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Time By Escati       
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is:

October 2001


Students unite to form one voice of hope

WAC gives audience better understanding


Editorial: We need to set higher standards

Letters to the editor:

Da playas gonna play

Men are from the "O" and women are from "Starbucks"

Court approves peaceful minute


Americans face their toughest challenge

Proud beyond words to be an American

Rude awakening just the beginning

People wait for shock to settle

Students react to attacks


Finding the sweetest pad in Pittsburgh


Review of Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz

Street musician is on prowl in Pittsburgh


Evangelistic dorm talk with Thomas B. Grosh IV regarding the events of September 11,01

October online edition

Finding the best pad in Pittsburgh

Jeremy Day
Editor in Chief

            Looking for a nice place to rent can be troublesome, but it doesn't have to be.  Sure it takes a little bit of time and effort, but it all pays off in the end when you find the best place ever to live and have your friends over for some great times.  So, to save yourself headaches later you need to do a little work now.  It's called investing in your future and it is something every college student needs to learn how to do before they graduate if they want to be successful in life.

           So where do we begin?  First off you need to realize that when you rent an apartment or house you are the customer and the landlord has an obligation to provide the customer with the best service possible.  That means a landlord should be kind and respectful when dealing with you.  If they aren't kind to you now when you are trying to give them money, think what will happen if you have a problem later that costs your landlord money.  Don't be intimidated by landlords.  Are you intimidated when you go to the store to buy something like a stereo system?  Probably not.  Granted, renting seems like a bigger deal than buying a stereo system, but it really isn't.  So, the first rule is to find a landlord who will work with you to help you make an educated decision.

           Probably the most important thing after finding a good landlord is to investigate the house to find out what it is like.  Some people will say the house is the most important thing, but a house is a house.  There are plenty of them and if the landlord is actually a "slumlord" than no matter how great the house is it won't be worth it in the long run.  So, what are the important things to look for in a house?  Well like I said before a house is a house so the condition of the house is more important then how many rooms it has or how big it is although those are important things to consider too.  The two most important things to check are the plumbing and heating/cooling systems.  Check all faucets to make sure the water flows nicely and clearly.  There should be no clogs, and no weird colored water.  Most importantly, make sure the toilet flushes and flushes well!  This is very important.  The drain in the shower should drain well too.  I can't tell you how much of a problem those things can be.

           You also need to find out if there is air conditioning in the summer if you prefer it to ceiling fans.  In my house I have ceiling fans and I donít mind the heat all that much.  Even more important is the heating system for the winter.  If a house isn't heated well it will be horrible living there in the winter months.

          After you check these you can worry about the rest of the house. Is it roomy enough for your tastes?  Houses are bigger, and sometimes less expensive than apartments.  Does it have an adequate kitchen if you plan on doing some cooking?  I love cooking so I needed a place with a very good working gas stove and a large refrigerator.  In fact we have two in our house.  How is the telephone system set up in each room of the house?  I need my Internet access which is why my bedroom has it's own phone line.  Mainly you are looking to match your own personal preferences, so it doesn't matter too much what I say on the subject.

          One thing I will say, though, is that a house needs to be well kept and clean.  If the landlord is showing a place that is not well kept than tell him or her thanks and move on.  If a landlord doesn't have their place well kept than their new tenants (that's you!) will probably not be well taken care of either.

           Now on to what some people think is the most important detail of any place they rent and that is the price.  I will say it is a personal preference because some people like to spend more than others.  In any case, you can find nice affordable housing anywhere.  You can, also, usually negotiate the terms.  Many landlords will say they have tons of people lining up behind you to rent the place, but that is not always the case.  It is o.k. to play a little tough because there are always other places, but you don't want to get a landlord mad for no reason.  Here are some guidelines to go by.

           For starters I will let you know the average renter will be paying somewhere around $300 a month plus utilities and it will be on a year lease.  Your room bill for the university should be anywhere from $1600 to $2500 a semester which works out to around $400 to $600 a month.  That is a lot of money to be paying for rooms that are very small, but that is just a preference of mine.  I like large places.

           Anyhow, the market for places to rent causes prices to be lower than what the university charges because the university has no competition and landlords have lots of competition.  They can either rent at lower rates or have vacancies, which means they make no money.  Which would you rather have?

           I live in a four bedroom, two bath house that rents for $900 a month plus utilities, which are about $160 to $200 a month.  This works out to $1100 a month spread over four people, or just under $300 a month per person.  Not bad, right?  Now, if we look at the same place Pitt rents out, it comes to about $2000 per person per semester.  A semester is four months long, so a person will pay about $500 a month with utilities included.  Considering that, it looks like I am saving myself $200 a month.

           Lastly, all this hassle will pay off in the experience you receive when you go about looking for a place to rent.  You will learn a lot about how real estate and renting works and hopefully it will prepare you to purchase your own home some day.  Feel free to email me if you have any further questions, and happy house hunting!

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