Tips on Apartment Hunting?

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May 26, 2003
Central Coast, Calif.
As indicated in a previous post I will be working in Sunnyvale, Ca for 3 months this summer. I have started looking on craigslist and some of the other apartment websites. The main two problems I'm running into are the apartments seem to be first-come, first-serve as they are available and they want a minimum one year lease. I'm looking to rent from the middle of June to the middle of Sept.

Any tips on search methods?

One option is an extended stay hotel. It is in my price range but I'd like to find a better location. The one I'm looking at is in an industrial area but gets decent ratings and is 1 mile from work.
I was in the market for an apartment several months ago and I discovered that most places do require a one-year committment.

Your best option is to check on facebook or craigslist for people who want to sublet a room in their apartment or house for several months.

Another option is to check the churches in the area. Some retired people may be interested in housing a person for spare income. My dad actually found his room that way when he worked in the Bay Area.
Kajiji works good too.. Friend of mine found a temporary dwelling like that.
The only way you can get around the 1 year least is either take over someone else's lease, which will be a good thing for you as you usually get a month free or part of the deposit. The apartment management usually will welcome this as they won't have to risk vacancy, and will help you 2 with the paperwork with transition and maybe a walk through inspection.

The alternative is to find places that take month to month rental agreement, and that's usually a bit extra, like 10% or 100 per month extra.

Most places if you break the lease they will just take your security deposit, that's about 1/2 to 1 month. I'd say it is probably still cheaper than extended stay hotel.

Summer is a good time for sublease from college students that graduate but still haven't completed the lease yet.
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I did a quick search here and found a few candidates -

For such a short stay, an extended stay hotel might be best, esp if its in nice condition and has good amenities. A good one will have regular maid service and come with typical household stuff that you'll need and won't have to negotiate with a subletter (towels, kitchen utensils, fridge, etc).
FYI if you want to stay in Extended stay hotel, check out and in Sunnyvale, I had gotten $32 per room per night last June for about 4-5 days in Sunnyvale/Mountain View border. That's 960 to 1k per month.

Now if you are still interested in subleasing from a student that goes back home during summer, they will keep the furniture there and you can get to use it without moving all your stuff (other than a computer or laptop). You probably still want to use your own bedsheets, towels, clothes, and etc.
I'm trying to stay away from "student" type living arrangements. I have visions of dirty rugs and stink. I'd prefer a studio and can afford a fairly pricey rent. I don't care if its furnished, I can buy some disposable IKEA furniture to live on for 3 months.

The hotel I've looked at isn't an "Extended Stay" brand, just a hotel that that specializes in longer-term rent.

Thanks for the tip on priceline, I'll check it out.
I would just rent a room from a person on Craigslist in a nice area and drive a few miles to work.
Some apartments you can lease for 7 months min, but its expensive and you have to deal with drama and the games of other people.
I would suggest checking the demographics of the various complexes by visiting a few times, if possible.

Students, illegals, etc. make for a bad time.
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
I would suggest checking the demographics of the various complexes by visiting a few times, if possible.

Students, illegals, etc. make for a bad time.

If you can check out the place around midnight to see what [if any] activity is going on.
Agreed... I lived in an apartment complex after college that went way downhill during my 4-year tenure there. Midnight was when the drunks/druggies came in.

Funny since the bars closed at 1.
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If you can find a non-chain motel on a non-interstate highway go talk to the manager and see if he has a cash weekly deal.

Doesn't have to be seedy like out of some B-movie either.
My apartment complex used to be presentable during the day, but it has always been bad at night. It has steadily gone downhill over the last three years though and now it is bad day and night.
Originally Posted By: eljefino

Doesn't have to be seedy like out of some B-movie either.

But those have more character, don't they???
Know anything about the Rivermark area of Santa Clara? I found an open sublease for the time period I need. Reviews on the complex are very mixed.
The Rivermark area is OK. I've only been there a few times to eat. I have read on some of the local motorcycle forums that it is not very secure as far as motorcycle parking goes. However, having Safeway and restaurants close by is a plus.

I'm a superstitious sort. Rivermark is built on land where the old Agnew State Hospital was. I get the willies thinking about the spirits of unhappy patients roaming around.
Rivermark is very nice, but a very pricey apartment.

Most of the people I know that lives in Rivermark are young engineer, single or couples that have no children. It is pretty much the nicest you can get in terms of apartments.
Be careful of listings that say they are in "the _________ area." I don't know how Sunnyvale is, but around here it can go from nice to ghetto in the blink of an eye.
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