Subletting For A Summer Internship 2016: A How-To Starter Kit

You’ve applied for months and have had dozens of emails, calls, awkward video calls with no pants on, and you’ve done it — you’ve got your dream internship in a city that’s not quite your own yet. Whether it’s at the top cupcake bakery, Google (where they hire 1500 interns out of 40,000 applicants), or a 3d printing creative agency, a feeling of accomplishment rushes over you only to be gone faster than free slices of pizza on a college campus — “Where the hell will I live?”

You’ve heard of the crazy apartment search and living situation in <literally insert any city here> and your mind starts racing. Obviously at the end of the internship you’d love to secure full time employment, but what if it doesn’t work out and you want to retreat home while you figure out your next move? A new city is as much on trial for you as you are in your company’s internship. That’s why a short term, summer sublet is probably a great move for you.

Here’s five steps towards the ultimate summer sublet.

1. Sizing Up The Whereabouts Of Your New Job

When it comes to what part of town your dream internship is in, you don’t exactly get to say. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes. Although that’s plenty of good time to catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read, wouldn’t you rather reduce your commute to the place you’re going to be spending most of your day to? Nothing worse than having to work late into the evening and then having to commute 50 minutes on train only to get home and finally eat dinner at 10pm. Yuck.

Reach out to the person that offered you the position, or whoever your friendly contact is there, and ask them where they recommend living based on where the office is, especially if you’re really unfamiliar with the city. They might tell you ‘just stay on the east side’ or ‘you wouldn’t expect this, but this is a good option.’ They should give you a really good idea about where to look and where to avoid when it comes to your daily commute. If you want to get a good idea of what the average commute is in an area you’re interested in, use this pretty amazing tool that we found from WNYC.

2. Get Your Money Right

Qapital in action.

Figuring out how much you can spend on your living situation is a crucial part of this process. Assess your personal finances and see what you have to work with. Maybe you’ve been doing some freelance work or a side job making tips, trying to save up for the big move that you hope will be permanent. With all the costs of changing your lifestyle, things could add up fast.

First, is the apartment costs. MyFirstApartment.com polled their users and found that the average amount of money people needed before they moved is $3000, upfront. Remember that even if you land a sublet that seems affordable and within your budget, it’s reported that the average unit’s utilities can be well over $200 a month. Between all of that and things like cell phone bills and gym fees, you’re going to need to be budgeting and saving more than ever.

One tool we really love to help us save for certain events in our life is Qapital. Qapital is a banking app that makes it easy for you to create multiple things you are aiming to save for (new bedsheets, movers, or new computer) and set it to automatically deduct on a set basis, all while helping you improve upon your daily spending habits. Best of all? Your friends and family can help contribute to your goals along the way (thanks Mom!).

Another awesome service is Affirm, which lets you buy things you need from regular merchants and pay in installments over time.

Once you’ve figured out what you have to work with financially, you can use to Flip to find the perfect sublet or a lease with a few months left on it. You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about being approved for apartments before. Many landlords have a lot of different requirements, from big to small, and you never really know what they might require of you, specifically. Since they are all different, Flip has created the Flip Report, allowing us to easily prequalify you by the most common landlord standards. It’s super easy, convenient, and the best part is that once you’ve done it, you’re good to go to express your interest in any sublet posted on Flip.

3. The Search For The Holy Sublet

If you’ve read up until this point and have no idea what a sublet is, well, that’s kind of insane, but we’ll break it down for you. Simply put, a sublet means that the original holder of the lease offers the apartment — or, subleases the apartment — to a third party, which, in this scenario, is you. If you know that you’re only going to need an apartment for the summer, then finding a landlord-approved, sublet is a really great option for you. A lot of sublets can also be found furnished or semi-furnished, making it even more appealing to you.

With your ideal locations, your wad of cash, and your Flip Report in tow, it’s time to go to sublet.com.

Just kidding. While sublet.com is a fine website and you should totally check it out, you should also look at Airbnb if you want a short term furnished situation and Flip if you want to do a legal sublet. From huge photographs to detailed listings, we have tried to make sure each and every lease listing on Flip describes everything about the place. However, if you really like a place but want to know something that you don’t see called out, you can easily message the user, straight from the listing, and start a conversation with them. After all, they’re human, just like you, and want to make it easy on both sides.

4. Mapping Out Your Neighborhood Remotely

You’re so excited about going into a new city — and you should be. Your whole world will open up to new favorite coffee shops and burrito spots. But there’s more to your ‘hood then who has the best triple maple latte. Now that you’ve found your new summer spot, it’s time to do a little pre-work and make a list of the things that would be great to know beforehand. Use apps like Yelp, Foursquare, or even take remote walks with Google Maps Street View, to find some of the most interesting and useful things about your new neighborhood. We recommend the following checklist:

  • Nearest bar that fits your own style (just getting this one out of the way)
  • Nearest Laundromat for washing your t-shirt collection
  • Best Coffee Shop for the morning commute or the lazy weekend mornings
  • The solid neighborhood grocery store that’s not the most expensive and not the cheapest, either.
  • Closest Bus Stop
  • Closest Subway Stop (if applicable)
  • Alternate Subway Stop for when your primary one has failed you (if applicable)
  • A go-to late night grub spot of your choosing (for when you need/want a slice)
  • A local park or gym in your budget range that you can work out at

5. Packing Up and Moving Your Life

You’ve got your summer all lined up. Your dream internship, an amazing sublet that you scored on Flip that’s in a hip neighborhood and across from a wine bar with a secret empanada spot hidden in the cellar. But how do you get there? What will you bring…and not bring? Do you get rid of everything and start fresh?

According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of an intrastate move is $1,170, and the average move between states costs $5,630. Ouch. We would recommend that you go light. With your dreams of sticking around after the summer is over, you won’t want to spend a ton of money moving a ton of things to your sublet, only to want to get a place of your own or with roommates in the fall (you can do both with Flip, too), and be stuck in a situation where you have to move it all again or downsize because things won’t fit. This is a fresh start, in every sense of the word, so even though you are really attached to that La-Z-Boy you found on a curb two years ago, it’s probably best you release it back into the wild for someone new to enjoy.

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