I've been thinking lately about where I want to live when I do in fact move back to Minneapolis. I hate to jump the gun, jinx myself, and do a post about what I'm looking for in an apartment but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Ideally, I would love to just move back into the place I was living in before but that is not possible as it was an owner-occupied building so I need that tenant to move out, or for another unit in the building to open up and so far I have only seen one unit up for rent so I don't know if I have a good chance of moving back into that building...
So I've started to think about where exactly I would live if I couldn't live there... which calls to question - what do I value in a neighborhood? Here's my priority list:
1. Safety first. This is an obvious one but bears mentioning as rent certainly differs depending on the neighborhood that you live in. As a single person who lives alone, a safe neighborhood where I feel comfortable walking at night is my top priority.
2. Apartment features. There are certain in-unit features that I won't budge on. I need covered parking (hello, winter is awful here), central air (it's a little known fact that Minneapolis is actually quite hot/humid in the summer), and in-unit laundry.
3. Walking distance to work or walkable distance to public transportation. Ideally, I would like to be able to continue to walk to work - however, I might not be able to find an apartment walking distance from work in the price range I am trying to stay within, so I would also be willing to live in a place where I could walk to a bus stop and take a short bus ride to work. I know rents are higher for places that are closer to the downtown area but that also means I drive less which can mean saving up to $100-150/month on gas. You also save on wear and tear on your vehicle which is more difficult to quantify but for example, I get my oil changed about twice a year now as opposed to around 4 times, and putting on less miles means my car will last even longer (I've had it for 11 years and plan to get at least 4 more years out of it!).
4. Walking distance to grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. I value a pedestrian lifestyle so being able to walk to all of these places is important. And by the way, I consider a grocery store walking distance away if it's within a mile. Did you know there is a website called "Walk Score"?
It's pretty cool as it rates the address and ideally I'd like something
in the 90s, but could compromise and accept a place in the 80s. But I
really want to be able to do most things on foot if at all possible.
5. Close to running trails. I know that I will have to most likely drive to where my running club meets, but on the days when I am not running with the group, I want to be able to walk out my door and have access to a running path that is safe and scenic. Luckily in Minneapolis there are lots of places with great running path options, from the chain of lakes area to the Mississippi river.
Of course, my old condo in Minneapolis had all of these features. The neighborhood was safe, the condo had all the features I was looking for, it was a 0.75 mile walk to work, the grocery store was 0.75 miles away, there were 2 coffee shops within 2 blocks, and several restaurants were walking distance away and I could walk to the light rail which got me to the airport for the bargain price of about $1.75-2.75. (it got a score of 92 for walkability which is classified as walkers paradise). Oh, and the condo building was ON the Mississippi River.
Le sigh. If only I could just click some ruby shoes together and be transported back to my old condo with all my belonging moved in and put away that would be so fabulous. But, since that's not an option, here's hoping that when I do move home, I can find a place that has the 5 attributes that I value most.
When looking for an apartment or home, what mattered/matters most to you? My list can be summed up by saying, "location, location, location." If you live in the US, have you looked up the walk score of where you currently live? My place in Charlotte gets a rating of 82, but that actually seems high to me because besides being walking distance to work, there's not much around me in terms of restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores.