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Strange question.

Coming from NYC, I'm used to bringing my entire financial life with me for apartment hunting. What kind of documentation do I need to bring when I apartment shop? Is there a rule of thumb about needing a guarantor?

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Strange question.

Coming from NYC, I'm used to bringing my entire financial life with me for apartment hunting. What kind of documentation do I need to bring when I apartment shop? Is there a rule of thumb about needing a guarantor?

I think the most you would ever need might be proof of income, apart from ID and previous references and all that.

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Is it possible to get a studio/efficiency or 1 bedroom for $600 or under? Also - I heard that the Northeast was cheap but based on Craig's List it seems more expensive than Uptown. Is Craig's List not the best for apartment hunting in Minneapolis?

Also - when would be a good time to look for apartments for August 1st? Should I come in late June/early July? Will a 3 day visit be enough time to secure a place?

Thanks in advance.

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A lot of good info, but as someone who lived in Minneapolis/St Paul for 7 years (4 as an UG), and loved it, I want to add some points:

- You can definitely find a studio for under $600, even a 1br. At that price, though, for a 1br, you will have to do some tradeoff between size, quality and neighborhood. I had a large 1br in an old, unrenovated (but historic and quite charming) apartment in a marginal neighborhood for $685. But when I left, it took the LL months to find a replacement, so it's possible I paid over-market value.

- A good neighborhood that hasn't been mentioned is Seward, which is south of the West Bank. This is a really cute neighborhood with a nice mix of students and families. It has a great co op, several supermarkets, a few coffee shops and some great restaurants. It's also right near the river, which is nice. The rents there are cheaper than Uptown. Oh, and it has a Light Rail stop, so it's convenient to get downtown or to the airport/mall of america.

- In general, you might want to avoid the neighborhoods north of Lake St, between Hiawatha and Nicollet*. These neighborhoods, Phillips and Whittier are some of the only high-crime neighborhoods in Mpls. Of course, it's Minneapolis, so the crime rates are still low, but there are definitely better neighborhoods to live in. These neighborhoods do have some good restaurants, though, so definitely check them out in the daytime.

- Minneapolis has some of the best food I've ever had, and I've lived in NYC, Seattle and Boston. Particularly good is the Vietnamese food. Mpls also has a huge, cheap farmer's market, which is great for that grad student budget.

- I like St Paul a lot, especially the Grand Ave area, but beware that the express buses from this neighborhood only run at rush hour. If you expect to socialize in Mpls or work late in the lab, you might want to live near University Ave - there's a bus that runs down University Ave straight to the U and it runs all night.

*Though close to Nicollet it's a lot safer, and Niollet has some of the best restaurants in the city (its nickname is Eat St).

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I should mention that I'm renting a place from Dinnaken Property Management (http://www.dinnaken.com). They have a couple of undergrad apartments, and then two senior/grad apartments. All four of these places are just East of campus, and their rates are pretty reasonable for the location. They've been really pleasant and helpful all year. The two grad places (Tairrie House and Fulton Townhomes) tend to fill up quickly, so you may want to get on the waiting list now if you're interested. Again I'm not affiliated, except that I'm renting here.

as a native of minneapolis who did my UG there (chemE, top 3 program in the nation baby!), i can second dinnaken as awesome.

I lived in the fulton townhomes (603 Ontario #2 AND #1 to be exact) for four years--one year in #2 and three years in #1, and it was awesome. The apartment is only ten years old now so they are still really new and nice, and are very, very well maintained. When I left, I was paying $805 for a one bedroom with a huge bedroom and walk-in closet, and with a private garage for an extra $50 a month.

FWIW the nice thing was i was good party buddies with my neighbors and had none on any side except one (end unit) but there was a stairwell buffering our apartments so i could literally crank the stereo as loud as i wanted and have parties/prebooze before hopping on the 5 minute bus ride into downtown minneapolis for four years, and not one complaint from anyone.

If i hadnt moved to japan, id probably still be living there as a post graduate student if i was staying in minneapolis.

aside from the townhomes, their other properties are nice too and well worth looking into. great neighborhood, in the stadium village side of campus with little/no crime and all the rich hotties over in university commons and melrose apartments nearby :)

i miss minneapolis now :(

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- In general, you might want to avoid the neighborhoods north of Lake St, between Hiawatha and Nicollet*. These neighborhoods, Phillips and Whittier are some of the only high-crime neighborhoods in Mpls. Of course, it's Minneapolis, so the crime rates are still low, but there are definitely better neighborhoods to live in. These neighborhoods do have some good restaurants, though, so definitely check them out in the daytime.

Okay, what does "high crime" really mean in Minneapolis? I'm thinking that I will probably end up at UMN, but I'm moving from a semi-dodgy part of Los Angeles, which means it's really difficult to put things like crime, cost of living, etc. into a relative picture. Can someone give me some perspective? Also, how diverse are the twin cities?

For housing, do most places allow cosigners? How important are references? (my current landlords hate me because I actually call them when the front gate breaks, or the plumbing has issues, etc. you know, basic habitability stuff.)

Any tips for adapting to the cold?

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Okay, what does "high crime" really mean in Minneapolis? I'm thinking that I will probably end up at UMN, but I'm moving from a semi-dodgy part of Los Angeles, which means it's really difficult to put things like crime, cost of living, etc. into a relative picture. Can someone give me some perspective? Also, how diverse are the twin cities?

You more than likely won't have a problem with crime. This will especially be true if you live in one of the suburbs, of which there are many, which ring around the Twin Cities. I knew a girl who used to work on the U of M campus and would regularly walk alone back to her car across campus between 10 p.m. - 12 a.m. (must have been at least half a mile) and did not have problems. Granted, I did get worried and she didn't walk in extremely sketchy areas, but still.

If by "diverse" you mean multi-cultural, well Minnesota is mostly white. The Twin Cities have a higher percentage of African Americans, Africans, Hmong, and probably Latinos than other parts of the state. Actually, there's a high population of Somalis in Minneapolis - I think one of the highest populations in any U.S. city.

Any tips for adapting to the cold?

Bundle up. January and February can get quite cold, but it can be quite nice during the other months of the year. This is probably why Minnesotans are optimistic people - after braving through the winter, they appreciate and value the weather during the Summer months much more than people who might experience nice weather all year round.

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Thanks to all the users above for the info and tips. I have a vehicle-related question. When I visited the city last month, humongous snow piles were on both sides of the roads, and a plethora of cars were seen buried/semi-buried in the snow. That kinda scared me. Also, my car is rear wheel drive, which is horrible for snowy conditions. Therefore, I am tempted to get a truck when I move here. Would owning a truck (vs a car) somehow better your life during snowy days? Experiences? Suggestions?

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Thanks to all the users above for the info and tips. I have a vehicle-related question. When I visited the city last month, humongous snow piles were on both sides of the roads, and a plethora of cars were seen buried/semi-buried in the snow. That kinda scared me. Also, my car is rear wheel drive, which is horrible for snowy conditions. Therefore, I am tempted to get a truck when I move here. Would owning a truck (vs a car) somehow better your life during snowy days? Experiences? Suggestions?

We' ve had more snow than usual this winter. That being said, the city typically does a pretty good job of plowing. In Minneapolis and St. Paul it gets tricky because of the street parking and budget cuts - streets are only getting plowed twice a week. I live in the suburbs and my rear-wheel drive vehicle is great most of the time. If I do have to drive into the city during bad weather, it's slow going and sometimes I'm afraid I won't get out of the parking space I've gotten myself into. Full-wheel drive is a huge plus, but not essential. I don't know what you mean by "truck," but I wouldn't recommend a pick-up. Unless you want to sandbag the back, they have trouble not fishtailing on the highway. An SUV is really what you'd want, though gas isn't cheap here. No matter what, get snow tires!

Hope that helps!

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I am also heading to Minnesota this fall (YAY!) and have wondered about exchanging my compact car for something with all-wheel drive. I'm currently thinking about trading in for a front-wheel drive with traction control. I don't know if that will be as useful or safe, however.

I mostly wanted to say hello and hopefully meet others who are headed to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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Hope that helps!

it certainly does! thanks a bunch. i still have a long wait till i head to minneapolis... so i should be able dig some more and make up my mind by the time i move.

I am also heading to Minnesota this fall (YAY!) and have wondered about exchanging my compact car for something with all-wheel drive. I'm currently thinking about trading in for a front-wheel drive with traction control. I don't know if that will be as useful or safe, however.

I mostly wanted to say hello and hopefully meet others who are headed to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

hi there! glad to meet another UMN attendee :)

i am thinking almost the same... preferably a jeep-type vehicle or similar. although blurinoutline mentioned that gas is $$, i don't drive very much - only to groceries and for running errands (i've barely put 2k miles on my car this year). so the gas price shouldn't bite me that hard, no matter what kind of vehicle i bring.

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Other than making sure you don't have rear wheel drive (which apparently sucks), you don't really need anything special. It's more about knowing how to drive in adverse conditions than having the right kind of vehicle/tires (though no matter what, you should adjust tire pressure with the seasons, though that's easy enough to do). Drive slower. If you start to slide, pump the brakes, don't slam on them. If you start to spin out, turn the wheel the opposite direction to correct. If you're stuck in a parking spot, rock back and forth to get moving, don't just slam on the gas and spin in place. And once you do start to move, take full advantage of that momentum to power your vehicle through the snow.

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I'm used to driving in bad weather, but I lost control of my car earlier this year and was very lucky that traffic was light, so no one hit me. My car doesn't have side air bags, traction control, or a number of other new-ish safety features, but I've been holding off on replacing it until I knew where I was going (warm Arizona, why no admissions love?) and what kind of funding I would have. Smart driving is definitely the best safety feature of all, of course, and I'll have to balance savings with car with housing.

