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I have secured my dorm through the lottery already. I will get possession about 5 days before orientation, though. I am considering arriving maybe 10 - 15 days before that, but I'd need to pay for a hotel.
Yeah, we want to start a lease on Aug 1, and basically, my main issue is deciding when I should come down to look at places. I've heard conflicting things. Some people have advised coming down in early June, because landlords will know they have a place opening up for the fall and thus are trying to lock down tenants as early as possible. Thus, landlords will advertise in June for an Aug 1 start date.
Other people recommend coming down in early July, because landlords usually only advertise their place if it is currently available. So if we came down before July 1, nearly all of the places would be for July 1 start dates, which is no good. If we came down after July 1, the advertised places would be for Aug 1 start dates, which is what we want.
Looking now - went to Charlottesville this week and probably have to go back next week. I ended up putting a deposit down on a place that is probably too pricey. Trying to find a place closer to school and I have some that look decent right now - a lot of stuff at UVA is already gone though.
I am considering arriving maybe 10 - 15 days before that, but I'd need to pay for a hotel.
That gets pretty expensive unless you can find a Motel 6 somewhere on the outskirts of the city. I stayed at a Motel 6 on my last stopover in Salt Lake City and it was surprisingly clean, not to mention a rock bottom price of $49 a night. If you aren't too picky about in-room ammenities, that7s probably a good option.
I actually just secured my apartment in Nashville sight unseen. It's a scary proposition, but the worst i've heard about the place is that it's a bit overpriced.
The apartment is right across the street from campus, which works great for me as I have sold my car and plan to walk to and from school. There is also a 24 hour gym which will be great for me as I am guessing my schedule will be quite hectic.