The Lay of the Land
Tallahassee is home to a plethora of inviting stomping grounds, from oak tree-lined private ‘hoods boasting stately villas to cozy urban areas dotted with studios and student-oriented crash pads. As always, we recommend you visit any city in advance to get a feel for its vibes, but here’s a brief overview of Tallahassee’s topography to start you off on the right foot: Southwest Tallahassee. Swarming with nightlife, shops, and budget-friendly eateries, the city’s bustling southwestern district is within stumbling distance of FSU and a primo habitat for FSU students and staff. Compact 1BR units (often less than 500 square feet) can typically be found in the $500 range while 2, 3, and even 4-BR lofts and condos are available from anywhere between $600 and $1400, depending on amenities and size. Downtown. The capitol building, the Florida Supreme Court Building, and an array of local businesses are located in the bustling downtown area. Featuring mostly luxury lofts and condos, downtown Tallahassee is a popular choice for hip young urbanites, longtime Tallahassee tenants, and government workers. Apartments tend to be a bit pricier downtown, and even units for lone occupants typically cost more than a grand. Midtown. On downtown’s doorstep sits the Midtown area. Situated within earshot of downtown’s commerce and culture, this area is a popular choice for growing families and retirees alike. Typically not quite as pricey as downtown, Midtown rentals can usually be found for $800 or so, although some uber-lavish units often go for $1200 or more. The Best of the Rest. Want to give the old hoe a heave and live the rural life, or just kick back and enjoy your golden years? Try the northwestern neighborhoods, where rental homes and senior-friendly lodgings can be found amongst the area’s farmsteads for less than a grand. Starting a family? Northeast Tallahassee is the yin to the southwest’s yang and is every bit as family-friendly and serene as its southwestern counterpart is hectic. Plenty of other popular neighborhoods, including El Destinado, Centerville, and Lake Johnson offer their own perks and quirks, so you may want to check them out before finalizing a deal in Tallahassee.
Tips for Tomorrow’s Tallahassee Tenants
Whereas property owners dominate much of Florida, Tallahassee is a renter’s market, and nearly 12 percent more residents lease than own. Apartments, townhouses, duplexes, and other rental properties are usually available throughout most parts of town, and rent specials pop up frequently, but that’s not all you need to know about leasing in Florida’s capitol. Here are a few other tidbits of truth to help you live the high life in Tallahassee: Utilities are an alligator. In other words, they’re downright ugly in Tallahassee, where electric bills for many tenants run as high as $300 during the hottest months of the year (May through September). So when you’re calculating your renting budget, be sure to account for expenses like A/C, cable, water, trash, sewer, and phone bills, which often combine to cost more than $500 monthly. ** Be prepared. Standards for leasers differ depending on which part of town you’re looking into and which rental property you’re interested in. Generally, the apartments and freestanding houses near campus are more lenient in terms of renter requirements, while the lodgings downtown, midtown, and in the northeastern and northwestern sections are more stringent. If you’re looking for a short-term crash pad near campus, you’re likely to need only the first month’s deposit and proof of income, whereas property managers in other parts of town may require a positive rent/credit check and specific income requirements. **Scope it out. Especially in the areas of town dominated by college students, apartments turn over frequently, and property managers don’t always have the chance to do an in-depth inspection of a unit before it goes back on the market. So be sure to give your new pad the white-glove treatment before you settle in: Check the pipes, faucets, and sinks for leaks and drips and make sure the water pressure is up to par; examine the windows, walls, and doors for chips, cracks, and other deficiencies; make sure your appliances, showers, and toilets function properly. And, perhaps most importantly, make sure you’ve set up a primo area in your new pad to watch the Seminoles’ footballers roll over the rest of the ACC … And now, bold apartment hunter, you’re all set to start your search for the perfect pad. So welcome to the Sunshine State, and happy hunting!