Are apartments readily available? What should I know before signing a lease?
Generally, yes, apartments are easy enough to find in Huntsville (renters make up 35 percent of the population), although availability differs from ‘hood to ‘hood. Certain neighborhoods (Meadow Mills, Meridianville, Chapman Heights) consist almost entirely of single-family, mortgaged homes, while residents of other areas (Northside Acres, Greenwycke Village) move so infrequently that rental units rarely become available.
The good news is, there’s a revolving door of tenants at many Huntsville apartment complexes. Waiting lists are nearly unheard of throughout much of the city, and most landlords offer both long-term and month-to-month leases.
When you’re ready to sign a lease, make sure you bring along the basics, including identification, rental history, proof of income, and banking info.
Also, don’t blow off the move-in checklist that most landlords in Huntsville ask leasers to fill out. Because the turnover rate at many properties is high, apartment managers don’t always have the chance to make sure every nook and cranny of your new pad is up to par. Make a note of any imperfection you notice (no matter how minor!), as you don’t want to lose your deposit over a blemish that was already there before you moved in.
So which neighborhood is right for me?
Harvest: The Harvest neighborhood in the city’s northeast quadrant is a popular pick. The area is walker-friendly, and serves up plenty of medium-sized, single family homes for rent in the $600-$700 range.
Jones Valley Estate: It’s mostly grandiose single family homes in this tranquil, scenic ‘hood. A few apartments and high rises are available as well. Homes are sometimes available for rent as well; just don’t plan to spend less than $3,000.
Whiteburg Estates: Apartments and condos generally go in the $700-$800 range and many units rank among the most spacious in Huntsville.
Willowbrook: Prices on lofts and apartments can be found in the $900-$1100 range.
West Huntsville: Apartment seekers with limited budgets can find a surplus of available apartments in West Huntsville. More than 20 percent of West Huntsville properties are vacant, and apartments can often be scored for less than 4 bills.
What about public transportation? And how’s the traffic situation?
What public transportation? And what traffic?
Huntsville is quite the anomaly in one regard: virtually all residents (97 percent) commute to work via car each morning, yet traffic is practically nonexistent. Parking is rarely a problem, either, and commuters average a meager 18-minute drive to work each morning.
Unfortunately, public transportation is simply impractical in Huntsville, where shopping centers, banks, restaurants, and offices are so spread out that your only viable option is the good ole’ gas guzzler. Many parts of town lack adequate sidewalks as well, so plan your running routes accordingly.
How’s the nightlife?
There are a few hotspots, live music joints, and theater/concert venues.
For those who prefer fun in the sun rather than madness under the moon, however, you won’t be disappointed. Huntsville boasts a variety of museums (U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum, most notably), parks, rec centers, minor-league sports franchises, arts festivals, and golf courses.
Best of luck, and happy hunting in Huntsville!
-By Kera Zacuto
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