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malcolm.knapp's avatar

What tips do you have for finding an apartment in San Francisco?

Asked by malcolm.knapp (397points) July 22nd, 2007

I am looking for an apartment to share withing biking distance of the 4th and King Caltrain station. I have just moved to the area so I do not know the ins and and outs of San Francisco apartment hunting. Does anyone have any advice about the best way to get started.

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4 Answers

CptnKirk's avatar
You can find anything on there!
Go Giants!

occ's avatar

Craiglist is the best, but it can be very competitive to find a spot in an open house. San Francisco apartments are all rent stabilized, which means that landlords can't ever raise the rent more than the cost of living annual CPI increase, and usually that means less than 2%. So, it's significantly cheaper for you to move into a room in an already leased apartment , rather than getting your own place. What often happens is that apartments with open rooms will post on CraigsList and hold interviews or open houses. This is kind of like auditioning, because they get a LOT of applicants if the space is good. My tip is to go to lots and lots, the more the better, and try to not to get discouraged. If you are willing to bike to CalTrain, there are lots of neighborhoods worth considering. SOMA is closest but not that much fun (IMO). Think about the Mission or even the Lower Haight --I live in the lower haight and my roommate bikes to CalTrain with no problem.

The best thing to do is alert your friend networks--in person, through a mass email, on your friendster or myspace pages, etc. Personal ties will give you a big advantage over random craigslist people. Good luck! Also, if you are looking for a shared space, the market rate right now would put you around $750-850 for a room in a 3-4 bedroom. If it is a very old rent controlled place you can find as low as $550 but that will be competitive.

zina's avatar

craigslist is definitely the best (i found my apartments that way), as the others said. make sure to check out the neighborhoods well -- the downtown and surrounding areas often change block by block, with very different areas very close together, and without knowing you personally (your likes and dislikes, comfort zone) i would say just get to know the neighborhoods so you can figure out where you want to be. there are many options fairly bikeable to Caltrain: SOMA, anywhere along the water (embarcadero), financial district/union square, chinatown, inner mission, outer mission, potrero hill, upper market, lower haight, north beach, nob hill, and more. you can find a neighborhood map - like this one and as above, go to lots of places and meet lots of people. it's a time commitment but it will pay off!

my advice for craigslist hunting: start with postings about a week old to present. contact any that interest you. then check craigslist OFTEN (like every few/several hours) and write/call back to postings immediately - because many places are given by the order they were contacted, at least partially. if you really keep up with it you can find a place in a week or so, especially since you're looking at this time of year. if you do it less frequently or don't reply immediately the process can drag out over weeks and get really frustrating.

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