How do you find an apartment while studying in the US?


Are you getting used to living in the U.S.? Or you might be thinking “I want to live alone in an apartment since I got used to being here!”  I believe there are many people who have wished to live alone in the U.S. someday since they were little by the influence of Hollywood movies or tv news.
However, many of you may be thinking, “How can I get an apartment in the US?” I am pretty sure many of them are struggling with how to contract and find the best room for them. 

I remember how difficult it was for me to find an apartment when I was studying in the U.S.!

So, today, I would like to introduce in detail “how to get an apartment contract in the U.S.”. I will also introduce some of the things I had trouble with and points to keep in mind when signing up for an apartment, so I hope you take a look!


How many types of housing are there in the U.S.?

To begin with, what are the different types of housing in the U.S.? Before we get into how to contract an apartment, let’s briefly take a look at American housing options.


It is no exaggeration to say that homestay is the most popular way to stay in the United States as an international student. Homestay is a great way to experience the culture and manners of the country you will be living in because you will be living with local people, which means you are required to get used to this country’s culture. In addition, since all meals and utilities are included in the price, it is the most cost-effective way to stay in the U.S. ( Price is around 900~1300 dollars per month ).In some cases, this can be less expensive than sharing a room in an apartment!

If you are studying abroad for the first time, I definitely recommend doing a homestay.

アメリカに留学する際に一番ポピュラーな滞在方法は「ホームステイ」だと思います。 アメリカ留学でのホームステイのメリット ✅現地の生活をリアルに知れ.....


If you are a student, the next most common way to stay is probably in a dormitory. Although the cost is a bit higher than a homestay, they are directly connected to the school and there are frequent parties with other students, so you can have a lot of fun.


This is also a great option for those who want their own private space and time. You can live alone in an apartment, or if you want to save money, you can consider sharing a room.Also, there are many different types of apartments, such as condominiums and studios, which may be confusing, but the difference is only in size and facilities, so you don’t need to worry about too much.

Next, I will show you how to find an apartment while studying in the U.S.!

5 useful services for finding an apartment in the U.S.

The best way to find an apartment in the U.S. is to search the Internet. So I’ll introduce you to the 5 most recommended sites and apps I’ve used.


This is the most useful service I used. Since you do everything yourself, you can negotiate the price and keep costs down.To do this, first, open Facebook and click on “Marketplace”.


Then click on “Property Rentals” from the category, or search for “apartments” or “housing” in the search.

Then, send a comment or message to the postings that you think are good, and ask for the dates and details of the viewings. It may be a bit of work, but you may be able to find a good property.

Note: As of November 2022, Facebook Marketplace is not available in Japan. The countries where it is currently available are

  • U.S.A.
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom

and other 50 countries. Please note that you cannot browse the site from Japan.

Click here for the official site!

This is an apartment search site with a wide range of listings throughout the United States. The site has a large number of listings and is very easy to use due to its user-friendly website.

You can filter the listings by region and price, so you will be able to find the apartment that suits you best.

Click here for the official site!

This site is also well-designed and intuitive.

You can filter by region and condition to find the perfect property for you!

Click here for the official site!


Like the other sites, this one also allows you to filter to find the right property for you.

This site also allows you to find an agent, so if this is your first time signing an apartment lease and you don’t feel confident about it, you can talk to advisors this is so friendly to the first user!

Click here for the official site!


The last site I will introduce is Craigslist. This is a very simple American message board. The key point is that you can find not only apartments, but also jobs, communities, and more.You can find an apartment that suits you based on location, price, etc.

Click here for the official site!

5 important points when signing an apartment contract in the US

Now that you know how to sign an apartment contract while studying in the U.S.. The next topic I would like to deal with is what points you should pay attention to when signing the contract. Here are 5 important points to keep in mind when signing an apartment contract.

Is the surrounding environment safe and appropriate?

First and foremost, check the security and environment of the surrounding area. Some places may be safe during the daytime, but suddenly become dangerous at night.It is a good idea to visit the area on your own feet, and also to check with people around you and your friends in the area to make sure that the area is really safe.

I had a local friend come with me when I was previewing the apartment, and we checked it out together!

Is the apartment furnished?

In the U.S., apartments with items of furniture are called “furnished apartments. Since the apartment is equipped with the minimum necessary facilities from the beginning, normally there is no need to purchase additional items.However, in some places, you may have to bring your own furniture like plates and pots and pans, or you may not have enough of what you need, so be careful not to miss out on those things.

Are utilities and internet included?

Basically, utilities and the internet are not included. Therefore, you will need to pay about $50~100 per month in addition to the rent. If it is only rent, it is cheaper than a homestay, but in the end, an apartment is more expensive considering the utility cost. It is possible that you may end up paying more for an apartment than for a homestay, so please be careful.

Are the kitchen and living room well cleaned?

Some apartments are very clean, but others are not. Also, many apartments are not cleaned well when it comes to room-sharing.You may be able to put up with it for the first week or so, but it will gradually become more and more stressful as you live in the apartment. So when choosing a property, it is a good idea to choose one that you are happy with.

There were times when the properties I previewed came with furniture and dishes, but they were incredibly dirty. I eventually gave up on that apartment because I wouldn’t put up with how dirty it was.

Characteristics of the owner and residents

When you sign a contract for an apartment, you will always have a conversation with the owner, but sometimes they can be quite rude to foreign students. Frequently, the price or conditions are different from the first offer.So be firm when negotiating with the owner and be careful not to accept absurd or inappropriate conditions.
It is also important to check the personalities of your neighbors and roommates. Some people party every week, which can keep you up at night…

What do you need to bring with you when signing an apartment contract in the U.S.?

The following five documents are required when signing an apartment contract in the U.S.

  • Passport
  • Visa and I-20
  • Proof of enrollment
  • Proof of balance
  • Social Security number (only if you have one)

Basically, these five documents are mandatory. However, even if you cannot prove sufficient money balance, you may be able to sign a contract by finding a co-signer in the U.S.

For more information, please read this article!

The process of signing an apartment contract in the U.S.

Once the necessary documents are gathered, the only thing left to do is to actually sign the apartment contract. The process of signing an apartment contract in the U.S. is as follows

    • Pick up an apartment you would like to view on the Internet.
    • After making actual contact, visit the property.
    • Talk to the manager and sign the contract.
    • Sign the contract and you are done!

The key point here is that you must pay a fee called a “deposit” before signing the contract. The deposit is like a security deposit and will be returned when you move out eventually unless you won’t break something while living in the apartment.

The average rent price for an apartment in the U.S.

Due to the current effects of inflation in the U.S., rents are rising every year.The average rent in Los Angeles, a popular destination for international students, costs over $2,000. Of course, this is average, and it is possible to find cheaper apartments than this, but the conditions are often quite difficult to find.


Conclusion: Homestay is the best choice.

As explained above, finding an apartment in the U.S. is becoming more and more difficult every year. In addition to the rising prices, it is very difficult to find an apartment.Therefore, my personal recommendation is to stay at a homestay. With a homestay, not only are food, utilities, and internet included in the price, but you can also learn English and the local culture. You can also save on fees by finding a homestay family on your own.

アメリカに留学する際に一番ポピュラーな滞在方法は「ホームステイ」だと思います。 アメリカ留学でのホームステイのメリット ✅現地の生活をリアルに知れ.....

It is also quite important to keep costs down while studying abroad. Even though a homestay is cheaper than an apartment, it still costs more than 1,000 dollars per month due to inflation. So, I have also compiled a list of ways to keep costs down while studying abroad here! 

アメリカ留学の費用を知りたい 生活費や学費が高いって聞くけど、何か節約する方法ってあるの? アメリカ留学中にお金を稼ぐ方法を教えて アメリカ留学を決意した方の中.....