Dear 100 Hour Board,
I got an unpaid internship out of state (halfway across the country). How do I find someplace to live? I have found a lot of good listing for summer sublets on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace, but I do not know what comes next. There is no way for me to look at the rooms or meet potential roommates in person before I relocate, so how do I make an informed and safe decision?
Have any of you done something like this before?
Dear soon-to-be City Mouse,
I had to do that once. Here's a few pointers:
- Don't release your personal information (or any money) on Craigslist unless you're reasonably certain it's a real thing. Unfortunately, a number of advertisements are fake and they'll just try to get your personal information or money. You can message them through Craigslist, which protects your email and phone number, and figure out how legitimate it is through that. If they ask for your phone number to call or email address off the bat, just tell them you feel more comfortable working through Craigslist at the moment. At this point, most scammers will drop you and you can have good (and safe) conversations with actual people.
- Trust your gut. If it sounds sketchy or too good, be extra careful.
- If you're really interested in a room, ask for extra pictures/a video walkthrough. If the person selling the contract/wanting a new roommate is sincere, they'll understand your need to see the room first. If they refuse to send any pictures, that's a bad sign.
- Use ratings. Google the apartment complex.
- Use Google Maps to see what the area/outside looks like.
- Phone call (or message enough, if they don't want to call) potential roommates before moving in. It can really help you get a sense of who they are and if you'll get along.
- If you're willing (and LDS), contact members/leaders of the ward in the area you're moving to and see if they'd be willing to look at the room or just give their overall opinion of the area (for instance, if it's a known sketchy neighborhood). You could even ask if anyone in the ward has any rooms they're looking to lease out, or if any members of local YSA wards need roommates.
- Ask your new employers if they have any suggestions on where to move. They might know where past interns roomed at, and might be able to give some good pointers. They may even know of other interns looking for a place, and maybe you could rent out an apartment together!
Best of luck with the search and move!
-guppy of doom