Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Finding a Place in Silicon Valley

For the first two weeks, every day after work I spent my free time meeting with apartment managers and people from Craigslist renting rooms out. It was a grind. I don’t have a car, so I have to live near transportation. Most of the places to live under $700 in the entire Bay Area were in two places; this one ghetto part of South San Francisco, very far from San Jose, and the area around San Jose State University. I didn’t want to do the bus-train-bus schedule the whole summer so San Jose, close to work, was the only thing that made sense. There was a light-rail train that could take me to work and an implication of college kids in the area. Sounds good.

I put in 20+ hours on Craigslist as well as calling apartment buildings all over San Jose. I would suggest to anyone reading this to outsource finding a place to live in California for, I dunno, 50$. Just ask some to make a list of places to live (and give specific parameters). And call this list immediately. Every apartment had no openings or wanted $2000+ a month for 1BDs. Everyone on Craigslist was getting $1000+ a month for spare bedrooms. I couldn’t do it. It was actually an interesting experiment as a business student curious about real estate post-housing crisis. It simply confirms my theory that the importance of ‘location’ in reference to suburban and commercial real estate is the location in relation to money. The only exception is natural resource value of that land. Real estate prices are directly correlated to the amount of commerce in a given area; and money was definitely here.

The goal was to get a room by June 1st. I eventually did. Here’s the trip; try colleges near where you want to live. They often have on-campus housing, fraternities, and summer rentals nearby.  I first tried Stanford, Santa Clara State, and San Jose State. I couldn’t find anything on the college websites or through Google. A few times after work I decided to walk around the San Jose State area to scope places. This is highly recommended. I knocked on doors of a few fraternaties and apartment compexes that were fruitful but nothing locked down yet.

A coworker, a recent grad from ASU, joined me in the apartment search. He had a car and we did more apartment scoping around San Jose State. We ended up living at a place we found on one of these drives, called the San Jose State International House. It is a white building with eight huge pillars out front meant for SJSU foreign exchange students. In the summer it’s basically a hostel. In the first couple days I met people from France, Italy, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan, Korea, and China. It’s a solid living situation. The interesting part is I never would have found it online; I had to walk the neighborhoods and see where students lived and determine where I wanted to live.