With perfect weather, crisp mountain air, little traffic, and some of the nicest people you will ever meet, it's pretty tempting to let your guard down and sign up with the first charming little apartment you see. However, a little strategy is needed to get the best deal on a rental around here.
Rate Increases. So you've found an apartment in a popular location for less than $600 a month and you’re wondering what the catch is. Well, look very carefully at your lease. A popular trend among landlords in the Springs is to raise the rent $50 every six months. That means you would be paying $700 a month for the next year's lease, $800 for the year after that, and so on. Others will charge fees for ridiculous things, like notes in the suggestion box, or fixing your toilet. Beware of lousy landlords, especially if the rent is too good to be true.
Get a Ride. Life without out a car here would be extremely difficult. Due to budget cuts, the buses only run on weekdays... and only days, not nights. The downtown area is easily bikeable, but that can get pretty rough after a good snowstorm. Moral of the story: own your own ride.
Winter Commuters. Due to a weak economy and major budget cuts, the local government has cut back on snow clearing. For those who don't feel comfortable driving in six inches of snow, look for an apartment near a major highway, as the primary roads are the first to be cleared after a major snow storm. It's also a pretty easy drive from the east side because the terrain is flat, completely lacking in any huge cliffs for your vehicle to go plunging off of. But, if you've got snow tires and chains, four-wheel or all-wheel drive, and the driving savvy to take on the snowy, snaking roads in the foothills of the west side, then go for it. It's been done. It's just not a great spot for the inexperienced, or the faint of heart.
Pets. In some cities, it's popular to charge a pet deposit. In some, it's a non-refundable pet fee. In others, it's pet rent. Well, here it's all three. Colorado Springs is full of dog lovers and dog-loving apartments. Even the bigger breeds are accepted at most places. However, be prepared to fork over a good chunk of change for your loved poochies.
Getting to know your neighborhood before the big move will greatly affect your quality of life. Are you starting a family, on the hunt for a bachelor pad, looking for a comfortable and quiet place to sleep, or do you just need an average, lower cost kind of place? Well, this breakdown of the major boroughs will help guide you to the neighborhood that best fits your needs and personality.
Downtown. This is not your typical downtown. There's no billboards or skyscrapers cluttering the skyline. The scene looks more like a small mountain town, full of quaint little shops and an unassuming nightlife of music, dancing, and that rare breed of brew-pub that satisfies beer connoisseurs and foodies alike. Yes, I'll have a cold beer with my tiger prawns wrapped in applewood bacon, stuffed with gouda, and topped with "Beernaise" sauce. Mmmmm.
Old North End. Nested in between Colorado College, the Monument Valley Park, and Penrose Hospital is this delightful little neighborhood. It's an old, established area with a vigilante homeowners association, making for a slightly cookie-cutter scene. It's a little pricey, but a great location for people that attend college, work in the nearby downtown area, or work in the medical field. And for those accident-prone apartment seekers, you’ll enjoy that the ER is just a short walk away (and an even shorter drive!). Also, it's an easy horseback ride to the annual "Whiskey for My Men, Beer for My Horses" event of microbrew celebrations set amongst foot-stomping, beer-broasting bluegrass music and big-ass belt buckles.
Rockrimmon. This neighborhood in the Rocky Mountain foothills is very luring. With the U.S. Air Force Academy nearby, there are lots of high-ranking military officers among other well-off residents (high tech professionals, college professors, and business owners among them). But, commuters beware, there isn't a straight road in the whole area, and it's not uncommon to run into traffic because of herds of deer and bighorn sheep roaming the streets.
Mountain Shadows. Just south of Rockrimmon is another rugged foothill neighborhood. It's all winding, hilly roads with tons of wildlife and miles of hiking and biking trails.
Old Colorado City. This neighborhood is eclectic and blue-collar at once. It gets an old-town feel from the rows of renovated saloons and brothels built in the prohibition days. There are hundreds of shops, galleries, and restaurants that ring in the tourist money without any blatant touristy gimmicks. There are also a few best-kept-secret bars that you can only find by walking around and keeping your ears open. You just may stumble into an old garage with bar stools, the best jazz you've ever heard, microbrews, and manchetta-laced truffle skinny fries. Yum.
Pleasant Valley. This neighborhood is an enclave of empty-nesters and young families. People move here to escape the crowds and tourist shops into a quiet mountain home, tucked away from it all.
Gleneagle. In far, far north Colorado Springs, this little neighborhood sits in a quiet, secluded area adjacent to the Air Force Academy. Its elevation lends panoramic views of the mountains and the city lights, the trees are old and towering, and the people give this neighborhood a strong small-town character.
Briargate. In the northeastern area of the springs is a small-town vibe with a more finished look. There are newer homes and apartments, lots of community parks, and winding sidewalks full of dog lovers. The neighborhood is made up of military personnel, and golf enthusiasts.
Brookwood. With just one road going in and out of this neighborhood, Brookwood is like a secret hideaway nested in a big, bustling city. Many families live here due to its secluded feel and its amenities.
Cheyenne Mountain. This southern neighborhood is conveniently located near The Broadmoor, the city's biggest tourism employer, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the city's most prestigious and intriguing military employer. Its residents enjoy a convenient commute to work and breathtaking views.
Broadmoor. With The Broadmoor resort as its centerpiece, this neighborhood lives a fancy-pants life of golfing, tennis, and spa days; not to mention the well-known Cheyenne Mountain High School.
Now that you have the gist of renting around the Springs, go and enjoy the surroundings of your apartment to-be. There're so many amazing places for hikers, fishers, hunters, art crawlers, shopaholics, skaters, and music lovers. Find your pocket and enjoy the adventure and freedom of living in Colorado Springs.