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Old 03-27-2011, 07:29 PM
2 posts, read 4,555 times
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Hi There,
We're moving to Madison from Boston this June, after graduation from grad school. Two adult females and a very sweet black lab. We're having trouble finding anything that rents before Aug 15, and a nice place that takes dogs. Anyone have any leads on how to find a friendly, hardwood floored house/apartment with a yard that's dog friendly? We search craigslist every day. Do people use brokers to find apts in Madison?

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Old 03-29-2011, 06:11 AM
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Hi and welcome to Madison. And congratulations on your graduation!

I suspect that your biggest barrier in finding what you're looking for is going to be that very sweet black lab. There aren't many apartments in Madison that welcome dogs, and those that do often have a size limit (i.e., not over 40 pounds) that they enforce pretty rigorously. We had the devil's own time finding a place to rent with our lab when we moved here twelve years ago, and basically had to give up on all our other criteria (size, location, amenities, etc) to find a place that would accept a 90-pound dog.

Might I ask what area of town you're looking at? If all you're finding is August 15 move-in dates, that sounds very much like you're focusing on places right downtown, close to campus, as August 15 is the day that pretty much all campus-area leases start. I'd strongly recommend against that area if you are not students yourselves, and particularly with the dog; there just aren't many places downtown where a dog can stretch its legs. And it'll be easier to find something other than an August 15 lease start date if you look farther afield.

I've never heard of people in Madison using brokers to find apartments, though I suppose it could happen with a very high-end place and with very well-heeled applicants who don't want to do the work themselves. That's more a big-city kind of thing, and at 200K people, Madison is a long, long way from big city status.

One resource you might want to check out is Start Renting, here: Start Renting - Search for your Madison, Wisconsin Apartment. Back when I was working for a Madison landlord, that was where a lot of the more reputable and non-student property rental companies advertised their availabilities. I'm afraid that I haven't heard much good about Craig's List, though your experience may differ.

I'll also add a recommendation for Tenant Resource Center as being a great place to get recommendations about landlords in the area. They mostly do arbitration in tenant-landlord disputes, but they also can give you an idea of whether or not a particular property management company has a good reputation in town. They can also answer your questions about any tenant/landlord city ordinances. Best to call rather than emailing, as they are largely volunteer-staffed, and sometimes slow to respond to emailed inquiries.

The other place you'll want to investigate before signing a lease is Madison Gas & Electric's energy use website, here: Average Energy Use and Cost for Residential Addresses. You can find out the high, the low and the average utility cost for any address in the city there, and if you wind up in a place where you pay your utilities, you'll want to get an idea there of how much to expect that January heating bill to be before you sign the lease.

Good luck and I hope you find a spot you like!
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:43 AM
2 posts, read 4,555 times
Reputation: 11
Default Thank You

That's a lot of helpful information, and I really appreciate it. We are looking for the Willy St area or the Atwood Neighborhood. We keep finding great places...but seem to be the second (not the first) people to apply for each place. We'll keep trying...and thanks for the resources!
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