So, you’re accepted — Congratulations, you’re moving to Davis!
Finding a place to live in or around UC Davis is not necessarily the easiest task. To begin, leases for Fall are signed in January or February of the same year, so things can fill up quickly. While there are plenty of places to live, price, quality, and neighborhood vary tremendously. While I will not say that one particular area is better than another because everything is a matter of opinion, what I will do is offer some advice and give my opinion.
Things to Consider…
- Live Alone or With Roommate(s)? I live alone and I love it. It’s not because I’m antisocial or can’t live with other people, I definitely can and have. I decided to live alone because I didn’t know anyone that was going to be at Davis and I didn’t want to start living with someone I didn’t know. (I mean, you wouldn’t just move in immediately with someone you found on an online dating site, would you? Not without meeting them and getting to know them, at least.) While there are roommate situations that have survived first year, many of the people I know are changing their living situation next year (finding new roommates or living alone). With that being said, one bedroom apartments are seemingly scarce in Davis. I ended up living in a 2-bedroom unit but at a cheaper price than most other 2-bedroom units in Davis. I can’t complain — I have extra space for when family or friends come in from out of town.
- Pets? If you are bringing pets with you to Davis, this is a major factor in deciding where to live. Most dogs don’t do well in apartments (though some do, you just need to know your dog). If you have a dog, you may want to look into renting a house either alone or with roommates so as to provide your pooch with some outdoor space. Of course, keep in mind that many places will have limitations on breeds, size/weight, and number of animals. Apartments and houses that accept cats are much more ubiquitous. Again, many apartments cap you off at 2 cats, but oftentimes they don’t check. Keep in mind also, that pets will often require an extra (and in some cases hefty) security deposit.
- North Davis, South Davis, East Davis, West Davis, Downtown Davis, Woodland, Dixon, Sacramento? There are many places to live in and around Davis. Where you choose to live will depend on you. Most people I know live in Davis while there are a bunch that live in Woodland and a few that live as far as Sacramento or Vacaville. While some of these locations will mean considerably cheaper rent, the extra time spent commuting might be a factor to consider. You are likely to be in school 9-5 each day, and often on weekends to study for exams. In and around Davis, this is what I’ve heard: Downtown can be a bit noisy and filled with rowdy undergrads, South Davis is also busy with undergrads but also close to supermarkets and lots of fast food, West Davis is quiet, mostly graduate students and families. While there is the Westlake Plaza which recently acquired a grocery store that offers 5% discount to students, there isn’t a lot going on.
- Price. How much you can afford is greatly dependent on, well, you! Some people have extra income from spouse, parents, etc. Others are on their own. Whatever your situation, try to create a budget to determine what you can afford. UC Davis estimates tuition and other expenses but remember that these are estimates for 9-10 months of living — they do not take into account the summer!
Overall, Davis Wiki is probably your best friend for looking at housing. People post comments regarding their experiences at various apartment complexes or with respect to certain management companies. If I think of anything else I will be sure to add it.
Good luck in your search for housing!