Moving off-campus is an exciting rite of passage. I felt like the star of “House Hunters,” searching for my perfect forever home (forever being two years) where I’d make countless memories. Finding somewhere I would live for my junior and senior year was a huge step I was nervous but eager to dive into.

There are a number of factors that play into your decision on where to live. Questions I asked myself included: Do I want roommates and how many? What’s a reasonable budget? Do I prefer a house or apartment? Do I want something already furnished? I had to consider what mattered most for me (proximity to campus) and if there were any dealbreakers (a small kitchen). I started thinking about this at the beginning of sophomore year and discussed my thoughts with my roommates at the time. We had the same preferences and started to research together.  

There are so many apartments and houses around campus that you’ll likely become familiar with them even before you start looking, whether that’s from walking past the building or seeing a friend’s place. As you officially begin your search, Hopkins provides resources so you can make an informed decision. The Off-Campus Housing office frequently hosts events and webinars to guide you along the process and connect you with places. I attended a fair where different housing management companies set up tables on Wyman Quad with brochures and merch and answered any questions we had. This helped inform me of when open house dates were and who to contact to set up an apartment tour. 

The Off-Campus Housing office regularly sends newsletters with information, which you can find in an archive online

I utilized the off-campus housing website to learn about other options that were not represented at the fair, such as houses managed by a landlord. There were many properties I filtered through based on my must-haves. Using the website, I easily contacted the landlords directly to set up tours. When viewing locations, I made sure to take pictures I could reference later and ask any questions that weren’t answered in online listings, such as if there were any costs from utilities or security measures. By December, I had toured four places and was struggling to decide between two apartments.  

The off-campus housing with different properties available to view.  

After weighing our options, my roommates and I signed a one-year lease in January (just in case we didn’t love living there, but spoiler alert—we did and have renewed our lease for senior year)! I found it extremely helpful to talk to other students about what they were considering and exchange information. They often provided a different perspective and helped point out pros and cons of a property. Older students who have gone through the process can also share some insight and, more times than not, are willing to show you around their rowhome or connect you with a senior planning to move out.  

As I reflect on my search for housing, one piece of advice I have is to remember everyone’s search is unique. I was alarmed when some friends had signed their leases before December and scared there would be no places left, but that was (clearly) not the case. With the official and unofficial resources available, you will be supported as you look for off-campus housing and find your second home!