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Old 03-09-2012, 09:57 AM
 
37 posts, read 58,566 times
Reputation: 21

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I have moved here for a great job, but I wish I had seen a thread like this before I did! Let's see now, where do I begin? Well, I always learned to go with the bottom line up front, so here goes....

The rental situation in Syracuse is rough! You are either going to pay $900+ a month, live in a 30+ year old complex, or settle down in a ghetto. Forget what others on this site say, I have been living this nightmare for the last 2 1/2 months. Brace yourself newcomers...it's about to get ugly!

First, let me give you some general information on what the norm is here in Syracuse:

1. Heat and water are included in most apartments. You will be paying the rest of the electric bill and the gas bill where applicable
2. A flat refers to an apartment in a home as opposed to a complex.
3. This city is old. The apartment complexes are all (with one or two exceptions) at least 20 years old and look it.
4. Availability of fitness rooms are a 50-50 situation.
5. The appliances in the apartments are old. Some will advertise "new appliances" but up here "new" means five years old or less.
6. This a pocket town. By that I mean that you will be driving thru a nice area and all of the sudden you'll be in the ghetto. Then you continue down the same street and you're in a nice area again. Go left two block and you're back in the ghetto.
7. The apartments here are small. The average two bedroom is 850 sq. feet. One bedroom's are around 700. Studios are perfect if you're cool with living in a large closet.

Now, let me sum up what I call my "Renter's Profile":

1. My kids are grown and gone, so it's just my wife and I.
2.We have a small (20 lbs) dog who is four years old.
3. I was unemployed for a year in 2009, so my credit is decent but not great.
4. I work in the IT field for the Dept of Defense and make over $50k a year.
5. I smoke, but never indoors.
6. I am open to a 1 or 2 bedroom
7. My budget for housing is $800, but I am willing to go to $850.00 for the right place.
8. Prior to moving here I owned my own home for 12 years.
9. I moved from Raleigh, NC.
10. My wife's #1 requirement was that the rental be in a safe location.

Okay that seems pretty reasonable but I knew my weaknesses. I expected to be disqualified from a few places because I have a pet. I also knew that credit was going to be an issue in some of the stricter places but in today's economy it's not uncommon to have bills past due. Let's face it, there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs and/or are behind on bills. I had done my research and found that the average price of rentals was about the same as in Raleigh but I never expected to run into the buzz saw situation that I am facing here. You want details? Well here we go...

I began my search by looking at apartment complexes. I figured that most would be in safe locations, have an exercise room, and be fairly new. At least that's what you get in Raleigh for the price range I was looking at. I was sorely mistaken. As I said earlier, it’s $900 or ghetto and it didn't take long to figure that out

The first two places I went to both had broken door cars in the parking lot and at one there was music blaring from an apartment, and that was at 4:00 in the afternoon! I can't imagine what it would have been like at 9:00 pm on a Friday night!

The next apartment was perfect. It is Steeple Chase in Camillus, and it's like 10 minutes from Syracuse. Great location, very safe area, the complex is maybe 5 years old, and the apartments were beautiful. It was great, until it came time to talk about money. A ONE bedroom was $890.00 a month with an $890.00 deposit, plus the first month's rent, plus a non-refundable $300.00 pet deposit, plus a $30.00 a month pet free, PLUS a $100.00 non-refundable application fee. I did the application and they said that because of my credit score (around 630) that I would have to pay an EXTRA month's security deposit. Total cost of move in = $3060. That's right! $3,060 move-in and $920.00 a month rent. See ya later, Steeple Chase!

Around the corner is another complex. It looked okay and it was in the same area so I figured what the hell, I can go take a look. I didn't even make it to the manager's office. As soon as I walked into the building I could hear every single noise from the apartments. And I mean EVERY single noise. TVs, radios, a dog barking, people talking (not yelling mind you, just normal talking) and some unknown smell in the hallway. I was out of there quick. But you know how it goes when you're apartment hunting; it's hit or miss so I kept looking.

I went to another place in Camillus that looked very nice. Senior community. Saw another that looked nice. Can't make over one thousand dollars a month. Saw another that looked okay from the road, but was a total dump up close. I gave up on Camillus.

The next day it was off to Liverpool. A co-worker told me that there were plenty of nice apartments there so I picked 6 complexes that I wanted to take a look at that allowed dogs. One looked very nice but didn't have any openings until June. One was 30years old and the apartments looked it. Worn out carpets, old appliances, etc. The next three were absolute crap holes. Boards on the windows, garbage in the streets, and the usual broken down cars. BTW, broken down cars are a good sign that you don't want to live there. The last one was okay as far as the apartments themselves went but the laundry room was filthy, had ONE coin-op washer and dryer for a three story building, and there was no exercise room or pool. And make no mistake, fitness rooms and pools are the exception down here. And did I mention that all of these places were between $700 and $775.00 a month? No, I didn't. Goodbye Liverpool!

