Apartments in Dothan are among the most affordable in the nation, with studios and 1BR units going for $400-$500. 2 and 3BR units are available for as low as $600 as well. The city’s official cost of living index is more than 12% lower than the national average, and even the handful of brand new apartment complexes in Dothan feature spacious (1000-plus square feet) units loaded with mega-amenities for less than $700. Jobs, meanwhile, aren’t exactly falling off of trees in Dothan (similar to pretty much every American city in the 21st century), but the city’s highly diversified economy (built around the manufacturing, aerospace, service, and agricultural industries) allows many leasers to stash away a pretty penny or two, even after paying their renting fees.
Your Apartment Scavenging Arsenal
Don’t worry about having to jump through hoops to score your dream pad, because renting in Dothan is easy as pie (and we all know how easy pie is, don’t we?). Just bring along proof of income and/or bank account info, a list of previous residences, and your checkbook so you can pay the modest security deposit many landlords require. There’s no such thing as a renting season in Dothan, and rates rarely fluctuate throughout the year, so don’t bother playing the waiting game to get the best deal.
Is It Just Me, Or Is It Ungodly Freaking Hot Out Here?
Nope, it’s not just you. Temperatures in Dothan from June through September frequently peek in the 100-degree range, causing tenants’ utility bills to spike during these months. When calculating your budget, remember to set aside an extra chunk of change for A/C bills. Even in basic studios and 1BR units, tenants typically spend at least an extra 50 bucks a month to keep their apartments from feeling like saunas.
Another cost you should factor into your budget is a renter’s insurance policy, which typically costs less than $20 a month. Southeastern Alabama is prone to tornadoes and intense thunderstorms that can inflict serious damage upon your humble abode, so we highly recommend at least a basic insurance policy to protect your valuable belongings, like that lava lamp from 1974 and that sweet Barcalounger recliner you found on the side of the road (really, it’s not gross at all, no matter what your friends tell you!).
It’s not “Old,” it’s “Distinguished”
Some flashy new apartments have sprouted up in recent years, but the majority of apartments in Dothan were built in the 1970s or earlier. Obviously, older units tend to have some warts and blemishes that newer properties don’t, so inspect your place carefully before moving anything in to make sure things are up to par. Check the pipes, sinks, and faucets for leaks and drips, test out all the utilities, appliances, fans, lights, etc., and examine the walls, floors, and ceilings for blemishes, water marks, cracks, etc. And most importantly, mark down even the most minor imperfection on your move-in checklist so you don’t get blamed for a preexisting flaw.
Start Your Engines
Public transit still doesn’t exist in Dothan, so you’ll need your own vehicle (or a Forrest Gump-like endurance to run from points A to B) to get around town. Because the city is so spread out, and because temperatures are so extreme in the summer months, biking or walking isn’t really a feasible option. Fortunately, traffic is minimal, although gridlock on State Route 210, aka “The Circle,” can get ugly during rush hour.
Dothan by Day
Daytime attractions in Dothan include a theme park, botanical gardens, a water park, and a variety of nature trails, museums, and golf courses (no wonder the retiree population continues to spike). The city is also home to a wide range of shopping hotspots and public art displays in the historic downtown area. The annual National Peanut Festival each November (more than half of America’s peanuts are grown within 100 miles of Dothan) features parades, nationally known recording artists, rides, a demolition derby, and pageants, and continues to attract thousands of legume enthusiasts. We guess there ain’t no party like a peanut party!
Shhhhh! Dothan is Sleeping …
If you’re a wild and crazy party animal looking to whoop it up after hours, you’re barking up the wrong tree in Dothan. Churches and strip malls outnumber watering holes, live music venues, and nightclubs about a gazillion to one, and it’s safe to say that 99% of the city is indoors and catching some zzzzzz’s by 10p.m., even on weekend nights. If you enjoy peace and quiet in lieu of hustle and bustle, you’ll likely fall in love with Dothan. If not, you might feel out of place in all of southeastern ‘Bama.
Final Thoughts: Picking Your ‘Hood
You won’t find much distinction between the different areas of Dothan, and crime rates are generally low throughout the city, but we still recommend visiting an area in advance to see if you’re comfortable with its vibes. Better safe than sorry, after all… speaking of which… Retirees, families, and peanut farmers aren’t the only demographics who dig Dothan. The area is a popular nesting place for Water Moccasin land snakes that like to set up shop in the damp parts of the city near lakes, ponds, and streams. Chances are, you won’t have a close encounter with any sort of fanged viper in Dothan, but we still strongly suggest you tread carefully (and never alone) if exploring the Great Outdoors in Peanut City.
Now it’s time for the fun part: scoring your dream dwellings in Dothan! Happy hunting and best of luck!
-By Kera Zacuto
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