Dear 100 Hour Board,
What's the best way to find married housing in Provo/Orem? There's not a list of most everything like there is for singles housing.
Honestly, through friends. I asked around my peers in the Sociology department and had someone offer their apartment since they were moving out close to when we were getting married. This made it easy to set up a viewing time and they gave us priority / held it for us until we decided what we wanted.
Funny enough, that's not where we ended up. I had another friend in the department put a little heads up on her Instagram saying she was moving and I reached out to her. We did a little walkthrough and signed the contract that weekend! And I love it!
Basically, when you know someone, they give you priority and you don't have to fight your way to a contract. Lots of times, they'll communicate with their landlord for you and keep it on hold for you since you're friends. It is WAY LESS STRESSFUL that way. Also, it makes it really easy to ask them questions! I've also found that they were more honest with me about the shortcomings of the apartment and the landlord.
Another place to look is on the Facebook "BYU Married Housing under $800" group. You have to get approved, but the admin is very responsive. The only problem with the Facebook group is that you basically have to be on it constantly and try to be among the first to comment on things or message the posters. It's a bloodbath. But, it's a good place to start and can yield some decent results.
I'd also recommend that you get yourself on the waitlist for married BYU housing as soon as possible as a fallback.
First off when thinking about getting married housing, you need to consider if you want to pay extra for the fancy commodities an apartment complex offers (pool, gardening area, gym, clubhouse, etc). What I did for our first apartment was to get referrals from my married friends to see if we would like to live in certain apartment complexes. Carl was smart and got us on the apartment complex waiting lists right when we got engaged so we didn't scramble for housing in the beginning.
So, we started in an apartment complex that had all of the fanciness but didn't use much of it. It felt like we were throwing away extra money for the upkeep of those things. We found a basement apartment for our next place (and be thorough when it comes to vetting the landlord, how the previous tenant describes your future landlord can be a BIG indicator on how good they are), which was a lot cheaper. ...But we had to do yard work which totally wasn't worth it as the upstairs neighbors wouldn't do it during their weeks and would always be out of town during the summertime. BUT on the flip side, it was also nice to be in a basement apartment as there was a shared washer and dryer. Our third apartment had hookups and we've loved being able to throw in some laundry whenever we please, and not having to use a communal laundromat.
Like Guesthouse said, ask around if anyone is selling their contract. I asked my cousin if she knew of anyone in her ward was selling their contract, and there was! Our third apartment was in the same ward as my cousin and it was so much fun! Make sure to do the same when it comes to friends asking you. I was able to get one of my friends in my first married ward and that was happy too.
When it comes to using Facebook groups, I agree with Guesthouse and you practically have to live on those groups. But when you see an apartment you're interested in; we saw that it was ALWAYS beneficial to treat the person who's listing the apartment as a real person. Don't just ask when you can come to see it. Be polite, mention any mutual friends that you have, “Hey how do you know so and so?!” (That's how we got our second apartment that had like a bajillion people interested since it was under $650) and don't badger them. Kindness goes a long way! We also used KSL as not every landlord used the Facebook groups. If you have a car or two, see if you're willing to live in Orem. You may be able to found housing that way easier.
If you get to be in contact with the previous tenants, ask the important questions such as... have you ever had bug problems? How quickly does the landlord fix problems? Have you ever heard the other neighbors? Are there any apartment quirks? That way you know what you're getting yourself into. (But sometimes the people will lie and tell you there are no quirks when there WAS. [Yes I'm a little bitter that our 3rd apartment had a bug problem almost the entire time we lived there and our landlord did nothing about it.]) Google and also find the questions you need to ask the landlord as well. You can find married housing, but hopefully, you can find GOOD married housing. Since we've been some crappy places. No one needs that in their life on top of going to school.
Lastly, don’t feel committed to signing a contract just because you saw an apartment. There were quite a few apartments that we saw that just didn’t feel right to us. God knows exactly where you’re supposed to be and who you’re going to influence when it comes to being in a certain ward. I know my life would be a lot different if we didn’t end up going with the first fancy apartment complex (albeit it wasn’t the best experience at the end.)
I have friend who literally would knock on doors if a place had any indication it might be for rent (because a lot of these places don't have online listings). Combining physical combing of neighborhoods with internet searches allowed him to compile a pretty extensive list of married housing options.