Los Banos: home of the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge for up to a million waterfowl that arrive each winter.
If you're planning to move to sunny California, Los Banos offers the delights of living in a big city with the bonus of a lower cost. Located in Merced County, California, Los Banos (Spanish for "The Baths") is home to over 40,000 people. The weather in Los Banos is typical of California, hot in the summer with a median of 80F and cooler in winter with a median of 45F. The good news for those planning to move to Los Banos is that the cost of living index is lower than the average for California. That's still almost 20 percent higher than the national average, but, hey, this is California, right? The tradeoff is the warmer climate, the beautiful scenery, and let’s not forget the beaches!
Finding an Apartment in Los Banos
With a 5 percent vacancy rate, you'll need a proper plan of action to find that sweet apartment in Los Banos with all the features you need and want. Try doing this the old-fashioned way by getting a pen and paper and writing down the ten most important things you want in an apartment--it'll really make you think. You'll want to consider location, parking, pets, exclusivity of neighborhood, available amenities, and anything else that's important to your day-to-day life (good air conditioning? 24-hour ice cream parlor nearby? We're not judging). This will help you quickly narrow down the apartments you find until you settle on the right one. If you're using the services of a real estate agent, this list will also help to match you to the most appropriate apartment.
Pets or no pets?
One of the top things on your list, if you have any pets, will probably include what rules the rental property management has about your darling poodle. Even though he's absolutely precious, the property management might take a dim view of having him on the premises. Call ahead to ensure you understand the rules of the management regarding pets. Some landlords will require a security deposit on each pet, and knowing this ahead of time will enable you to plan accordingly.
What do you need?
Most landlords or property managers will require a security deposit and the first months rent. Providing them without wasting any time will show your seriousness, and perhaps help you secure an apartment before someone else snags it. You will need to fill out a rental application, provide proof of income, and, in some cases, provide letters of reference. Also note that your landlord will most likely run a credit check to determine your ability to pay the rent.
Where to Live in Los Banos
The exact place you decide to live in Los Banos is important, because the neighborhoods differ. Your neighborhood will affect your general perception of the city as well as your bank account balance. The neighborhoods below are the ones with the best vacancy rates in Los Banos, so you'll have better luck finding options there. Just be sure to check out the neighborhood during the day and at night to determine which suits your style.
City Center: This is an affordable part of town well below the rental rates of more than 90 percent of other neighborhoods in California. Those in the market for rental properties here can expect to find a vacancy rate of more than 10 percent, mostly apartment complexes, single-family homes, and high-rise apartments.
Santa Nella Village: If your budget is stretched, you will hardly get more bang for your buck than in this part of town. And at a vacancy rate of a whopping 24 percent, you won’t have any trouble finding a rental home here.
Route 33/Badger Flat: This area is a bit more expensive than the previously mentioned neighborhoods. Most of the property here is owner-occupied, but with a 15 percent vacancy rate, you should have no trouble finding an apartment to rent.
Life in Los Banos
Get ready to drive. In terms of getting around Los Banos, most of the residents find that owning their own vehicle is more convenient, but a small percentage takes public transportation, carpools, or makes other alternative arrangements.
One of the most notable facts about Los Banos is that it is located beside the southwestern tip of a huge game refuge, including the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge and the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge. If you love animals and believe in preserving their habitat, you'll feel good about setting up a home here.