House Searching 4 International Students

From my experience house searching is the pain in the neck, especially you don’t know anyone in the US. However, there are communities and the internet that make life a bit easy. There is no one perfect answer to the house searching because everyone situation is different base on the location and timing. The next concern is whether to look for the place to stay upon arrival or not.

Homestay Housing

Homestay housing is hosted by the American family to students and it is considered to be one of the safe environment while you are in the US.


  • Furnished private room with private bathroom/shared bathroom.
  • Option of two home cooked meals or access to the kitchen.
  • Gain knowledge of local and practice English.


  • Expensive.
  • Limited access to other part of the house.
  • No heavy cooking

However, this can be best choice to secure a place to upon arrival because homestay housing is done through agency, which is recommended by the school. It takes off the concern of fraud. There might be an option to stay for a short term and it is easier than apartment for breaking the lease before the agreement date.

Where: school website would have a separate page for homestay housing, which student can sign up for.

Self-Search Housing

The other option is to search for your own place on school community Facebook group or on website or mobile app. Craigslist is the most popular site to look for place to stay as well as buying and selling. The internet makes information available easily online as well as spam, therefore if it sounds too good to be true, then leave it. It is best that you are presented in the states because it is safe for both side (the landlord and tenant). There are two options to rent a room from a family or share apartment.

  • Family housing – is cheaper and flexible lease terms than apartment. Utilities and internet is often included with the rent. It is normally private room or share living room. The downsides are the old housing and bad environment like small kids or no visitor rules.
  • Apartment – is more expensive and fix lease terms. It is necessary to have someone remain on the lease all the time because of the change in occupancy rule. Utilities and internet are divided among the tenants. Tenants need to fill out some paper work like proof of income and the minimum combined income to the apartment. There is no strict housing rules, which can be a headache because your housemate might bring visitors non-stop. You are on own when there is bad things happen and you might end up kick out before the term.

The cost of moving in is vary from one place to the other as well as from state to state. Some places requires first month and last month rent plus deposit. While most apartment requires deposit of one month rent, which returnable upon the end of the lease. It is best to have a budge of two thousand to three thousand for moving.


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