Style and Price
With a high amount of renters, you’ve got a lot of options as far as both price and style go. Since families make up a large part of the population, stand-alone rental houses dominate the market. These can be very spacious and historic, or new-construction and modern (the latter more toward the center of the city where new growth is). Town homes and smaller 2-and 3-flat apartment buildings that are house-like run a close second in popularity. There are certainly larger apartment complexes in many areas, though they aren’t as abundant, especially in the suburban homeowner areas. Rent ranges from the $600s up to the mid-$1000s depending on where you’re looking, and that’s for all types of housing.
Utilities and Amenities
The amount you can expect to pay for utilities depends entirely on what type of place you’re renting. With houses and townhouses, it’s rare to get a place with any utilities included, and you’re likely to have a yard, garage, or more space. In apartments you’re more likely to find a place with many or all utilities included, as well as amenities and laundry room facilities (especially in larger complexes).
Fees and Extras
Finding a pet friendly apartment is not difficult in Joliet. Many rentals accept pets with a small deposit. Another potential fee to work into your budget is for an application and credit check, which many places ask for, and is non-refundable. In some low-income areas of Joliet, though, this isn’t always customary, and getting approved for a rental is quicker and cheaper. Be smart and always do your research, but never sacrifice your own feelings of safety for a good deal.
Where and How to look
Really, your best bet for finding a place in Joliet is this site and other online rental resources, second only to a walk through your desired neighborhood to write down numbers.
Drawn and Quartered
Joliet doesn’t have any officially recognized neighborhoods, like many places, but it does have some main divisions that are used by citizens and apartment hunters, alike. The Des Plaines River provides a natural East-West split to the city. All things considered, the West side is thought to be the more affluent (and more expensive), neck of the woods as it has undergone a huge expansion in the past few decades. While the East side can get a little sketchier in some areas, it is by no means the “bad half” of the city.
Downtown: Once going through hard times, downtown is actually becoming one of the nicer areas, seeing re-growth and local revitalization. It’s certainly the biggest area for visitors, with two casinos, a baseball stadium, and the historic Rialto Square Theatre, among other things. This is the main area of the city, with the most ease of movement for public transit commuters (Joliet Union Station and buses are located here). Quite a few apartments are new construction and will be more modern. Crime is highest in this area however, so be aware. Or just get some sweet karate moves. Either one works.
West Side: The area west of the river has seen a significant amount of growth recently. As people migrated, they pushed a lot of shopping from the downtown area and expanded the city further west. On the west side, you’re more likely to find strip malls and shopping centers that cater to the “middle class suburban family” lifestyle. This part of Joliet, statistically, has lower crime and bigger houses that are a little more expensive, but still affordable.
Far West Side: Further west of the west side, rentals are scarcer. This is a more rural area, especially due west and south, where houses and properties are larger, separated by farms and fields. The northern portion of the far west side is popular with higher income families who have school-aged children because of its proximity to schools in bordering cities. There’s a lot of talk about the schools in Joliet, and which schools are better than others, as they tend to differ greatly. Some choose to live straddling the border and bypass Joliet’s school system altogether. It’s really up to you to do your research and decide which is best.
East Side: Variety is what you’ll find on the east side. Clusters of tree-lined streets and cheap little bungalows are sprinkled about, but some parts can get a little iffy. Crime is higher in portions of the east side, and rents lower. Smaller apartment buildings and complexes are more plentiful here, while further out of the city gets greener and woodsier. Since the east side isn’t as expansive as the west, things go from urban to suburban to rural a lot quicker than you’d expect, so don’t panic too much.
A Well-Connected City
Joliet is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Illinois, and the fourth largest by population. It’s a hop, a skip, and a jump away (read: about an hour and a half) from Chicago via both Amtrak train and two Metra commuter rail lines, making an easy dash to the big city for work or a shopping spree. That is, when you’re not busy with all Joliet has to offer. Multiple PACE buses run through downtown six days a week for local transportation. Be aware, all you drivers, that traffic going in and out of town can be very frustrating, especially at rush hour. Perhaps you should reconsider loading your mp3 player with those calming whale calls after all.
While Joliet holds such prestigious titles as the disputed birthplace of the card game “Uno” and the site of the first Dairy Queen Drive-in, its most recognized landmark is the (now shuttered) Joliet Correctional Center, which was featured in the opening scene of the Chicago film staple The Blues Brothers. Apart from occasionally housing “Joliet” Jake Blues and being built by locally manufactured limestone, it stands as a monument to Joliet’s regional importance and checkered yet intriguing past.
There you have it, your guide to Joliet living. So, where do you go from here? Simple: Find some housing! If you expected “get the band back together,” to be our answer, we’re deeply sorry, however it is about that time to get shuffling on over here! Happy hunting! Please refrain from sending us your demo tapes if you actually got the band back together, though. We’re sure it’s great.
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