the right direction!

How should I start my search?

Prior to beginning your search, make sure you’ve got parameters set for yourself, so the chaos is more manageable. Consider what is important to you, and choose a neighborhood based on those attributes. It’s usually a good idea not to settle for roommates, location, or any other arrangement that isn’t something you’re excited about.  Below are some examples of things to think about!

Do you want to live near restaurants & bars? Are there any other activities or amenities you’d like to be close to? Do you want to live near BART or a main transit line? Do you want to be able to get to campus within 10-15 minutes? Are you willing to shell out $700+ for your own room, or is a shared room more appropriate? Is the weather and geography to your liking?

Defining your priorities and taking some time to find an awesome home is a wise decision!

San Francisco from Twin Peaks

Where can I find housing?

There are a lot of resources out there, but here are some of the most popular and helpful websites for finding a new home.

SF State Off Campus Housing Resources (Tons of great info, including neighborhood guides!)

Off Campus Housing Board (Check out the moving tips on this page!)

Craigslist (Customize your search by price, neighborhood, etc.)

PadMapper (Test out the different search functions!)


The Streets of San Francisco

What else should I know?

Safety Precautions

Venturing out into the world to find housing isn’t easy. It’s important to stay safe, and make sure you avoid scams as well as untrustworthy landlords & roommates. Always make sure to get a copy of what you’re signing, and a receipt when you pay a deposit or application fee. If you’re in need of information about your rights and responsibilities, the San Francisco Rent Board has a bunch of great resources.

During the Fall & Spring semesters, you can also visit the ASI Legal Resource Center at SF State for free legal advice & assistance, including landlord/tenant issues.

Be Prepared!

It’s no secret that the housing market for tenants and owners alike in the SF Bay Area is highly competitive. Make sure that when you find a house or room that you like, you come to the tour or interview prepared! Some things to have handy include:

  • A full credit report!
  • History of previous landlords or roommates, including contact info
  • Recent pay stubs and/or other proof you can afford the place
  • Check ready (security deposit + first month + last month’s rent!)
  • Any questions you might have!

Know it’s not impossible!

Maybe you won’t find your ideal situation right away, but don’t give up! Find a temporary situation so that you have time. Utilize your networks of friends and classmates, make those important future roommate connections in your everyday life! The housing market is a bit more intense during August and January, due to local academic calendars, so planning months in advance can help! If San Francisco is too pricey, don’t be afraid to extend your search to the East Bay (Oakland) or the peninsula (Daly City, etc.), it’s more sunny there anyway!

San Francisco Skyline from Treasure Island

Got some advice of your own for moving in San Francisco or the Bay Area? Share it with your fellow students in the comments below! Good luck out there!

 (All photos by Zack Dinh)

One thought on “Moving in San Francisco: A Student Guide

  1. Aww, thanks, Neek! It may be the end of an era, but the beninging of a new one. I’m only a short BART and/or Ferry ride away, and think I’ll still be in the City often!(sorry for the delayed response, I’m just starting to catch up on things now that I have my connection back!)

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