Raleigh Apartment Guide

When looking for apartments in Raleigh, you will want to keep a few tips in mind before plunging into the market. A few minutes of planning can make a big difference. Planning ahead will help you save time and ensure that you end up in a place that suits your budget and meets your needs.

As you look at the Raleigh apartment market, you will see that there are many apartments available. There are both new development complexes, older apartment buildings, town homes, and stand alone properties located all over town. Thus, to narrow your list and meet your needs, consider the following four points.

1. The Commute

One element of Raleigh life that is a plague for many residents is the traffic. How far are you willing to drive for work, and under what conditions? Be realistic about what time you would like to get up in the morning and what kind of experience you would like to have driving to work. For many, Beltline accessibility will be a key issue.

However, it is also important to consider how accessible alternate routes will be for you. The Beltline is but one of many ways to navigate the city, and it frequently snarls. Does your potential apartment complex leave you with any other options? Are there only residential streets on your path to work?

If you prefer to take public transportation to work, you will want to make a careful study of the connections. Not all of the suburban areas are well-serviced, and some require multiple switch points to get to a downtown or Research Triangle Park office. Also, some of the stops are not places you would like to be standing around in the evenings, so consider your hours as well as your wallet when choosing to use the bus system.

2. The Kids

If you are looking for an apartment in a child-friendly area, or one in a specific school district, this will also help you narrow your search. While many will try to tell you that ITB (Inside The Beltline) places are the only way to go, many of these apartments do not have good play areas or are older properties. Thus, you will want to research the quality of the neighborhood as well as the quality of the schools before making your deposit on a new apartment home.

You will also want to check the busing policies. In some areas, it is possible to arrange to be bused to another part of town, or you may be forced to bus to a school farther from your desired complex for demographic reasons. Study this carefully to ensure your apartment lives up to expectations in terms of education opportunities for your children.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a neighborhood that is not overrun with kids at all hours of the day or night, you will want to consider some of the centrally located properties. Glenwood South has many new complexes that opened in the spring of 2009 that cater specifically to a young, single professional market. Five Points and the downtown lofts also cater to singles and young married types without children, providing entertainment options within walking distance and a notable absence of the stroller set.

3. The Neighbors

If a neighborhood community is important to you, you will want to spend some time actually cruising the communities. Craigslist, though a popular listing service, does not provide enough insight into the community networks of Raleigh. Spend some time on the ground talking to people, checking out HOA documents, and scoping out the neighbors before you move into the block.

Some of the areas in Raleigh can be very welcoming to outsiders, thanks to the large numbers of students and Research Triangle professionals who regularly rotate through. Others seem to be made up of local folks who’ve never left home and aren’t interested in “outsiders”. This can literally vary cul-de-sac to cul-de-sac, so take the time to research this in advance.

4. The Season

The timing of your move can impact what kinds of places are available. Raleigh is home to a number of universities, so summer-to-summer leases are very common, making apartment availability is the spring and fall somewhat dicey. Though this affects ITB apartments more than North Raleigh properties, it is still something to consider as you look at making your move. You may be able to use it as a means to sublet for a summer to get a feel for the neighborhood you are considering, or simply time your move in the summer months to get greater downtown availability.