Hey, if you need to find out about a company, here's two things I'd recommend:
1. HAND is the Housing and Neighborhood Development office in Bloomington and they keep records of all rental units (complaints, violations, etc.). You can request up to 50 pages of records on a specific address for free. Unfortunately, they are not on the ball (it took me a month to get my results, by then I had just rented, BUT I was able to see the place). If you explain your situation maybe they will expedite things for you. Just have all the information (rental agency, address, your contact info) ready to go and see what they can do for you.
2. The student legal aid at IU does look over leases for students. You could contact them and send the lease. They may have experience with the person you're renting from and can tell you both if there have been any issues and if your lease is kosher. That isn't to say you won't have problems, but at least with a legally sound lease you would have recourse if something went wrong.
Finally, on the whole ground floor thing. As a single woman, I tried avoid ground floor places, but sometimes you can't. From what I've heard about Bloomington the non-violent crimes (aka theft, burglary, etc.) tend to occur in places that were not locked. A lot of undergrads living alone for the first time (especially those living with multiple people) will leave windows and doors unlocked at night or when they're gone during the day for "convenience"...which just means it's convenient to walk in and take stuff. I think, overall, if you play it smart, you'll be OK.
I didn't look on campus because I don't want a roommate and because I have a pet. The on-campus housing isn't really that much of a deal once you consider the quality and amount of space you have compared to an apartment. If you share a 2 bedroom at most off-campus places like you would in the dorms, the price tends to be the same or less (assuming you don't need a landline and/or the highest level cable). On my visit I didn't meet any grad student living on campus.
I think you have to take complaints with a grain of salt. Afterall, if you're pissed about something you're more likely to go post about it than if you're just fine and dandy. Unless it's something crazy like rodents or security issues, I only get concerned if I consisently see multiple negative comments. Alot of places just have comments like "Management is not friendly" or "Service is slow" which to me aren't clear issues, more matters of perspective and expectations.
Hope you get the townhouse. I got a one on Rogers off Craig's List and I'm excited to move in!
Craig's list has a few houses. If you search "student rentals bloomington" you'll get some decent links to companies that rent, but I found most to be taken up. I think undergrads jump on the houses early....
I am still debating between a Regency property (Heritage) and a place I found on CraigsList that I was able to see.
For anyone interested in using CraigsList and making sure all is legit, Bloomington requires all rental properties to be registeted with the Housing and Neighborhood Development office (HAND), and you can request (via fax if you're not in town) information about any violations or complaints on file against the property. It's free up to 50 pages..which I mean, if a property has over 50 pages of complains and violations, you probably don't want to live there anyway. I sent a request Friday about both the properties I'm considering so I'll let yall know how it it takes to process.
I just visited this past week. I liked Regency Management alot, visited two of their properties. They seemed very professional and have a variety of floorplans and properties for different budgets. Craigslist is OK, but I would def. recommend trying to locate a place soon because a lot of undergrads have already leased for next school year, a few of the places I went to visit were all full already!
While having a car makes life easier here (I'm currently doing my master's and about to leave), it's totally possible to get around using the public transportation (buses). If you don't have a car though I'd reccommend living on campus though, you'll be walking to distance to classes and dining halls and close (short bus ride) to a grocery store. You can easily catch a bus to get anywhere downtown or to the mall in the neighboring city.
Hi all. I applied to IU, Emory and OSU..as well as UIC's program in Disability Studies. I've been outright rejected from OSU and Emory in the first week of February. I got an e-mail acceptance from IU on the 5th, their visit weekend is March 4-6. I think like Emory and OSU they take about 3-5 students per year. I've also been accepted to UIC's program so now I have to decide which interdisciplinary subject I'm going to pursue. Good luck all.