Did you know? One of Urbana's most noteworthy homes from the early 1800s is the 4,000-square-foot Elisha Beall House. It took 20 years to build from stone and includes an eastern sun porch, a carriage house and several outbuildings on its 6.73 acres. Once operated as the Boxwood Inn, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is visible along Urbana Pike just east of Urbana District Park.
Urbana lies just south of Burhans Memorial Airport, a private airport. Many urban areas that lie near airports tend toward low rent, but Urbana's rental prices are typically some of the highest you'll find in Maryland. This master-planned community has many upgraded amenities for its residents including swimming pools, tennis courts, a community center, hiking and biking trails and an extensive library. The community's market district, and plentiful restaurants and eateries, make it easy to meet all your lifestyle needs here without ever leaving the community. Urbana has a thriving business scene too, thanks the Urbana Corporate Center, a developing business park that draws internationally recognized businesses to the area.
Moving to Urbana
Urbana has extremely low turnover of rental homes, and a vacancy rate of just .05 percent. This means that starting your search a year or more in advance is a good idea. Your best bet if you're trying to find an apartment in Urbana, or any other sort of housing in fact, is making contact with property management agents specializing in Urbana's rental properties. Your property management agent will be familiar with owners in the area who may have a condo for rent, a single-family home, or other properties that can meet your needs. With a few phone calls to homeowners with rental properties and a few clicks of the keyboard, he or she can get a feel for when something may come available that suits your needs and budget.
While most rentals in the country operate on a first-come, first-served basis, Urbana's rental property market is highly competitive -- so your credit score, income and rental history may factor into your place on a waiting list for properties in Urbana. Be clear about what you're looking for -- whether it's a 2 bedroom apartment for rent or a long-term condo rental -- and be ready to submit an application in advance to help your property management agent find the best properties that will suit your needs.
When you put in an in-person appearance bring two forms of identification, good rental references and proof that you have income sufficient to meet the higher-than-usual rents in the area. Don't expect move-in-specials or all bills paid apartments; the housing situation here is so competitive that the owner will just move on to the next person on the waiting list if you make too many demands.
Urbana is roughly divided into four main areas, each with their own distinct feel and advantages. It's important to know what kind of housing you're looking for, as one neighborhood may have more of what will suit your individual needs than another. Be sure to research as much as you can, though if you find something you love right away certainly don't hesitate to throw in an application!
Villages of Urbana: Spacious single family homes and townhouses characterize the Villages of Urbana. Towering trees line the streets and separate areas of housing, creating a village feel. Townhouses for rent are generally more than 2,000 square feet with 3 or 4 bedrooms. Single-family homes sprawl across large, grassy lots, with five or more bedrooms and square footage topping more than 5,000 square feet. The Villages of Urbana provide walking pathways, bike trails, a community center, tennis courts and swimming pools to its residents.
Urbana Heights: This neighborhood lies in the northeast area of Urbana and is the place to look if you prefer smaller square footage than Villages of Urbana offers. You won't find an apartment for rent in Urbana Heights, but you might find a two bedroom condo for rent along with some of the area's smaller townhouses and houses. Smaller rentals in Urbana Heights include 1,700-square-foot to 2,500-square-foot floor plans.
Hope Commons: This townhouse neighborhood is tucked back in a shady grove of mature trees. The townhouses were built in 2000 and have 3 and 4 bedrooms with 1,500 to 2,000 square foot floor plans. The community has more than a dozen buildings spaced around a large loop, with four to eight townhouse units in each building. Uncovered parking, just steps from your unit, means you might have to leave time to do some minor shoveling on the snowiest days -- although the main loop is maintained by the complex.
Urbana Corporate Center: One of the newest areas of Urbana, the Corporate Center covers 200 acres at the junction of I-270 and MD 80. The corporate center houses a Fannie Mae Technology Center, the headquarters of Banner Life Insurance company and other professional businesses. The corporate center follows a village design, with multi-use and residential areas that include master-planned condominiums and townhouses. The neighborhood has a hiking and biking trail system, retail areas and planned community center.
Living in Urbana
When sunny warm weather makes you long to get outside, you won't have to go far to enjoy the great outdoors. Urbana Community Park on the southwest side of town has grills and sheltered tables where you can enjoy a picnic. You can also work up a sweat on the park's baseball and soccer fields, volleyball courts and tennis courts. Urbana Community Park also has a family-friendly playground and horseshoe pits too. A few blocks to the west, Urbana District Park has similar amenities along with a football field and trails.
Shafer's Mill and Anthony Natelli Community Centers are where friends gather to swim, play tennis and work out. Shafer's Mill Recreation Center in Urbana Heights has a fitness center, tennis courts and a waterpark-style pool with a lazy river. Anthony Natelli Community Center has six tennis courts. Both community centers have large rooms that may be reserved for parties, receptions, classes or other events.
There's plenty here for dedicated readers, too; the Urbana Regional Library contains more than 90,000 books and other media on its three floors. A sunlit reading room has wing-back chairs for enjoying a quiet read, and there's also a community meeting room that seats 100 -- plus an art gallery to explore, and a senior center for older residents.