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City Guide
Tallahassee, Florida

Hey there, gents and lassies! We heard you’re in the market for a place to call your own in Tallahassee. As the capital of the Sunshine State, Tallahassee is one of the Panhandle’s most enticing (and affordable) residential areas. Sound like your cup of tea? Then stick with us, because we’ve been setting people up in the dwellings of their dreams in Tallahassee since, well, since right now …

A Peek at the Panhandle

Before you pack up shop and head on down to Seminole City, here are a few nuggets of info that will help make your migration to Tallahassee silky-smooth:

It’s five o’clock somewhere, Tallahassee. The city (especially the southwestern neighborhoods) is littered with every type of pub, club, and after-hours hotspot you could imagine. But never fear: Florida is still Florida, and its capitol city serves up a variety of parks, gardens, trails, lakes, golf courses, museums, and historical sites that appeal to residents whose idea of fun involves something a bit less, um, regrettable than taking advantage of all-you-can-drink night every Friday at Bullwinkle’s Saloon.

Smooth sailing on the Panhandle pavement: Breathe easy, Road Ragers: You can save your white knuckles, blaring horns, and choice vocabulary for some other city, because the roadways of Tallahassee are generally easy to navigate and not overly hectic. In fact, the average commute for a Tallahassee worker is a mere 18 minutes, and even in the downtown area, gridlock is nothing compared to most big cities and parking is ample enough. Having your own set of wheels remains the most convenient way to bum around town, but for commuters who need to traverse the downtown area alone, the StarMetro (which only costs about a buck a ride) is a viable option as well.

The Lay of the Land

Tallahassee is home to a plethora of inviting stomping grounds, from oak tree-lined ‘hoods boasting stately villas to cozy urban areas dotted with studios and crash pads. As always, we recommend you visit any city in advance to get a feel for its vibes, but here’s a brief overview of Tallahassee’s topography to start you off on the right foot: Southwest Tallahassee. Swarming with nightlife, shops, and budget-friendly eateries. Compact 1BR units (often less than 500 square feet) can typically be found in the $500 range while 2, 3, and even 4-BR lofts and condos are available from anywhere between $600 and $1400, depending on amenities and size. Downtown. The capitol building, the Florida Supreme Court Building, and an array of local businesses are located in the bustling downtown area. Featuring mostly luxury lofts and condos, downtown Tallahassee is a popular choice. Apartments tend to be a bit pricier downtown, and even units for lone occupants typically cost more than a grand. Midtown. On downtown’s doorstep sits the Midtown area. Situated within earshot of downtown’s commerce and culture. Typically not quite as pricey as downtown, Midtown rentals can usually be found for $800 or so, although some uber-lavish units often go for $1200 or more. The Best of the Rest. Want to give the old hoe a heave and live the rural life? Try the northwestern neighborhoods, where rental homes and friendly lodgings can be found amongst the area’s farmsteads for less than a grand. Northeast Tallahassee is the yin to the southwest’s yang and is every bit as serene as its southwestern counterpart is hectic. Plenty of other popular neighborhoods, including El Destinado, Centerville, and Lake Johnson offer their own perks and quirks, so you may want to check them out before finalizing a deal in Tallahassee.

Tips for Tomorrow’s Tallahassee Tenants

Whereas property owners dominate much of Florida, Tallahassee is a renter’s market, and nearly 12 percent more residents lease than own. Apartments, townhouses, duplexes, and other rental properties are usually available throughout most parts of town, and rent specials pop up frequently, but that’s not all you need to know about leasing in Florida’s capitol. Here are a few other tidbits of truth to help you live the high life in Tallahassee: Utilities are an alligator. In other words, they’re downright ugly in Tallahassee, where electric bills for many tenants run as high as $300 during the hottest months of the year (May through September). So when you’re calculating your renting budget, be sure to account for expenses like A/C, cable, water, trash, sewer, and phone bills, which often combine to cost more than $500 monthly. Be prepared. Standards for leasers differ depending on which part of town you’re looking into and which rental property you’re interested in. Generally, the apartments and freestanding houses near campus are more lenient in terms of renter requirements, while the lodgings downtown, midtown, and in the northeastern and northwestern sections are more stringent. If you’re looking for a short-term crash pad, you’re likely to need only the first month’s deposit and proof of income, whereas property managers in other parts of town may require a positive rent/credit check and specific income requirements. Scope it out. Apartments turn over frequently, and property managers don’t always have the chance to do an in-depth inspection of a unit before it goes back on the market. So be sure to give your new pad the white-glove treatment before you settle in: Check the pipes, faucets, and sinks for leaks and drips and make sure the water pressure is up to par; examine the windows, walls, and doors for chips, cracks, and other deficiencies; make sure your appliances, showers, and toilets function properly. And now, bold apartment hunter, you’re all set to start your search for the perfect pad. So welcome to the Sunshine State, and happy hunting!