Okay, so now I'm starting to get the picture. There is no great area in Syracuse so pinpointing my search by location isn't working. I decided to pick up an apartment guide magazine. To my surprise, there were lots of apartments in the mag that I didn't know about. I felt a rush of excitement and I couldn't wait to get out and look at them. My boss gave me a day off to hit the streets and find a place. I shoulda stayed at work!

75% did not accept pets under any circumstances. One did, but it was $750.00 a month (one months rent sec deposit, pet deposit and 1st months for move-in) plus a $40.00 a month pet fee. The complex was 25 years old and although the apartments were nice, they were nowhere near worth $800.00 a month. Off I go again, still feeling confident that today is the day! Looked at what I considered a decent complex in a nice area known as Baldwinsville. Notice I said decent, not good, not great. Probably 20 years old and looked it, but not as bad as what was getting to be the norm. The area is very nice, has good shopping, and the crime rate is very low. There was no exercise room and no pool. It is also 30 minutes from downtown Syracuse where I work. Gas is $3.90 a gallon here and will be over $4.00 soon. I needed something closer. I found one place that was beautiful! It was only 2 years old and the apartments were the best I'd seen. Also had a fantastic swimming pool and an exercise room that rivaled a small gym. On top of all that, they allowed pets and the rent was $800.00 a month. I'm home, baby! And then came the time to talk money. It was the usual deposit, pet deposit, etc, etc. Okay, no problem. I was expecting that. The manager gave me an application and said "Now, before you fill that out, I want you to know that we require an 800 credit score with no exceptions". An 800? Are you freaking kidding me? Do you know what kind of people have an 800? 10 years ago I sold cars as a stop-gap job so I know about credit ratings. An 800 is basically people who make 100,000 a year and/or have never missed a payment on anything...and I mean anything. When I was selling cars (when the economy was great) we had a competition on weekends to see who got the customer with the best credit score. I won a hundred dollars cash because I had a customer with a 790. Sorry, I digress...

If you don't read anything else in this post please read this!!

Now for the best one and I mean that this is the mother of all apartment nightmares. I show up at Covered Bridge apartments in Dewitt. I've been told that it's a very safe area of Syracuse. I had made an appointment, but the apartment manager is pretty apathetic. No big deal, because at this point I don't care. I just want to find a decent apartment. We walk thru the complex to the apartment I'll be renting. It's old and kinda grungy but I've come to expect that. The apartment inside is very nice. I'm impressed compared to what I've seen. We walk into the kitchen and there is a gas stove. I turn on the burners one at a time to make sure they work and then walk to the living room. Out of nowhere I begin to smell gas. Not a little, but a lot. I ask the apartment manager if she could smell it and she says "Yes, but you must have turned on all the burners at the same time". I told her that I had only turned on one at a time. Now the odor is getting worse! It got so strong that we had to open the door to the balcony. The manager then says "I'll have to call maintenance about that. They'll fix it in a couple of days." A couple of days?! Are you kidding me? Gas is leaking somewhere in the place and that's not a "fix-it-now-or-else" priority? Then I walk out on the balcony. It's old and the boards are warped, but here's the kicker: There is a metal ladder coming off the balcony that goes all the way to the ground! All the way!! It's a fire escape, but every other fire escape I've ever seen has a latch part way down to lower it to the ground. Did I say that this one goes all the way to the ground? Yes, I did. They might as well put a sign on the damn thing that says "Burglars enter here". I asked the manager if anyone had ever had a break-in and she said "Oh no, not around here. Well, except for that time a few months ago. There was an older lady who forgot to lock the patio door and someone crawled up the ladder and broke in. They stole her TV while she was asleep". Then she added (and this made me run for the hills), "It was mostly her fault, though. She left the door unlocked, and anyway it was a cheap TV." I looked at her in amazement and walked out without saying another word.

That was the end of my apartment search. I did look at two flats, but one should have been condemned and the other was in a neighborhood where there were houses that are condemned. I gave up. As of right now we are living in a studio in the middle of the country one hour from work (that's another story in itself). Oh, I forgot to mention that there are some really nice studio and one bedroom lofts downtown...starting at $1300 a month for the studios.

In closing, let me just say that if you are going to rent here you better lower your expectations or raid your bank account...or make a boatload of money. If you would like some more detailed information such as the apartment complex names then e-mail me at Moderator cut: personal info GOOD LUCK!!

Last edited by bellafinzi; 03-11-2012 at 08:30 PM.. Reason: remove e-mail address
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:29 AM
 
288 posts, read 436,065 times
Reputation: 302
Honestly, I don't have time to read your whole thread so I dont know if you stated this but why not look at town houses? There are a lot of nice ones in Clay and in Cicero...I'm sure in other areas as well.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Capitol Hill - Washington, DC
3,168 posts, read 4,651,693 times
Reputation: 3395
You probably should've posted here beforehand - many people on this forum have experiences with different apt complexes around the area. There are several very nice complexes that don't have any of those problems. And unless you visited EVERY single apt complex in the area, I think it's unfair to say that EVERY single apt complex is like this.

Also, I'm confused - there is not a Covered Bridge apts in Dewitt - there is one in Liverpool.

I prefer flats over apt complexes any day. Craigslist is your best bet for finding nice flats
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Washington, D.C.
580 posts, read 1,016,076 times
Reputation: 650
Anyone who says that apartments in Syracuse are small has precious little real-world rental experience.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Capitol Hill - Washington, DC
3,168 posts, read 4,651,693 times
Reputation: 3395
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland Park View Post
Anyone who says that apartments in Syracuse are small has precious little real-world rental experience.
I was thinking the same thing. The apt in the complex I lived in was HUGE - it was WAY too big for me (I believe it was almost 1,000 SF for a 2 bedroom)
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:46 PM
 
56,660 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland Park View Post
Anyone who says that apartments in Syracuse are small has precious little real-world rental experience.
I agree. My old apartment at Clayton Manor Apartments was close to 900 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms and the rent was 595-620 a month. I lived there from 2003 to 2008. Utilities were usually 65 dollars or so a month. This was in the older part, but they were quiet and clean. There were other amenities there as well. So, this must be a matter of not asking around on the part of the OP.
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:48 PM
 
56,660 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca8377 View Post
You probably should've posted here beforehand - many people on this forum have experiences with different apt complexes around the area. There are several very nice complexes that don't have any of those problems. And unless you visited EVERY single apt complex in the area, I think it's unfair to say that EVERY single apt complex is like this.

Also, I'm confused - there is not a Covered Bridge apts in Dewitt - there is one in Liverpool.

I prefer flats over apt complexes any day. Craigslist is your best bet for finding nice flats
Yeah, the Covered Bridge comment was a red flag, as was the Baldwinsville is 30 minutes away from Downtown Syracuse comment. Heck, Cortland is roughly 30 minutes from Downtown Syracuse and that is in the middle of the next county south of Syracuse. While there are good and rough pockets, there are parts of the city that are fine in large chunks and outside of city limits has literally few rough areas, if you could call them that.

Also, there was no mention of apartments in the Cicero-North Syracuse area, apartments in the Westhill SD, the Fayetteville-Manlius area and a few other areas.

Here are some apartments with fitness rooms: Syracuse Apartments with Fitness Center For Rent | ApartmentFinder.com

Another thing people forget about is that you can get a house with a mortgage that is on par with rent around here. So, if that is an option, then go for it.

Also, there are other guides and websites that post apartments /rentals.
MapsKrieg - Syracuse, NY - Apartments, Rooms, Sublets, and Real Estate for Sale

Longley Jones Management Corp. - Apartments - - -

http://www.suttoncos.com/management/search_results.php

RealtyUSA - Property - Property-List

Downtown Syracuse

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 03-09-2012 at 02:04 PM..
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:15 PM
 
56,660 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
With Fitness Room and takes pets: Syracuse Apartments with Fitness Center For Rent | ApartmentFinder.com
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:58 PM
 
Location: 213, 310, 562, 909, 951, 952, 315, ???
1,537 posts, read 2,216,684 times
Reputation: 1858
Thank you for posting your point of view. You might have missed the small print on the Syracuse board where if you don't agree with how awesome it is here, you must be small minded and a liar who makes things up. Thank you for sharing your view and helping people who are thinking of moving here a different view than the normal flowery BS that most board members feed people.

This is this person's opinion. What would he have to gain by making things up? Just because his opinion is different, it doesn't make him or her wrong.
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Washington, D.C.
580 posts, read 1,016,076 times
Reputation: 650
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToeJam View Post
Thank you for posting your point of view. You might have missed the small print on the Syracuse board where if you don't agree with how awesome it is here, you must be small minded and a liar who makes things up. Thank you for sharing your view and helping people who are thinking of moving here a different view than the normal flowery BS that most board members feed people.

This is this person's opinion. What would he have to gain by making things up? Just because his opinion is different, it doesn't make him or her wrong.
There's nothing flowery about it. I don't like the quality of rentals - or the quality of the people who offer rentals - I've come into contact with in Syracuse, but I don't think his claim about the size of apartments is grounded in fact. Even the number he cited (700 square feet for a one-bedroom) is a high one.

It's not necessarily a wrong opinion because it's different. But it might be wrong on its merits. I've never lived in a place that has larger units than those I've seen in Syracuse. I type this from an 850-square-foot unit that is a third larger than my apartments in Washington and New York.
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