Housing tips from WSU Spokane students
Each spring, Student Affairs surveys current students to get tips for future students. Below are comments from a recent, unscientific survey. Please remember that they are personal opinions.
Location, location, location
- Be careful of neighborhoods. Get a map and ask people in Spokane, such as business owners, for recommendations.
- I like living downtown. It's convenient—a 25 minute walk to school.
- Browne's Addition has a lot of apartments for rent and is close to everything.
- Try to get as close to campus as possible.
- Try to stay close to the city. Don't strand yourself by moving too far away.
- Check out the neighborhood before you move and check it at all times of the day--not just in the morning or afternoon--to see what the conditions of the neighborhood/potential living area are like. Convenience to university, shopping and bus are important, but also it is important to be able to have quiet time to study and sleep.
- Use your intuition. If it seems like a bad area of town, then it is!
- Find a neighborhood you feel safe in, because you're probably going to have to be leaving in the dark, early morning for clinicals.
- Look to see if it's near school, then make sure it is a good neighborhood, and then price check.
- Living close to school is a big plus. Also, consider how close you are to other students and favorite shopping/eating places. Off-street parking is a good idea as well. If you are a runner, consider that as well.
- Many students live in the Browne's Addition and Gonzaga neighborhoods.
- If you are looking close to campus, there are a lot of places available across the river for Gonzaga students.
- Drive around, go to the South Hill, look in the Apartment Guide. I came here from California and didn't know where to look, and everyone recommended the South Hill. I couldn't be happier.
- The South Hill is cheaper than you think.
- Most of my classmates live on the South Hill and love it. It is a little more expensive, but it is also a great location.
- There is a plethora of inexpensive housing on the lower South Hill. It's just a matter of hunting around and finding a good deal. Look at rental company websites along with Craigslist because many of the local rental offices (Windermere, Wells and Company) don't post on Craigslist.
- Though the South Hill always seems like a tempting place to live, it is not the most convenient place to get to other locations, road network is somewhat confusing, and speed limit extends the amount of time required to get around.
- Keep your eyes out for amount of parking available, and keep an open mind about where you live. There are a lot of options within a fifteen-minute radius of the Riverpoint Campus.
- The Valley has nice apartments if you are willing to drive fifteen minutes or more to school.
- Lots of people think the Valley is far away—but in the snow, staying off the hills is convenient and commuting down the freeway from the Valley takes no longer than sitting through the stoplights around the South Hill, downtown, and North Division. On the weekends, everywhere I need to go is close by so I waste no time getting places—not the case when you're closer to downtown Spokane because stores are spread out.
- It's all about location. The Valley is a close hop to the freeway to go either direction without the major traffic that you would get other places in Spokane. Far enough out of the main hub, but close enough to get anywhere in town fairly quickly.
- Most students who live further away from campus complain about the drive, especially during the winter months.
- Find something closer to campus if you can. When you find an apartment you like, time an 8 am drive to campus. Rush hour can add fifteen minutes to your commute time.
- Consider looking in Cheney.
- Consider what the streets, parking lot, and alleys will be like in winter.
How and when to look
- Start at least two months early.
- Come earlier, before school starts. A lot of housing is available in the early summertime.
- The newspaper was the easiest method for me.
- Check with real estate agencies to see if any sellers are interested in leasing long-term.
- Come up to Spokane for three to four days and do some scouting around for a good, cheap place.
- Be sure to spend time looking.
- Start looking early because of competition from Gonzaga and Eastern students.
- Look in Apartment Blue Book and drive around.
- Don't look too early, but have an idea of the area you want to live—it's a lot easier. Start with the Sunday newspaper and the Apartment Blue Book.
- Ask for help from other students—they have been here longer and know what might work for you.
- The Blue Book is helpful, but there are a lot of other places out there that don't advertise. If you like a neighborhood, drive around and see if anything else is available.
- You don't have to start looking too far in advance because listings will be gone the day after they are posted. A month to a month-and-a-half in advance is plenty. Don't settle for your first option: do some research. Go to the Gonzaga and Riverpoint campuses and look for flyers for housing or roommates needed.
- You don't have to sign a lease as far in advance like you do in Pullman. Also, a place may show up in the Sunday paper and be gone by 10:00 a.m. on Monday. Don't sit on a listing if it sounds like something you might like.
- Give yourself more than one day to look. I came over on a Saturday with only that day to look, so it was stressful and I kind of took the first thing I found. I love my apartment but it's too expensive, and I wish I had a shorter lease so I could get into something cheaper.
- Narrow down what is essential to you and what you can give or take, then get a book from the gas station or go the the website and pick a few places that fit your location and essentials. Call them, make appointments if needed, and go visit them all in one week.
- Apartment guides are pretty good, but driving around you see many more "for rent" signs.
- There are good deals. It is best to find things in the newspaper. That's where smaller complexes and cheaper rent are.
- Try to get off-street parking. There are a lot of break-in and vandalism problems.
- Don't settle, look around.
- Look on Craig's list. Decide which areas of town you want to live in. Drive around and get a feel for all the neighborhoods and find out which one has the best feel for you and all the amenities you'd want to have in your neighborhood. Then make sure you look at several different rental units before deciding on one. You need to compare what you are getting for your money and which one is the best deal.
- Look in person rather than calling places. It may take more time, but you'll get better information and a better feel for the place you are looking at and the management you might be dealing with in the future.
- Interview your landlord. Make sure they have a good record with previous renters. They should be reliable and preferably on site.
- Craigslist is where I found this. There is also the nursing student roommate search on FB. The Apartment Finder only has the more expensive, fancier apartments. Use the Apartment Finder if you have money.
- Call back in July, around the 10th and they will know whether they have openings.
- Make sure the condition report is thorough.
- Don't tell real estate companies you're a student—they won't like you!
- Make sure your landlord is decent.
- Take your time to look around. Don't commit to the first place you see.
- Rent is cheapest if you move in the winter.
- The more roommates the better: cheaper.
- Living with too many interior designers can be a bad thing, but it is really nice to live with just one other person in your classes so you can carpool.
- Find something with good insulation to keep heating and cooling bills low.
- Don't feel too rushed. There are many options in Spokane. You are the customer. You're always right.
- Don't be put off by reference checks—it usually means landlords care about who their tenants are.
- Negotiate. Don't assume you have to sign a twelve month lease, because that is not always the case.
- Even though an apartment may look nice does not mean that it is nice. Make sure you examine doors, closets, and the cheapness of the appliances in the apartment.
- If possible, ask to see a furnished apartment to see how space works.
- This website helped a lot! It really helped me to compare what is out there and how much it costs.