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City Guide
Sarasota, FL

Salutations, Sarasotans, and welcome to your online apartment hunting headquarters! Located on the southwestern edge of the Sunshine State along the heavenly Gulf Coast shores, Sarasota is as close to a mirror image of paradise as you’ll find anywhere. So what do you say? Are you ready to score your dream pad in la-crème-de-la-crème of Florida beach communities? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place, because all it takes is a few simple clicks within the hallowed halls of Apartment List (if websites had halls, that is) to find the perfect apartment for you in Sarasota! So without further ado, here are a few tidbits of info and advice to help get you started on your apartment hunting adventures…

The Sarasota Vibe

Some cities in Florida are basically overgrown retirement/snowbird communities. Some are stomping grounds for students, party animals, and night owls. Others are safe havens for nine-to-fivers, working professionals, and growing families. Sarasota is a little bit of each. Not only a popular living locale for card-carrying AARP members, Sarasota is also home to thousands of students attending classes at one of the many universities (New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art & Design, Keiser College, and FSU’s drama school) located within city limits. In other words, whether you’re looking to play some bridge and hit the pillow by 9 or party all night like a College Joe rock star, you’ll feel right at home in Sarasota.

When your city boasts some of the world’s whitest, cleanest beaches (Siesta Key Beach, especially), it’s bound to draw a tourist or two, or maybe even a few long-haired models riding atop horses. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Sarasota plays host to hordes of beach-going vacationers year-round. Hopefully you enjoy sharing your city streets with flowery shirt-sporting suburbanites in floppy hats and sandals, because tourists are a major fact of life in Sarasota.

Sarasota is also western Florida’s unofficial culture capital, with a wide range of art galleries, museums, theaters, live music venues, performance halls, and nighttime hotspots dotting the downtown streets and the beachfront. Factor in a plethora of aquatic adventure destinations that include 35 miles of pristine sand on 13 public beaches, and it’s safe to say you’ll never run out of things to do while living the life of a beach bum (or reputable citizen, if that floats your boat) in Sarasota!

Safety First

Most parts of Sarasota (both on the mainland and in the “Keys”) are as safe and family-friendly as you’ll find in the Gator State. A few neighborhoods, however, like the Newtown area near downtown, have come under fire in recent years after a rash of drug-related and violent crimes, so be sure to scout out any neighborhood in advance to see whether or not you’re comfortable with its vibes before signing a lease. Fortunately, you can find plenty of quality lodgings in numerous primo, ocean-side neighborhoods at reasonable prices, so you shouldn’t have to settle for second-rate real estate in a second-class neighborhood anyway.

Renting Tips

As you’d probably expect in a city as diverse as Sarasota, apartments come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from low-budget 1BR crash pads with basic amenities for less than 600 bucks all the way up to all-inclusive retiree rental properties in the $4500 range. Whether you’re a cheapskate, a deep-pocketed high roller, or someone in between, you should have no problem finding the picture-perfect pad in Sarasota.

Cheap apartments for rentin Sarasota are spread evenly throughout the city, with the bulk of upscale condominiums and lofts centered near the highly urbanized downtown. Apartments range from brand new to well established (pre-1970) and cater to largely different demographics (families with children, young urbanites, students, retirees, etc), so do some preliminary research about a complex’s tenants before scheduling a visit with an apartment rep. Also, keep in mind that pet policies differ drastically from landlord to landlord (some apartment managers don’t even allow fish while others could hardly care less if you share living space with a 600 pound American alligator).

Apartments are almost always available in any Sarasota apartment complex you come across (although retiree communities are sometimes at full capacity) and waiting lists are rare. Obviously, this gives leasers the luxury of scouring the apartment market leisurely and thoroughly for the best deals. Just arm yourself with the necessary credentials (a blank check to buck up for the modest security deposit you’ll likely have to pay, proof of income, a list of previous residences, and a reputable co-signer if you have some skeletons in your renting history), and you’ll be ready to move in with Sarasota’s finest in no time!

A Note About Transportation

If you live and work in the walker-friendly downtown area, you can probably get by without your own vehicle (the SCAT public city buses hit up all the major stops throughout Sarasota County and light rail service to Tampa Bay is currently in the works). Still, to experience everything the city has to offer (including the magnificent outlying Keys), you’ll likely need your own set of wheels at some point.

And now that we’ve touched all the major bases about apartment life in paradise, it’s time for the fun part: finding you a super sweet Sarasota apartment! Welcome aboard and happy hunting!