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Old 07-18-2012, 08:19 PM
 
164 posts, read 131,808 times
Reputation: 157
Default Finding shared housing on Craigslist

I'm strongly considering relocating to Philadelphia.

Obviously, to relocate somewhere, you need an apartment to go to. For now, I'm looking into shared housing to conserve cash.

Is responding to ads on Craigslist a viable way to find shares in Philly? I'm not that picky, but I do need the housing to be in reasonably good condition and in a reasonably safe neighborhood.

Two reasons for my concern:
1) I don't know how things work in Philly - it could be different than the other cities where I've had to find housing.
2) Times may have changed. Several times between 2005 and 2010, in NYC's notoriously difficult housing market, I found acceptable shares within a few days. But in late 2011, when I moved back to NYC for a multi-month contract, it was seemingly impossible to find anything acceptable on Craigslist. After a few weeks, I moved into a tiny room in a run-down building in a mediocre neighborhood. Is Craigslist maybe not what it was for finding roommates or shares?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:54 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
14,648 posts, read 4,304,201 times
Reputation: 8590
Iam,

As the owner of a three story six bedroom Victorian house in the University City neighborhood of Philly I will tell you that - at least in the past - listing in Craig's List was a viable option for me to find tenants for my third-floor bedrooms. I found good tenants and since I was in a desirable neighborhood near 4 colleges and universities I never had a problem finding a tenant.

If I were you I would not rent a place sight unseen. You might have to stay in a hotel or motel or with a friend while you are looking.

You will find Philly is much ... MUCH ... more affordable than NYC.

The trick is which block or neighborhood you choose. One block may be good, but three blocks away you are in a drug-infested high crime area. Do your research!
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:19 PM
 
164 posts, read 131,808 times
Reputation: 157
@Clark Park: Thanks for the input.

Given that University City is desirable, is finding housing there possibly competitive? It's one of my favorite neighborhoods anywhere and is logistically very convenient. But if it will be much easier to find housing elsewhere, I can look farther afield.

I've in Philly anyway on a regular basis, so it won't be necessary to take a place sight unseen.

I also noticed the rapid changes from block to block while driving around University City. Does crime from the bad areas ever spill over into desirable blocks nearby? I'm looking at a lot of places in the western fringes of U City, between about 48th and 51st Streets.

I also noticed the affordability. You can get an entire 1BR in University City for what I'm paying for the joke of an apartment which I'm sharing with 2 roommates in a mediocre part of NYC.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:31 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
14,648 posts, read 4,304,201 times
Reputation: 8590
Yes, crime can "spill over" from a higher crime area into a nicer block nearby. This is a big city with urban problems, a person needs to be alert and "street smart" and stick to walking down safer well lit streets at night. Here in University City you can request an escort from one of the uniformed "Street Ambassadors" that are part of UCD (Univ. City District) sidewalk patrols.

In my neighborhood, the safest and best area is Spruce Hill (and some of Cedar Park and Garden Court) which is roughly Walnut Street to the north, 38th St. to the east, 50th St. to the west and Chester Avenue to the south. The areas outside this neighborhood could be a little sketchy at night.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Here&There
1,958 posts, read 1,966,459 times
Reputation: 1954
I was looking at apts not long ago and looked into shared places as a last resort and yes, there are some nice ones out there and some crappy ones, though I have to disclose that the ones I looked at were in the NoLibs area. The nice ones I looked at were new and/or updated, one even offered a whole floor.

At the end of the day, you really have to go look, what I think is 'nice' might not be so 'nice' for you. Also, lots of students, competitive, more so in CC area. As to Craigslist, it's a hit or miss week by week when I looked; one week there would very few options, literally nothing, come next week and it's flooded with listings. I have to say Spring/Summer months will have more options.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:30 PM
 
164 posts, read 131,808 times
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@Clark Park: I'm used to neighborhoods which range from mediocre to simply dangerous. Having to keep my wits about me while walking seems normal to me now. I'm just trying to avoid the places so bad that even street-smart people should avoid them.

The boundaries you describe are more or less my first choice neighborhood.

@BVitamin: Thanks for the input. I actually have a fairly low bar for what I consider "nice". So hopefully I can at least find that.

Is University City/Spruce Hill still mostly a student neighborhood west of 40th Street? Is it going to be substantially harder to find good housing there due to competition with students?
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Here&There
1,958 posts, read 1,966,459 times
Reputation: 1954
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmEverywhere View Post
@Clark Park: I'm used to neighborhoods which range from mediocre to simply dangerous. Having to keep my wits about me while walking seems normal to me now. I'm just trying to avoid the places so bad that even street-smart people should avoid them.

The boundaries you describe are more or less my first choice neighborhood.

@BVitamin: Thanks for the input. I actually have a fairly low bar for what I consider "nice". So hopefully I can at least find that.

Is University City/Spruce Hill still mostly a student neighborhood west of 40th Street? Is it going to be substantially harder to find good housing there due to competition with students?
I'm assuming so, I omitted that area from my search based on that assumption, one of the reasons anyway. I don't think it would be that much harder as I think that there are a preset of availability for students, I'm assuming.

Apologies if I had missed it but why are you focusing on that area?
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:35 AM
 
164 posts, read 131,808 times
Reputation: 157
You didn't miss anything - I never explained in the first place. The factors leading me to consider University City:

* I generally like the vibe. It seems eclectic and sophisticated.
* It's possibly the most convenient location for me given who I visit, where I go and where I'm likely to work. (This isn't really a deal-breaker.)
* The price seems right for what it offers.

Also, I'm drawn away from some other neighborhoods, but willing to consider that there may be some misreads here:

* Rittenhouse would be great, but I don't feel like paying for it.
* Likewise for most of the rest of Center City.
* I didn't care for Williamsburg in Brooklyn, so I'm guessing Northern Liberties or possibly even Fishtown wouldn't be enjoyable to me either. This might be inaccurate as Williamsburg is really in a league of its own. It's very snooty, socially closed and polluted. It's not truly creative. It's arguably the most overpriced area in the entire USA. If NoLibs and Fishtown don't have these problems and are actually artsy, I might consider them.
* I also didn't care for Wrigleyville in Chicago, so I'm guessing Manayunk's scene, which seems somewhat similar, isn't for me. The post-Greek scene isn't my thing.
* And if there's any Philly neighborhood which makes no sense if you're not a student, it's Templetown.

Would any other neighborhoods be a good fit based on the above? Anywhere in South Philly or Lower North Philly?
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Here&There
1,958 posts, read 1,966,459 times
Reputation: 1954
University City sounds like a good fit for you then. You'd be surprise what you can find around Rittenhouse, I know it's considered a 'rich' area but even I found a few places that were affordable in that neighborhood. By the way, Padmapper is using Craigslist listings again, use it while you can.

And no, despite its gritty exterior, Fishtown and NoLibs area I've found prices to just be similar in CC.
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