2 Ways to Use Craigslist to Find a Cheap Place


So you've just signed up to live for a whole YEAR at poverty level AND you might have even been crazy enough to move to a new city to do this. You're (hopefully!) excited to start your work as a DASCorps member building the capacity of your organization.

But what if you haven't found a place to live yet? If you've just started your VISTA year in a new city, your housing should be a top priority. It's hard to do good work if you're constantly wondering where you're going to live.

In this post, I'll cover 5 tips/tools for rocking finding a place to live. Read on to begin the rocking.

1) craigslist

well duh. Craigslist is almost a given. For the uninitiated, craigslist is an awesome online classifieds service originally founded in San Francisco. It has since been replicated in major metropolitan cities around the world and is used by millions of people each day for finding housing, cars, romance and just about any other things humans can share with each other.

TIP: one of the most under utilized features of craiglist is their search-based RSS feed. *Setting one up is easy:

  1. Click on the 'apts/housing' section (or whatever housing situation you are looking for) and enter in your search terms.
  2. Click "Search"
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the RSS link. You can either subscribe this link in your RSS reader (like Bloglines or Google Reader) or simply add it as a bookmark to your browser bookmark toolbar (see the image above for how it looks in Firefox 3 for the Mac).

*A more detailed tutorial of this process can be found on the Get Rich Slowly blog.

2) housingmaps.com

This one is sweet. Google maps + craigslist. If you've just moved to a new city, chances you are not really sure where everything is just yet. When you look for housing on craigslist, the names of the neighborhoods may be irrelevant to you because you don't know where these neighborhoods are in relation to you. Housingmaps.com fixes that.

It has the built in housing search/filtering of craigslist (price ranges, number of rooms, pictures, location) + the marker functionality of Google maps. These two put together allow you to filter the markers that appear on a map to fine tune your search.

Maybe you might get ideas for how Google maps could be used at your organization?

3) listpic

Yet another awesome way that craigslist is being used to help people find things. This lets you browse craigslist visually, so you can see what these places look like.

However, some things to consider: 1) it ONLY searches posts with an image. This may limit what comes up. 2) conversely, by showing ONLY the places with images, it COULD save you some time trekking to the place only to find that it's not agreeable to where you want to live during your VISTA year.

Speaking of trekking, you DID ask your org if they could help out with public transportation, right? We at the Transmission Project encourage you to ask your org about any resources you may need during your year. Living on the meager stipend that AmeriCorps mandates can be tough. Don't make it any harder on yourself by getting burned out trekking across town to run errands, look for housing, let alone get to work.