So, here I am finishing my second year at Cornell and I am deep into my third apartment search. Finding an apartment can be fun, but it can also be super stressful, so starting early is always a good idea. I am not an expert, but I have done enough hours of research on apartments to give you some general tips. (The tips are more directed at grad students, since its my grad perspective, but it could be helpful for upper-class undergrads too!
1. Do you want to live on campus? This is probably the easiest and simplest option. I have known people to do this in their first year, since they don’t know the area and want to be on campus. The grad school dorms are apartment style and can be furnished if necessary. If you decide to live on campus then you can stop here!
2. How close do you want to be to campus? The majority of grad students live in these general areas: the Ithaca Commons, Fall Creek, Cayuga Heights, East Hill, South Hill, or Lansing. I would say South Hill is mostly Ithaca College students. There are others options too that will be cheaper but farther out, like Trumansburg and Varna. I would say fewer people live that far out though.
3. Do you want pets? Having pets can really limit your housing search, but there are places around, especially with the Vet students here in Ithaca. This is one of those things though that you have to think about before choosing an apt.
4. Figure out if you want roommates. If you want roommates there are few ways you can go with this. You can search on craigslist. You can contact your grad program. You can also use the Cornell off-campus housing listserv to look for roommates. What is good about the listserv is that it is free for students, so other students who already have an apt often post on there looking for roommates. If you decide you don’t want roommates and want to live alone that’s where it can get tricky.
5. Find a one-bedroom apt! This is where things can get tricky. There are plenty of one-bedroom apartments around, but depending on what your priorities are, it can take time to find one that fits your desires and your budget. There are studios and one-bedrooms and apartments that are made out of a separated house. Then, there are complexes.
Some of the pros to a complex when you are first moving here is that they normally have many pictures online and have a lot of availability around the start of the semester. You also know that there will be winter maintenance.
Many of the complexes are owned by Solomon Organization: Here are a list of the one owned by them. Then theres complexes owned by Travis Hyde. There are several other complexes too. These were ones I looked at and have friends who live in them.
You can also find some apartments from smaller, lesser known complexes or those that are located in people’s houses, like the basement, or above the garage. (A lot of these are listed on Craigslist.)
Ultimately, finding a great apartment can take some time and research, but is very doable in Ithaca!