Greetings, Silicon Valley renters, and welcome to your Milpitas, California apartment hunting headquarters! Conveniently situated on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay just seven miles north of San Jose, Milpitas boasts a booming local economy, a highly diverse population, and some of the most attractive rental properties in Santa Clara County. Interested in joining the nearly 70,000 proud peeps who call Milpitas home? Of course you are! But before you scour the listings and hit the streets in search of your dream pad, take a moment to peruse the following bits of wit and wisdom (yes, we use those terms liberally) to help make your migration to the Valley as cool as an ocean breeze…
As an apartment dweller in Milpitas, you’ll soon find that your new hometown is as racially diverse as any Golden State community. Filipinos account for roughly 15 percent of all residents, while the total number of Asians living in the city exceeds 50 percent of the population. An additional one in four residents is Hispanic, while the city is also home to thousands of Caucasians, African Americans, European immigrants, and, of course, homegrown Californians from all walks of life. Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if you get the feeling you’ve stumbled into a massive United Nations summit while strolling down the streets of Milpitas. Oh and hey, while you’re there, take advantage of the amazing noodle shops, taco trucks and myriad of other ethnic eateries.
People sometimes write off Milpitas as nothing but an overgrown San Jose suburb, but the truth is that the city is actually much more of a computer industry boomtown than a “bedroom community.” Tons of I.T., medical, and high-tech corporations are headquartered in Milpitas (Cisco System and Lifescan alone combine to employ more than 5,000 people), while the city is also home to eight industrial parks, nearly 600 manufacturing plants, and a gargantuan factory outlet mall with more than 200 shops that employ nearly 3500 people. In other words, you shouldn’t have a problem raking in enough greenbacks to pay for that spectacular new apartment of yours.
Anyone familiar with Silicon Valley will tell you that traffic in the area is often about as pleasant as skinny-dipping in the Bay on a frigid February dawn. Because the population of Milpitas nearly doubles during the day to more than 130,000, traffic can be a grade-A beast for drivers trying to both get into, and out of, the city. Fortunately, the VTA does provide light rail service to other Bay Area destinations and the BART is in the process of adding a Milpitas stop, which should encourage more commuters to lean on public transit in coming years.
Luckily, there’s more to do in Milpitas than program computers by day, sit in traffic on the I-680 all afternoon and then twiddle your thumbs in your brand new apartment at night. Shopaholics will immediately fall in love with the city’s veritable buffet of retail options, including the Great Mall, the outdoor Milpitas Square shopping center, and the tons of ethnic shops that dot the streets. Milpitas is also highly regarded for its youth recreation programs and facilities, which is one reason why the city has become increasingly popular for families with children. Additional attractions include a performing arts center, more than 30 community parks, numerous public art displays, and a wide variety of unique eateries. Night owls, meanwhile, are less than a ten minute drive from all the clubs, pubs, live music venues, and wine bars they could possibly imagine in nearby San Jose.
Usually in this section, we gently point out certain parts of a city that should be avoided unless you enjoy getting mugged, knifed, carjacked, shot, flicked in the ear (like, really hard), or robbed of the vital organs you hold so dear. Fortunately, the “Crossroads of Silicon Valley” has no such danger zones, so rest assured you and your kidneys will remain whole during your stay in Milpitas. Still, be sure to visit a neighborhood in advance, whether you’re targeting Midtown, the Calavera Boulevard district, or any other ‘hood, to make sure you’re comfortable with its ambiance and neighbors before pursuing a lease.
A few things to keep in mind during your apartment scavenging escapades:
News flash: The Valley ain’t cheap, yo. A typical 1BR apartment with only the most basic amenities is likely to cost $1400 minimum, and if you’re looking for a spacious family pad with more than two bedrooms, expect to spend $2,000 to $3,000. The city’s cost of living index is more than 60 percentage points above the national average, meaning you’re not likely to save many yen on the price of things like utilities, gas, and groceries, either.
Leasers account for only about 30 percent of residents, but that doesn’t mean apartments are necessarily slim pickings. There’s no distinct “renting season” in Milpitas, so occupancy rates rarely spike. Waiting lists are rare, and move-in specials do occasionally pop up, so shop the market thoroughly and feel free to dilly-dally and lolly-gag a bit before signing the dotted line.
A surprising number of landlords in Milpitas allow pets including cats, dogs, fish, and wooly mammoths, but some don’t. Do some preliminary research about a property before scheduling a visit to make sure you’re comfortable with the landlord’s policies and or pet extortion fees.
Bring the basics along with you when you’re ready to apply for a lease, including proof of income, banking info, and a list of prior residences. Many apartment managers run background checks on prospective tenants, so if you have some conspicuous skeletons in your credit/renting history (ahem, junior year of college), you’ll likely need a co-signer to finalize the deal.
And now, ladies and gents, it’s time to find the California dwelling of your dreams. Best of luck and happy hunting!