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Old 12-02-2007, 08:42 PM
Location: Madison, WI
1 posts, read 10,837 times
Reputation: 11



My fiancé and I are planning on moving in May of 2008. I am starting the search now because I want to allow for plenty of time to find the right place -- we've had bad luck with apartments in the past.

We are both full-time students, surviving on part-time jobs, scholarships and student loans, so affordability is a must (we need to keep rent under $700 a month). We also have a young daughter, so safety is a top priority.

I am becoming so frustrated already! You really do get what you pay for, and cheaper apartments are either falling apart or in bad neighborhoods.

With that said, I have two questions: first, does anyone have any suggestions for safe and affordable neighborhoods to be searching?

My second question is, does anyone know anything about the Craig Ave. neighborhood? It's off of University Ave. I found a little place (The Cottages at Trillium -- link here: View The Cottages at Trillium Apartments For Rent in Madison, Wiscons - ForRent.com). Based on that, it looks like it might be promising, but again, I want to make sure it's in a good neighborhood.

Any information and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:40 PM
Location: Madison, WI
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I feel bad to say this, but the last time I saw the Trillium cottages they were kind of slummy. Not a bad area, per say, but I'm not sure I'd let my child run around unsupervised. There were some shady characters living there at the time. That had to be 15 years ago though, so they may have gotten better.

You'll be hard pressed to find a two bedroom for less than $790 per month anywhere in town. My friend found one for that, but she looked long and hard (while living here). She lives in Monona.

Do you have a car which would allow you to live further out? The bus system here sucks, but is doable if you have a lot of spare time on your hands.

Feel free to direct mail me with prospects and I'll give you my opinion (for what it's worth).

Oh! Try using startrenting.com. It's helpful.
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:55 PM
Location: Madison, WI
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I lived here 10 years ago and it was very nice then. Not as bad as you might think distance wise and it is right on the bus line. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get to campus from there (and then you have to find parking), but you'll find most things require that long of a trip around here. It is very spread out.

Start Renting - Westhaven Village
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:57 PM
Location: Ithaca NY
286 posts, read 952,520 times
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If you or your partner are a student at the UW, have you looked at the Eagle Heights apartments? They're graduate student/ students with families housing, so very convenient, in a pretty nice area, and SUPER family friendly--pretty much every grad student with children I know lives there. I'm not sure what the rent is, but I've heard that it's by far the most reasonable near campus.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:44 AM
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Default Currenly live at Trillium


The Trillium Cottages were bought within the past 5 years and are now being converted to Condo's. There are still some rentals available, but as leases expire the rentals are being turned into owner occupied homes. There is a new condo managment and is is a nice and safe place to live. Lots of kids live in the area and we have dog breed restrictions. I would recommend it to grad students. We have many who either rent or have bought. It id mostly young couples and people trying to earn equity in a starter home. Let me know if you have any more questions.
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:00 AM
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Trillium neighborhood was one of the University's original attempts at graduate housing decades ago, and was later sold off to private owners that rented them. That development will only get better because it is surrounded by upper middle class neighborhoods. The cheap rentals brought in some extra police calls for a few years, but lately as the homes are being flipped into condos, the area is getting better and better as is common when people own their home and really start caring about their community.
Eagle Heights is also a great spot for grads. There is a heavy Asian grad & doctoral student population there, and I always see tons of kids. A friend of mine lived there and loved it.
Most other rentals will be about $400 per bedroom for a decent family neighborhood.
List some potential addresses for rentals you've found and we can tell you about them street by street.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:07 AM
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I worked for five years for a campus-area landlord, and can tell you that the closer you want to be to the UW campus, the more you're going to pay for both the apartment and parking. The UW has 40,000+ students, and the impact of that large of a transient population on the rental market is a significant one. If you are able to live farther out from the center of town, do so: your rent could be as much as 30% less than you'll find near the campus.

Close to campus, if you want to live in one of the newer deluxe high-rises, you can drop as much as $600 per bedroom for an apartment. For that kind of money, you'll get an adequate apartment (not spectacular) with loud parties down the hall, puke in the hallways and puddles of urine in the elevator. And if you have a car that you want to park in the underground garage, plan on adding on $150/month for parking.

Apartments in century-old mansions downtown that have been chopped up into multiple small apartments are significantly less expensive, but lack many amenities that most people expect. Many have only one or two electrical outlets per room, no garbage disposal or dishwasher, no Internet, non-insulated windows, "interesting" bathrooms, and the floor plans are unique to say the least. Parking would be outdoor but still expensive, probably in the $75-$100/month range.

However, three or four miles from the center of town (which is still a very easy commute if you work or go to school downtown), you will find apartments that usually have more space, were designed as multi-family dwellings from the beginning, and are MUCH less expensive. There are a number of apartment complexes near East Towne Mall that are relatively reasonable, and duplexes and townhouses sprinkled throughout the East side that are in quite nice neighborhoods without costing an arm and a leg. I am not as familiar with the West side, though there are some truly lovely neighborhoods there.

Wherever you look to rent, for heaven's sake, seek counsel from http://www.tenantresourcecenter.org/ before you sign a lease. That is a wonderful organization that not only serves as a mediator for tenant/landlord disputes, but also acts as a kind of "Better Business Bureau" for landlords. If they tell you to avoid a particular landlord, believe me, they have excellent reason to do so. They can also tell you about all the tenant-friendly ordinances that are on Madison's books, which landlords will try to pretend don't exist.

Another very helpful link that you should check out is here: http://www.mge.com/myaccount/averagecost/. That is Madison Gas & Electric's free online access to utility costs for any address in the city. If you consider renting an apartment where you'd need to pay for utilities, particularly heat, you definitely want to do a little research on how much to expect to pay.

Good luck in your hunt! Unfortunately, Madison's attraction as a place to live has a predictable impact on housing costs, but with patience and persistence, it's possible to find a decent place to live without spending an arm and a leg. We'll watch for you at the Farmers' Market next summer!
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:14 PM
Location: Madison, WI
1,734 posts, read 4,615,465 times
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Originally Posted by Mad Taoist View Post
Most other rentals will be about $400 per bedroom for a decent family neighborhood.
Keep in mind that you aren't going to pay $400 for a one bedroom. I paid $395 a month for an efficiency on campus *19* years ago. There is no way you are going to find a one bedroom much below $600 and that is not in a place you'd want to live and definitely not on campus. That said, it isn't like the price doubles for a two bedroom.

My friend looked long and hard and finally did find a two bedroom for $795 a month. It's in Monona so I'd check there.
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:20 AM
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I currently live in a Trillium Condo. I have lived there for going on two years now and I love the neighborhood. I am a single woman living by myself so I was very concerned about security, but I have had absolutely zero problems. There are always a ton of students and professionals who take the bus in the morning to the university area with me. I myself am in law school and the bus line location works out great for me. I had heard that the neighborhood used to be kind of sketchy a while back, but since I have moved there it seems like a really nice place.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:46 PM
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What is the neighborhood like now? (given that these posts were about 2 years ago or older)
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