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Fremont’s known for having a number of nice neighborhoods and school districts, a variety of secure and attractive apartment complexes, some great natural scenery, plenty of ethnic diversity (including the highest concentrated Afghan population in the country and large Asian and Hispanic populations), and relatively easy highway, bus and train access to San Francisco, San Jose and the Silicon Valley. On the down side, Fremont, like the rest of the Bay Area, is also a very expensive place to live. Everything from apartment rental rates to groceries and utilities are quite pricey in Fremont, though not quite as expensive as they are in nearby San Francisco, Oakland or San Jose. Even during the winter a standard electric bill for a two bedroom apartment in Fremont can run you around $175-$225 a month. Also, Fremont has one of the highest gang-related crime rates in the country, little in the way of local shopping, limited dining out options and some rather ugly traffic during rush hours.
Finding an apartment in Fremont shouldn’t prove to be an incredibly difficult task. It’s the kind of city you can move to during pretty much any time of the year with relative ease and there’s no particular peak season when it’s especially easy or difficult to rent an apartment. However, do plan on paying a hefty monthly rent for a decent apartment. Expect to pay around $1500.00 to $1700.00 a month for a one bedroom apartment and at least $1750.00 for a quality two bedroom apartment. While these prices might seem high (which they are), keep in mind that most of the complexes also offer pool access, secure parking, on-site exercise facilities and security and the possibility of catching sight of and maybe making conversation with M.C. Hammer while you’re out shopping for groceries.
In terms of where to live in Fremont, it’s generally best to stick to the Niles District, the Bay Side District, the North Fremont District or the Central District. Many of the apartment complexes in the other districts – particularly the South Fremont District, the Warm Springs District and the Centerville District - are known for being over-priced, slummy and sometimes dangerous. While you can get a one-bedroom for as low as $900 in those areas, the apartment complexes around there are notoriously rundown and poorly managed, while the crime rates are quite high compared to the rest of the city.
Using an apartment locating service is certainly recommended for finding an apartment in Fremont. While the service will cost you at least a hundred dollars, an apartment locating service will help you navigate the sometimes challenging process of applying for an apartment in a large complex and assist you with finding the perfect match for your lifestyle and income. When signing your lease, be prepared to put down first and last month’s rent, a $35.00 to $50.00 application fee, a security deposit that will equal a month of rent and, if you have pets, a $250.00 per pet (and that will be for a small pet, finding apartment housing if you have any dogs over 25 lbs. will be a bit more difficult, though some of the complexes will simply negotiate or require a higher pet deposit rate for larger animals) deposit before you sign your lease. Also, you’re going to need a few good past housing references and a fair to good credit history (or a cosigner with such) in order to lease an apartment in a decent complex or community. If you spend some time on Craigslist or other local online classifieds you might be able to find a less expensive and easier to obtain apartment or room in a large house or smaller apartment community. However, provided you can afford it, moving into one of the larger apartment complexes will probably be your best option. Be sure to secure your apartment at least a month or two before moving to the city. Many of the larger apartment complexes will take at least a week or two to process a lease agreement and another couple of weeks after that to assign and prepare your apartment.
So, once again, congratulations on your upcoming move to Fremont. If you happen to run into M.C. Hammer while you’re getting settled – we’re told he tends to spend his winters and summers in the Niles District area – feel free to tell him that some of us still remember that he is, indeed, “too legit to quit.”
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