And I always knew life could be like a red sail sailin' on Lake Erie /And I only hope life will stay like a day on Lake Erie -- From "Lake Erie" by Lydia Adams Davis
Mentor is a beautiful city in Ohio's Lake County, bordering great Lake Erie. It sits just a half hour east of the metropolis of Cleveland. Former U.S. President James A. Garfield actually performed the first ever front-porch campaign that proved to be successful; and in reality, it's kind of been steadily improving from there. With several educational points and ways to guide you, you should hope no one else sees this description about Mentor, because if they do, you'll be competing for apartments.
A word that could be used to describe almost everything in Mentor is "amazing." The city sounds too good to be true, so it only makes sense that it'd be difficult to move there. Amazingly enough (See? Amazing!), it's not too hard to find a place. Renters do only make up about 16% of the population in the city, but the vacancy rate stands at 5.65%. There are smaller cities than Mentor that have lower vacancy rates than this, so it's important that you know how to get an apartment the right way.
What will is cost?
It sounds funny to use the word again, but the prices to live in Mentor are simply amazing. However, rental prices have been rising steadily over the last few years. In all honesty, this could be due to CNN's report that the city is among the 100 best places in America to live. (In 2010, Mentor ranked No. 37 out of the 100 cities evaluated.) Either way, the cost of staying in the area is still amazingly (again!) low for such a great location. Prices will always vary between neighborhoods, but in Mentor, this variance is massive. Some parts of the city are up to four times more expensive as others. This means a bit of homework is essential.
Finding a place
While there is a healthy vacancy rate, which ensures that there's always a place to stay in Mentor, it still helps to get on the hunt for apartments early. Since the percentage of citizens who are renters is so low, there's no telling which location a person will get within the 5% vacancy rate. This means a few months of advance searching would be ideal.
Picking a specific month to move in shouldn't be as hard. The city is great year-round, but for those who don't want to work in the cold, the very beginning of the year should be avoided since the average high temperatures are barely over freezing. It's also important to check the calendar in October so that you don't try to move in on the day that the Northern Ohio Marathon is rolling through the city. Otherwise, you'll have a marathon experience moving into your place.
What to bring
If there were ever a time to not let the low prices fool you, this would be it. You need to be fully prepared to act as if you're applying for a home in an exclusive community. In reality, you are; the average prices just don't make it seem that way. Come fully prepared with references, a background check, a credit check, and a prepared security deposit. Sure, the landlords often do background and credit checks themselves, but put in a little initiative! Also, if you're already ready with a security deposit, your chances of landing the perfect place go way up.
Neighborhoods in Mentor
Picking the right neighborhood in Mentor is essential.There are well over two dozen neighborhoods in this seemingly small city. It's important to note, though, that many of the unlisted neighborhoods are extremely similar to those listed. This is especially true when it comes to price, and rest assured, the extremes of rental prices are listed below.
Governor's Place: Governor's Place is a nice little community where those who are far from their college days like to stay. Yes, you can call them Buckeyes.
Holden Ridge: Holden Ridge is where you go to get away from it all. The population density is less than a quarter of the average in Mentor. Additionally, there is easy access to I-90, but it's on the side of the interstate that isn't loaded with shops. In fact, it's usually necessary to hit the interstate and take an off-ramp to even get to a nice restaurant.
Mountail View: This neighborhood breaks the curve for the average rental price in this city. With a huge bang! Without this neighborhood, Mentor's average rent price would be a lot lower. Be that as it may, Mountail is a bit more densely populated than the rest of the city.
King Arthur Estates: King Arthur Estates holds court with over 5,000 residents, and is one of the most densely populated areas in Mentor. The median age in the area is around 40 years old. It's also right by the Lakeland Freeway in case, for some strange reason, you feel like leaving. For a quick getaway, both Bellflower and Eleanor B. Garfield Parks are nearby. $$$$
Living in Mentor can be a great experience for non-native Midwesterners. The beach and proximity to Lake Erie offer a wonderful outdoor lifestyle. Here are some other things to keep in mind, however, during your search in Mentor.
"It's Better in Mentor"
As the city's slogan suggests, life is just better here in Mentor. The city's unemployment rate has stayed well below Ohio's state average, and on top of this, Ohio's unemployment rate has stayed well below America's. In August 2012, when America's unemployment rate was sitting around 8%, Mentor's was down near 5%. Why doesn't everyone live in Mentor? It's gonna get crowded here soon!
Transportation in Mentor
The Lake Tran system goes all over Mentor, and even a little bit beyond. Hey, maybe you want to ride your bicycle. Go for it! Maybe you underestimated how cold it was going to be. Smooth. Don't worry: The buses on routes 1-6 have bike racks on the front. Sweet!
Mentor has numerous interstates including I-271 and I-90, and I-480, and I-77 are easily accessible. You have a ton of options to go anywhere. But, then again, why would you want to leave Mentor? Seriously--you won't!