Although Coon Rapids is a “bedroom community” for Minneapolis and Saint Paul, that doesn’t mean the city is completely devoid of its own vibrancy. Several manufacturing, healthcare, and engineering companies (Mercy Medical, Honeywell, RMS Inc. to name a few) have strong presences in Coon Rapids, while a handful of new businesses and retail locations have sprouted up in recent years near the Riverdale Northstar station as well. In other words, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to both live and work in Coon Rapids, a luxury very few residents have been afforded until recently.
Still, most residents rely on jobs in one of the Twin Cities or in Bloomington to bring home the bacon. Fortunately, the brand new Northstar commuter rail in the northwest suburbs runs a direct route to downtown Minneapolis, providing a nice alternative for commuters who aren’t too keen on battling the daily dose of soul-sucking gridlock that surrounds Minneapolis during rush hour.
Coon Rapids is undoubtedly a community tailor made for married couples, who account for 3 out of 5 of adult residents – don't ask about the math there – three out of five are married couples? Somebody's getting a little extra. When news of this gets out, Coon Rapids will sell out, so get there... uh... rapidly.
Families with children, retirees, and other middle-classers who appreciate peace and quiet over hustle and bustle make up Coon Rapids' other popular population. Unsurprisingly, the city’s attractions are geared towards settled adults and children rather than urbanites and young adults (many of whom feel more at home in Minneapolis). Popular activities for residents include spending an afternoon at one of the 40-plus neighborhood parks and playgrounds that dot the city, boating or fishing on Crooked Lake, or taking in a round of golf at the renowned Bunker Hills Golf Course. Coon Rapids is also home of the state’s largest outdoor water park and a dam that features numerous scenic views and trails. The kiddies, meanwhile, are sure to remain entertained by the city’s various child-friendly attractions, including an ice arena (part of the movie Mighty Ducks was filmed here), miniature golf course, and mega arcade.
Lessees are sort of an anomaly in Coon Rapids, where more than 80 percent of residents are homeowners. Still, that doesn’t mean apartments are difficult to find. They've got over 10,000 of them. Wait, that's lakes. Coon rapids has enough apartments to go around though, ya' donchaknow. Most properties have vacancies year-round, and many landlords attempt to entice new tenants with super sweet move-in specials. Here are a few things to keep on the front pages of your apartment hunting to-do-list:
The average 1BR unit in Coon Rapids goes for around $750, while 2 and 3BR places are typically available in the $850-$1100 range. Prices can vary greatly depending on size and amenities, though. For example, a 700 square foot apartment with covered parking, washer/dryer hookups, a patio, and modern appliances may actually cost more than a much larger apartment with less attractive amenities. A wide range of rentals can be found in Coon Rapids, so don’t settle on a place until you’re positive it’s perfect for you.
Luckily for lessees in Coon Rapids, the city performs a full inspection of rental properties before granting landlords a rental license, so you don’t have to worry about your apartment having major structural damages, faulty appliances, leaks, etc. However, you should still take your move-in checklist seriously, since the city inspection doesn’t account for minor imperfections like stains, cracks, or blemishes on walls, ceilings, counters, etc. Nor do all landlords tell the city when an apartment becomes vacant. You can ask of course. If the landlord balks, it's a good indicator of his level of integrity, or an indicator that a little deal schmoozing might be in your future.
Just in case you’ve been living in a terrarium, we should inform you that Minnesota is sort of, well, ungodly freaking cold for much of the year. Temperatures often bottom out below the freezing level as early as October and as late as March in Coon Rapids, meaning tenants often see major spikes ($70-$120) in their heating bills during these months. So get ready to channel your inner Inuit and, more importantly, plan your budget accordingly. And for the love of footie pajamas, buy a good winter coat (and footie pajamas). If, meanwhile, you find an apartment manager who covers the cost of utilities in the rent, make sure that you, not the landlord, have control over your own heating unit – or have it contractually determined at what setting the heat is in the morning and nighttime.
• Unless an apartment is running a move-in special, you’ll probably have to pay an upfront good faith/security deposit that’s equal to (at least) the first month’s rent. Some landlords also charge non-refundable cleaning fees while others charge prospective tenants a fee (usually around $35-$50) to run credit/leasing background checks on them. You won’t need impeccable credit by any means, but if you’re wanted in 42 states for being a deadbeat renter, writing bad checks, and waking up your neighbors at 3 a.m. by blaring death metal music, you might have trouble scoring an apartment in Coon Rapids. It's a quiet place in other words.
• Whether you’re targeting Thompson Heights, Northdale, Thompson Riverview Terrace, or any other area, you won’t find a whole lot of distinction among neighborhoods (they’re all quiet, suburban, and feature 2.3 kids and a dog playing in white-picket-fenced yards). Still, we recommend spending plenty of time in a neighborhood before targeting a rental there to make sure you’re comfy with its ambiance.
• In cities with little neighborhood distinction, a pleasant guideline is identify one thing you really like – be it fishing, watching a game with a beer, movies, whatever. Try to find one option of that one thing really close to your proposed apartment. That way, if your neighbor does play death metal music or you'v had a bad day in the Tundra, you can at least, with easy access, do one of your favorite things to unwind.
And now, bold apartment hunter, it’s time to get down to business and find you the apartment you’ve always dreamed of (after you finished your dream about winning the lottery, eating food that's bad for you while still losing weight, and dating Denzel or Angelina, or both – hey – it's your dream). So welcome to Coon Rapids and happy hunting!