I am trying to find an apartment in a city across the country in the U.S., before moving there. I am unable to see the apartment/roommates in person before moving, because I am trying to leave my abusive family and can't let on to them that I am leaving (Here
is that backstory.). So, I will be doing the one-way ticket plan. I am having difficulty finding an apartment without seeing it first, as people prefer to meet potential roommates in person and when I mention to them that I can't see it in person (and suggest Skyping or videochatting to meet each other/see the apartment) I have had limited success so far and am wondering if I am coming across as a Craigslist creep. Is this the right strategy? Is it a numbers game, and I should just keep trying? Or, should I just fly there first and then find a place? Thanks for any advice.
posted by new_horizons_new_life to travel & transportation (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks once again for everyone's helpful suggestions about my last question (linked above the fold). I decided to get a sock puppet so that I could continue to post questions about this.
I have moved most of my things to storage, and while I am in the process of packing things up (without my family's suspicion) I decided to go ahead and see what the apartment listings on Craigslist would be like and familiarize myself with the process. I've gotten responses from about 1/3 of the 30+ people I've contacted, and most of them have been very friendly despite the distance of where I'm relocating from (2,000 miles away). However, only 2 of the people I've contacted have been okay with videochatting before in lieu of meeting/seeing the apartment in person, and I ended up not getting those places because there were others in town who were able to move before me, as I don't have everything packed yet.
I calculated costs, and it seems like it would save me at least $1000 to drive to the local UPS or Greyhound offices and drop off my items before I fly to the city I want to move to, versus paying a mover to move my things from storage to the city. I suppose the mover costs much more because it is 2,000 miles of fuel, and I hope I researched the quote correctly. So, I was thinking that it would be in my best financial interest to find a place before moving there, relying on videochatting to see the roommates/place. I also have some unique plants that I would love to take with me, and don't have anyone to ship it to me, so I was thinking after I found a place I could mail them right before I leave. (I love my plants, and would hope to keep them, but I suppose I may have to give them away if it comes down to it.)
Do you think it is a good idea to get a place before traveling there, given the financial benefit, despite the limited success rate I've had, and any safety concerns? Or do you think I should just bite the bullet and get a place once I get there while couchsurfing or hostelling and pay the extra $1000 for the mover to send my things?
I was hoping to live with roommates to have more social interaction in a new city and save money (as ideally I want to spend under $600/mo on rent, which is available in this city with roommates), but I could afford slightly more money (up to $800/mo) for a studio for two years, in case I am unable to find roommates. However, as I don't view moving back home an option should I be unable to find a job and run out of money, I would like to save as much money as I can and thus would prefer roommates. Do you think I should gravitate towards roommates or try to find a studio?
The city I want to move to is 2,000 miles away. It will save me $1000 to ship via UPS/Greyhound if I find an apartment and mail my items at local shipping offices before leaving. But finding a place without being there has been met without much success on Craigslist, and I wonder if I come across as creepy when I say I can't see it in person but would be able to videochat to see the place/meet in lieu of being there in person. And I wonder if it is safe for me to get an apartment without being there in person, despite any Skyping.
-Should I get a place before moving there, or after, and therefore pay the extra $1000 for movers to drive to my new city?
-Should I get roommates, or get a studio instead, since I can afford it (for 2 years) if I am unable to find roommates?
-Any suggestions on the plant issue?
Thank you once again for any advice you may have. It is really helpful, as I am a bit confused. Feel free to ask for any further clarifications.