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How to find a great place to live
How I did it: I did a lot of looking online, but finally ended up engaging a realtor at the suggestion of a friend. She was awesome - very patient and tolerant of my highly picky criteria. The lease begins 1/15 and the place is well maintained, well laid out, and in a convenient location. Hooray!
Lessons & tips: Be patient. Know your essentials vs. your "nice to have" before you head out, so you don't waste your time. Look every day until you find the "just right" spot!
Resources: Use online resources like Google street view, http://www.epa.gov/enviro/wme/ which shows nearby toxic waste, flood zones, etc. to narrow down your search before you head out to see it face to face.