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City Guide
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Hey there, all you crazy Crimson Tiders, and welcome to the command center for your Tuscaloosa apartment hunting escapades! Serving as the industrial and commercial hub of western Alabama, Tuscaloosa boasts a variety of attractions and amenities. Apartments run the gamut from crash pads to lofts and spacious condos, so you will find no shortage of attractive rentals. But before packing up your gear and heading on down to sweet home Alabama in search of your dream dwellings, take a moment to review these 10 simple tips to ensure you’ll be hollering “Roll Tide!” with the best of them in no time at all …

1. Choose your stomping grounds.

Apartments are plentiful in every area of Tuscaloosa, and many offer similar amenities, so target your neighborhood first and your apartment second.

2. Determine your budget.

This is an obvious enough task, but something to keep in mind when calculating your monthly expenses is that Tuscaloosa is hot and humid from roughly late April through early October, meaning tenants inevitably rack up some steep A/C bills during these months ($80-$120 a month, depending on just how arctic you prefer your temperatures).

3. Arm yourself.

With credentials, that is. Apartment managers in Tuscaloosa typically require a good faith move-in deposit (usually equivalent to the first month’s rent) as well as proof of income and banking info. Chances are, you’ll have to fill out a list of previous residences on your leasing application, although property managers these days rely more on background/credit checks than the information you provide anyway. Those with no credit will need a co-signer to help score your dream pad.

4. Bring your party hat.

Or just a regular hat will be fine. Or no hat at all. In fact, just forget about hats. Headwear is beside the point, T-Towners. The Strip on University Dr. is dotted with bars, while the downtown district features a smattering of sports pubs, live music venues, clubs, and other assorted watering holes. You’ll find more than a few late night hotspots that suit your tastes.

5. Say hello to Mother Nature.

Living in Tuscaloosa means spending a lot of time outdoors. The city is home to numerous art, music, and festivals and parades during the summer and autumn months and also boasts a 60-acre arboretum and multiple lakes, parks, and trails. As for the occasional rainy day, you can always hit up one of the numerous history or art museums the city has to offer.

6. Bring your wheels.

The city’s public transportation system consists of a meager bus/trolley service. Like most cities, Tuscaloosa sees its fair share of rush hour traffic, but after a while, you should be able to figure out which roads to avoid and which offer the best shortcuts.

7. Don’t assume your new apartment is ready for you.

Property managers generally do their best to make sure your new digs are in top-shape before handing you the keys, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t missed something. Before moving in, check your appliances, pipes, showerheads, sinks, and toilets for leaks and drips and make sure your water pressure is adequate. Check to see that your windows and doors lock properly, your light switches and outlets function, and your ceilings and walls are free of watermarks and blemishes. Also, turn on your furnace and air conditioner to verify they work properly. If something major is wrong, don’t move anything in until the issue is resolved.

8. Scout it out.

The best way to find out whether or not a neighborhood and an apartment complex is a good fit for you is by visiting it yourself and seeing with your own eyes if you’re comfortable with its atmosphere and amenities.

9. Examine your lease.

Different property managers have drastically different rules regarding pets, roommates, and visitors, so read your lease carefully before signing it. Remember that once you sign a lease, you’re locked into it for its duration (as long as your landlord doesn’t violate his/her part of the agreement), so don’t sign your John Hancock until you’re completely sure you’ve found the perfect place.

10. Leave the stereotypes behind.

Stereotypes might make for a good bit of Blue Collar Comedy humor, but they don’t reflect what life’s really like in Tuscaloosa in the slightest. Just saying.

And now it’s time to scour the Yellowhammer State for the most dynamite apartment deals on the market. So happy hunting, welcome to Tuscaloosa, and “Roll tide, baby!”