The neighborhoods of Nashville are as unique as the people that call this city home. Rental properties old and new seem to mirror the heartbeat of this city that’s steeped in tradition and redefining its image at every turn. Whether a student at one of the universities, a music exec, or one of the thousands that work in the healthcare industry, there is a place to hang your hat in Nashville.
Downtown is booming. A recently revitalized metro area makes this part of the city an exciting place to live. Downtown Nashville is abuzz with working professionals, independent businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues that add plenty of hustle and bustle. Known as “The District,” the areas near Second Ave., Broadway, and Printer’s Alley are the heart of nightlife and entertainment. Most of the rental properties downtown are modern lofts and high-rises with luxurious amenities including roof top decks and swimming pools. Expect rents to be pricey but well worth it for modern downtown living.
East of the river. Many of the historic neighborhoods east of the Cumberland River are considered to be “up and coming.” The mix of longtime residents, young professionals, and families create a strong neighborhood feel in an urban landscape. The artistic bohemian as well as the trendy gallery type will feel right at home in East Nashville. Plenty of independent restaurants and shops, bookstores and boutiques are found in the areas east of the city, making such neighborhoods as Edgefield, East End, and Lockeland Springs desirable locations to live in. Thriving commercial districts, tree-lined streets, and access to parks also add to the appeal. Apartment properties are fewer in this area of town but reasonably priced.
University culture. Demand is high in the residential areas surrounding Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities. And it’s not just the students. The neighborhoods south of downtown attract young professionals and families seeking culture and charm in all forms. The Belmont-Hillsboro, Hillsboro Village, and West End areas are popular choices for their walkable proximity to shops, cafes, specialty stores, and trendy restaurants. Rents are higher the closer you get to campus, as are levels of intoxication. Nashville gets top marks as far as college towns go..
Suburbanites in the ‘Ville. A rental dollar goes a whole lot farther in the communities outside of the city center. And there’s quite a lot to choose from. Rentals in the communities of Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, La Vergne, and Hermitage are spacious and affordable. Although the commute into the city can get hairy during rush hour (especially from the east), the drive in the evening or on weekends is hassle free. For those seeking big city excitement only on occasion, there is a happy medium when living outside of Nashville.
Nashville isn’t necessarily a walking city, so when it’s time to give the car a rest and enjoy the southern air, there are many parks to get your green on. The only thing rivaling the amazing music scene (and the restaurants, real estate, shopping, and weather) is the number of public green spaces found in Nashville—over 100. One of the most impressive of these is Centennial Park and its centerpiece—a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece—home to Nashville’s art museum.
The 3,000 acres of forest that make up Edwin and Percy Warner Park just a few miles from downtown Nashville consists of hiking and equestrian trails, a golf course, dog park, scenic overlooks, and roads for cyclists. A nature lover’s wonderland in the heart of the city is just one more reason that life is good here.
Nashville’s growing appeal as a place to live has tightened the rental market in recent years, but don’t fret just yet. If there’s just one piece of advice, it’s this: when the place is right, be prepared to pounce. Consider these tips when hunting for your new place:
Get ahead of the application process. If possible, consider filling out the rental application ahead of your showing. If it turns out that you’ve found the perfect place, why waste time? Many properties will have a printable copy on their website, if not, stop by the office and pick one up. Also, be prepared to pay the application fee (these can range from free-ninety nine to around $70 at the highest end of things) on the day of the apartment showing. Show them you want the place and that you’re one step ahead of the game.
The rental season. In Nashville, like most places, the summer months are the busiest times for moving in and out. However, if you’re holding out to sign a lease in the “off season” with hopes of saving some cash, forget about it—rents are the same year round. The best deals come when the apartment owner offers them or when you try to create your own. You might miss out if you’re thinking about playing the waiting game.
Negotiate the deal. Savvy apartment hunters (and gatherers) know how to ask for what they want, and in most cases, get it. Negotiating a lower rent is possible if you bring something to the table (of course, good credit takes the lead). In addition to demonstrating that you’re financially responsible, consider other ways to highlight your awesomeness. Use your imagination here; we’ve all got something to bring to the table. And unless you’re really desperate and have a 1982 bottle of Lafite-Rothschild—wine doesn’t count.
Are you handy around the house? Offer up your services or a willingness to fill in when a maintenance employee isn’t available. Website designer by hobby or trade? Offer to work on the company’s site if you’ve got some good ideas and experience. And as always, money talks. In exchange for a reduced rate, offer to sign a longer lease; pay a few month’s rent in advance or offer a bigger security deposit in exchange for a lower monthly bill. And take note that in Nashville, rental deposits are generally low to begin with.
Finding a great apartment in Nashville is an endeavor worth every ounce of your talent; it’s a thriving city filled with friendly people and growing opportunities. And if at times it feels like you’re in the same line for the very same thing everyone else wants, take heart; there’s something for everyone here, most notably, the collective energy that truly makes a city great. Now back to that song you were writing...