Speaking of which, can anyone comment on the traffic patterns on 94 and 35? Bad commuting, doable? We're thinking about buying a two-bedroom, single-family fixer-upper, since we're moving two adults and two dogs, and the real estate market looks more affordable, over five years, than the rental market. I'm having trouble comparing neighborhoods to bus routes, too. I'd love to be fairly close to the university (east bank campus), with a decent public transmit commute, if I could be picky. If I can't be picky, a windproof tent will be great!

bhikhaari - Congratulations on your acceptance! Will you have the chance to visit the university? I've never been and am looking forward to the "welcome weekend."

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Most likely will end up at UMn too. Quite excited to be honest. I have a ton of questions about Minnesota (and the US in general) so I will be sure to drop by here often.

From what I've understood of this thread, public transport in Minneapolis is quite good by American standards?

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I'm an undergrad at the U now, so feel free to hit me up with any questions.

Yes, the public transportation is quite good, and it will only get better once the new lightrail line from downtown Minneapolis running through campus to downtown St. Paul is finished. I bike year-round, even during these past few -25+F mornings, but when necessary, the lightrail runs near my house, which is a few miles from campus. If you're living nearer to campus though, there's tons of express and regular bus options that will get you there in 15 or so minutes, depending on the neighborhood, of course.

Edited by maximalist

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bhikhaari - Congratulations on your acceptance! Will you have the chance to visit the university? I've never been and am looking forward to the "welcome weekend."

thanks! and to you as well! i visited the st paul campus a couple weeks ago for the interview/recruitment thing. i liked it. snow was everywhere, of course, but the 'feel' of the place was good. although we didn't get to see most of the city, the part surrounding the campuses are pretty good. lots of restaurants, shops, etc. so far, i think i like it.

I'm an undergrad at the U now, so feel free to hit me up with any questions.

i have one. can you provide any whereabouts regarding motorbike parking? how many spots on each campuses, free/contract $$, etc? thanks

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Speaking of which, can anyone comment on the traffic patterns on 94 and 35? Bad commuting, doable? We're thinking about buying a two-bedroom, single-family fixer-upper, since we're moving two adults and two dogs, and the real estate market looks more affordable, over five years, than the rental market. I'm having trouble comparing neighborhoods to bus routes, too. I'd love to be fairly close to the university (east bank campus), with a decent public transmit commute, if I could be picky. If I can't be picky, a windproof tent will be great!

As others have said, public transportation is pretty good. I would not recommend commuting if it involved you taking the highways, they're miserable around rush hour.

never mind.. i found out that moped and motorbike parking is free on campus - which as super awesome!

I'd keep an eye on that, because I believe that either just changed or will be changing soon. I think you might have to apply for a permit, now.

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I am leaning more and more towards going to Minneapolis and have some questions about housing. I know it has been discussed to some extent in this thread during the last years but I thought I'd see if there is any advice for me. I am looking for:

- Studio or 1BR.

- Within walking/bicycling distance of the U.

- Within walking distance of shops selling groceries (fresh foodstuffs).

- As few UGs as possible.

My budget will be around $800 on rent per month. What areas should I concentrate looking at?

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As others have said, public transportation is pretty good. I would not recommend commuting if it involved you taking the highways, they're miserable around rush hour.

Thanks for the advice. I'm looking around the University/Como area, which looks like it would allow me to take a bus into campus, which would drop off closer to my building than any of the parking structures. Unfortunately, because I have a disability, I do need to have a car and will be commuting to doctors/physical therapy, etc. I wish that I could just get rid of the car completely!

Does anyone have any advice about the Como neighborhood? I read earlier in the thread that "northeast" of the university isn't the best neighborhood, but I'm not sure what area that refers to.

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Driving on 94 and 35 during rush hour is pretty horrible. I've spent a half hour before driving the mile from 35 to 94W. Public transport is pretty good, especially around campus. The campus shuttle is free and runs all the time. And you CAN get around without a 4-wheel drive, if you can drive in the snow. Sometimes, however, it is just wiser not to go out into a blizzard.

As far as bike, moped and motorbike parking on campus goes-- be careful! Campus security loves giving people expensive tickets for parking in the "wrong places." I had a friend get a $100 ticket for leaving her bike outside the building we were having class in. They should have spent more time keeping students from being shot in front of the dorm rooms.

As far as living close to campus and having walking access to grocery stores? Good luck with that. You can live near Dinkytown, but I think the only grocery store there (tiny, old, and expensive) closed this year.

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Yeah, close to campus + walking distance groceries can be hard to find near UMN... but it totally depends on your definition of walking distance. As for studio/1BR for <800, that can be feasible. But depending on how far or close you want to live to campus, you might have to compromise with room size, condition, and so on. I am thinking about getting my own room and bath in a house with others, and the cost averages around 500. Not bad I think.

I have another question to those who are currently living or have lived around campus (esp St Paul area) - can a RWD (I have a mustang, regular tires) manage to take you to the groceries during the winter? Of course I won't drive during a blizzard, but driving to groceries and occasional ride outs is a must. How good is snow cleaning (after a snowfall) in the streets in residential/student areas in St Paul? And in the groceries?

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