Where to Begin the Search

The Housing Search 101 presentation is a great place to start if you're not sure where to begin with your off-campus living search. 

Housing Search 101 Presentation

The sub-pages under this page are also great places to start or to go after this presentation:

  • The Rent, Budget, and Credit Page will help you start to think about all things finances from budgeting to financial information needed within the rental process. 
  • The How to Begin the Search page gives you some basic information on what the San Francisco housing market is like, what steps to take next, and what financial information to get in order. 
  • The How to Begin the Search When Not in SF page is information and advice for our students coming from other states who're looking for off-campus housing. 
  • The How to Begin the Search as an International Student page is information and advice for our students coming from other countries who're looking for off-campus housing.


Neighborhood Map

Neighborhood Map

Territory Acknowledgement 

“The Ramaytush (pronounced rah-my-toosh) are the only original people of the San Francisco Peninsula. In the baptismal records of Mission Dolores, Aramay referred specifically to the area containing the villages of Timigtac and Pruristac. The term Ramaytush became a linguistic designation for a dialect of the Costanoan language that was spoken by the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. Most descendants of the indigenous groups of the San Francisco Bay Area, however, refer to themselves as Ohlone while a few others use Costanoan.

The title Ramaytush Ohlone recognizes the Ramaytush as a part of a larger group of the Ohlone/Costanoan peoples who lived in the area of the San Francisco Bay south to Monterey. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1769, the Ramaytush Ohlone numbered approximately 1400 persons and lived in eleven tribelets. ” - Native-Land.ca

Below are a list of neighborhoods close to USF which house the majority of our off campus students:

  • Outer Richmond
  • Inner Richmond
  • Outer Sunset
  • Inner Sunset
  • Cole Valley
  • Laurel Heights

SF Housing Culture

San Francisco has character, style and personality. SF Housing seems to run on its' own system most of the time. With that said, let's try to break it down: 

  • We typically rent 30 days ahead of time. Meaning, if you are looking in May for a place in August, you probably aren't going to find any listings for your ideal move-in date. People often panic because they can't find anything for the month they want to move in, but housing moves so quickly in SF, so there is no need to worry. Plan on researching two months before, and actually looking for viable places to live a month before your desired move-in date. If you decide to reach out about properties well before this 30-day range, be prepared for the property manager to want a move-in date/ lease start earlier than you originally wanted. 
  • The style of San Francisco homes are older and come with history. Some homes may or may not have been remodeled recently. Amenities such as dishwashers or central heat are not the norm in the city. The idea of a private bathroom is also not common in the area. 
  • Landlords in the city tend to be 3-generation homeowners who are looking to rent out their investment as an add-on job. There are also owners who make this their top priority and are very involved with the process. There are pros and cons to each. Get a sense of the person and situation, then decide what is right for you

Average Cost for a 1 Bedroom Apartment

Average 1 Bedroom Cost


  • Landlord: The person who owns and/or rents you the property
  • Tenant/Renter: You, the person who stays and uses the property
  • Rent: What you pay to live in a property
  • Lease: Your agreement with the landlord
  • Deposit: The money you pay if you damage the property when you leave. The deposit is paid before you move in. 
  • Rent Control: Laws in SF designating how much rent can be raised. See the SF Rent Board for more information.