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Author Topic: General Housing Advice  (Read 1354 times)

jdwhome

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General Housing Advice
« on: May 04, 2008, 10:00:19 AM »
I am considering many housing options for the fall and wanted to get a feel for how others have approached the following issues:

1. Roommate or no roommate? Why or why not?

2. If you had a roommate, how did you find one?

3. Is it best to room with a law student or live with someone in a different graduate program (med, business, phd, etc.)?

4. Should you make home as comfortable as possible given the stress of being a law student OR, is the stress not worth it/high enough to balance out the cost of living/debt management (this assumes, of course, that you are somewhat concerned with the high cost of attending law school)?

Thanks!

antaresvi

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 01:25:15 PM »
I am considering many housing options for the fall and wanted to get a feel for how others have approached the following issues:

1. Roommate or no roommate? Why or why not?

2. If you had a roommate, how did you find one?

3. Is it best to room with a law student or live with someone in a different graduate program (med, business, phd, etc.)?

4. Should you make home as comfortable as possible given the stress of being a law student ( i.e. going for that pretty high rise around the corner because you will want a nice place to come home to after a rough day)? OR, is the stress not worth it/high enough to balance out the cost of living/debt management (this assumes, of course, that you are somewhat concerned with the high cost of attending law school)?

Thanks!

Hey - I figured I'd chime in, seeing as we're going to the same city! I'm going to be living in Center City with two roommates next year. They're actually both going to be Penn Med students - I figure that way, at least they'll be stressed at different times than me. One was a good friend of mine from high school, and the other is a friend of his from undergrad.

It was pretty important to me to find someone to live with that I'm already comfortable with - it'll be enough stress meeting everyone new at school; I didn't want to have to deal with an unknown quantity where I live, too. With regard to (3), I decided that I didn't want to live with another law student. I'm sure it could have been useful sometime during the year, but the added stress from not being able to escape school somewhere would have been too much for me. I like to really focus on school when I'm working, but then be able to leave it behind completely when I'm not - so having a place where I could do that was particularly important.

With regard to your last question, I don't know that anyone who hasn't been to law school yet can speak to the benefits of choosing a relatively nice place over a relatively cheap place. I think that the Penn budget is too low for anything outside of University City, but I don't plan to spend any more than $1k/month on housing (I'm moving the budget numbers around some to compensate). It seems to me that $1k is perfectly feasible when sharing a 2- or 3-bedroom in CC. If I planned to live alone, it probably would have been in UC, simply because I would have a hard time justifying $1k+ on a studio or one-bedroom in CC when I could get a nicer one in UC for a lower price. With the roommates, however, I get to live where I want to for the same price.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling response. Good luck finding a place!

cantwaitforuva

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 01:33:52 PM »
1. There is no way I would live with a roommate. I know many people do, but it's not the right thing for me. There is always a chance that it will not work out well and the last thing you want is for your 1L grades to suffer from something very preventable. Obviously if you don't get a roommate you'll likely be paying twice the rent you would otherwise, but I think that's worth it given the pay-off you will recieve from getting good grades and landing a nice job. Nothing is a given, but you can stack the deck in your favor.

2-3. I won't comment based on the above info.

4. I'm going to school at UVA, where the COL is pretty low. A 1br could run you $700/month. However, I'm getting a 2br for myself and paying $1200/month. It's a big increase and certainly not something that I would recommend for everyone. I study at home, not at the library so I need a relaxing environment in order to get my work done. I also hate the thought of having my desk in the room where I sleep or in the room I relax, it makes me feel like my work is always staring me down. Hence the 2br, which will become an office. Once again I know I'll be better able to study in an environment like this and I will be less stressed in general if I live in a nicer apt. This is a reasonable pay off for me. We're both going to good schools so that is part of the decision for me. Just so you know, I am concerned with the COA of law school, but I know that I need to live alone in a nice place to maintain my sanity and given the usual job prospects coming from my school I'm not too worried about the small amount of extra debt. This of course depends on your over all debt and how much of a percentage increase you are willing to take. If you have anymore questions feel free to PM me.

cantwaitforuva

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2008, 01:40:59 PM »
With regard to your last question, I don't know that anyone who hasn't been to law school yet can speak to the benefits of choosing a relatively nice place over a relatively cheap place.

I think we can, especially if you've had a similar experience in ugrad. I'm a senior right now and I moved off campus into a luxury apartment with some friends of mine. Having the extra space and nicer living conditions has been a huge help for me this semester.

Just a word on living with friends that you never have lived with before - this is not a guarantee that all will be well. I currently live with some very good friends and we have been friends for many years. We never had any problems until moving in together. Just because you mesh well outside of a housing situation does not mean that that will translate to being great roommates. In fact things have gotten so bad that I'm going to move out early. It's probably better than living with a stranger, but try to get as much info about their living habits before hand.

rtqw

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2008, 02:00:53 PM »
I suppose you can justify any expense if you believe it will lead to less stress and more productivity during the school year, but at the end of the day you're a student with no guarantee of a high salary at graduation (yes, even at Penn and UVa), and the financial aid department expects you to live like a student. Like they say, live like a student now so you can live like a lawyer later.

I have a roommate (fellow law student) and it has worked out very well. I think you can justify living by yourself if you think it would be too much of a gamble to live with someone you don't know well, but luxury apartments or 2BR places by yourself just strikes me as financially irresponsible for a student (assuming you're paying for it all with loans).
University of Michigan Law School, Class of 2010
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cantwaitforuva

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2008, 02:30:22 PM »
but luxury apartments or 2BR places by yourself just strikes me as financially irresponsible for a student (assuming you're paying for it all with loans).

I admitted that there is no guarantee of making $160k after graduation, but coming from a good school we have a ridiculously good shot.

I don't think it's financially irresponsible. It is based on previous experiences, I've probably had more bad experiences than most. I also have a chronic medical condition which flares with stress, so that is part of the reason I'm going to live in the least stressful environment possible even if that means a 2br by myself. I'm not going to put my grades or health in jeopardy to save a bit of money.

Special Agent Dana Scully

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2008, 02:41:04 PM »
cantwaitforuva-

I have a friend who is graduating this year.  She lived in a place called Turtle Cove (iirc) and it was a 2 bed 2 bath for ~$800.  If you want 2 bedrooms, that's a way better price.  But, you'd need a car, it's about a 10 min drive from the law school.
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cantwaitforuva

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2008, 02:44:14 PM »
cantwaitforuva-

I have a friend who is graduating this year.  She lived in a place called Turtle Cove (iirc) and it was a 2 bed 2 bath for ~$800.  If you want 2 bedrooms, that's a way better price.  But, you'd need a car, it's about a 10 min drive from the law school.

I just googled it, but couldn't find anything named Turtle Cove. Could you mean Turtle Creek? I found a complex with that name.

Special Agent Dana Scully

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2008, 02:57:39 PM »
cantwaitforuva-

I have a friend who is graduating this year.  She lived in a place called Turtle Cove (iirc) and it was a 2 bed 2 bath for ~$800.  If you want 2 bedrooms, that's a way better price.  But, you'd need a car, it's about a 10 min drive from the law school.

I just googled it, but couldn't find anything named Turtle Cove. Could you mean Turtle Creek? I found a complex with that name.

yea that could be it...its turtle something,lol. i cant really remember, i was there a year ago.
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cantwaitforuva

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Re: General Housing Advice
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2008, 03:02:12 PM »
yea that could be it...its turtle something,lol. i cant really remember, i was there a year ago.

Thanks for the tip, but they don't take pets. I need some place that will accept my cat.