Safe, clean, inexpensive place to live~ Coconut Grove area? (Miami: apartments, to rent)
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How can I find a nice, inexpensive place to live in Florida? I am interested in relocating to the Coconut Grove area, but am completely unfamiliar with the area, and have no idea where to begin. A brief overview of myself: I am a single, responsible, 26-year old female from a small town in the Midwest. I have always been very fortunate in regards to my living situations, which I am very grateful for. (I am extremely obsessive about the cleanliness of the place where I live, and couldn't imagine living in an apartment where I'd be afraid to touch the kitchen counter, or use the bathroom, or walk on the carpet, etc... even after cleaning them. Yes~ I'm really like that, no kidding.) I'm also very health-conscious and wouln't want to be exposed to any of the various chemicals used by many places for pest-control. (Now don't judge me, we all have our quirks, and these are mine.) Finances are an issue, as I have only a high school education and work regular jobs. The ideal situation would be to find a nice, trustworthy couple or family with an extra bedroom and bathroom, who would be willing to rent it out for some extra income. (My background is clean, my credit is good, I always pay my bills, and I pay them on time.) This would be a possibility in the area where I'm from (mostly through church connections, I suppose), but is this just naive thinking and crazy-talk for a big, urban area like Florida? Would love to hear your thoughts... be kind.
LOL. Enjoyed your brief but honest response. I do have a small savings, and would definitely have a job lined up before I moved down... I've been looking at CareerBuilder and other similar websites to see what's available in the area. But if I always do what I've always done, I'll always get what I've always got... and I don't want life to pass me by. I'm ready for a little adventure~ and am determined, creative, and resourceful when I need to be. It's good to know what I'm getting into though. Thanks! Any more thoughts? Anyone?
Well, a clean place is hard to find in Miami, especially is you are looking to find a cheap place. In the grove, there aren't any safe, cheap and clean (3 for 3). For cheap, you will have crime, scary neighbors and filth. If you pay 1,000, you will have a liveable place in the area you are considering.
In Miami there is an overabundance of unskilled labor with no training or college. Te crap jobs here that they can't fill in the rest of the country are actually competitive! Who would have known there were multiple applicants to work at BK?? Well there are, and those jobs tend o go to the most disturbed, jaded and uneducated people. Here, a manager will look at you and size you up by seeing you aren't from the area, you appear very nice and that just doesn't cut it here.
The only way I would recommend you to come to Miami would be with a job and housing lined up already, in addition to a healthy income.
Now, going against my advice, you could rent a room in a house on Little Havana. Ads appear in Spanish LAS AMERICAS newspaper bought on street. You will need to know Spanish...and the house apartments would be on a case by case basis, you visit a few and see which ones are the best. There are some liveable places out there like that. But, it is not Coconut Grove, and you would need a car, and there is the cultural and language issues.
at7815: I will definitely check out CraigsList, as you suggested. Thank you!
eufo: I respect honesty and certainly don't mind someone getting straight to the point, so no apologies necessary. To answer your question~ I admittedly have a limited knowledge of Florida, but I have heard many wonderful things about cities such as Coconut Grove, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Boca Raton... that they are fairly clean and safe, have a nice community atmosphere to them, etc. Out of these cities, Coconut Grove simply puts me within a comfortable distance of a neat little church that I'd like to get plugged-in to.
Chelito23: A lot of very helpful information. The Florida-area apartments that I've come across during my brief internet searches (so far) have mostly been in the $1,000-$2,000+ range (as you pointed out), which I doubt I could afford. In the area I'm currently living in (the Midwest), there are many nice, well-kept apartments in the $550+ range, and these are in safe neighborhoods. You can get a brand new, one-bedroom apartment with plenty of perks, for $700 on up. I completely understand that the cost-of-living in a place like Florida would be significantly higher... still, I was hoping to find at least a well-kept studio, possibly in the $600 range. Call me crazy. The work situation in Florida is a little surprising; where I'm from, we generally save the fast-food (and similar) jobs for our junior and senior high school students. But I understand the situation, as you explain it. Right now I'm working as a Personal Care Assistant, but don't know how that would translate down in Florida. I do have clerical experience, which may be more helpful in the area. Will have to do more research. I am pretty familiar with the Latino culture, as I've had a great deal of exposure to it from friends, co-workers, and even my brother-in-law (who happens to be from Mexico~ although he has a college education and speaks English fluently). Unfortunately, my Spanish is pretty limited. I can get by with the very basics~ but I mean the very basics. I've noticed that many of the area jobs even require you to be bilingual. Maybe I need to take some classes... Anyway, Florida is a different world! I'll make sure I'm fully prepared before I make any kind of move.
I admittedly have a limited knowledge of Florida, but I have heard many wonderful things about cities such as Coconut Grove, Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Boca Raton... that they are fairly clean and safe, have a nice community atmosphere to them, etc. Out of these cities, Coconut Grove simply puts me in within a comfortable distance of a neat little church that I'd like to get plugged-in to.
There is a big difference between "The Grove" and the other cities listed. I guess it depends on what you are looking for. "Clean, safe and nice community" certainly sounds more like Boca Raton, not Coconut Grove. In fact, of the areas listed, I would put Coconut Grove at the bottom of the list. Coral Springs and Coconut Creek have some decent areas as well. You may also want to check out Parkland (in the same general area).
I'm about to move to Miami and just did an apartment-search there. I'm coming from a place with similar prices to what you described, so it is a big adjustment!
I looked at 2 places in safe areas of Coconut Grove -- one was $1,000 and a little smelly, the other was nicer for $1300 (but smallish). I found better options in nearby Coral Gables, but still in the $1,200-$1,300 range for a clean, safe, 1BR apartment. (Granted, I was looking for a place that took pets, so you may have more options!)
I was looking into studios and house-shares initially; looks like there are decent house-shares in Coral Gables for $650 and up, if you're willing to share with 2 roommates, and I found a tiny studio apartment in a house (furnished, but without a real kitchen/stove) for $700. (Studios in regular apartment buildings seem to be about $1,000.) I didn't see these places in person, but they looked fine in the pictures. You might check with the university's off-campus housing office, as well as Craigslist.
Hope this helps, and best of luck to you on your adventure!
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