OT: Ann Arbor Apartment Hunting

Submitted by Silly Goose on July 21st, 2012 at 6:41 PM

So I just got a new job in downtown Ann Arbor (right next to the old Borders) and now I'm starting the hell that is finding an apartment in Ann Arbor in July. I don't make much (can't really afford anything more than $1200) and since I really want to be able to walk everywhere downtown, I'm basically looking at the same things the students have been picking over since last October. Anyone have anyknowledge/insights/advice for finding in town this late in the process?



July 21st, 2012 at 6:52 PM ^

If you don't mind commuting, look in the dozens of complexes on Packard between Ann Arbor and Ypsi. My girlfriend and I moved about two miles out because the price drops drastically and the quality of housing improves dramatically until you get to Platt or so... And the #5 bus goes up and down Packard to downtown Ann Arbor every fifteen minutes during normal times.

NOLA Wolverine

July 21st, 2012 at 6:55 PM ^

Couple places at U Towers availibile apparently (http://www.universitytowers-mi.com/).

Or you could take a summer sub lease (I imagine there's someone with a listing still hoping to get a bite for the end of summer) and try to get a place at Landmark once it opens in the fall (http://www.liveatlandmark.com/). 

I would also consider taking an afternoon to walk/drive around the immediate area and call the numbers listed for leasing agencies. Chances are they're sold out, but there's nothing that indicates they are. 


July 21st, 2012 at 9:36 PM ^

small point: they didn't relent.  PM just coded them slightly different and apparently are no longer in TOS violation.  i have no idea why CL would object at all considering that it obviously drives traffic to them.  then again, CL is a serious oddball when it comes to online entities.


July 21st, 2012 at 7:32 PM ^

I'm going through the exact same thing, except I'm moving to Cleveland. I wish I knew someone in town because 2 bedroom places are literally the same price as a 1 bedroom. 

Not to steal your thread, but if anyone has any input on where to live in Cleveland (I work in the Penton Media Building, a couple blocks from Rock & Roll HOF), and fun stuff to do please let me know. Shot in the dark too, I want to join a mens league for hockey sometime in the fall, not sure if anyone would have any input on that as well. 





EDIT: Also, check out www.hotpads.com. Its basically the same thing as padmapper, but its worth a shot. 

Give It To Wheatley

July 21st, 2012 at 7:32 PM ^

Look into Nob Hill Apartments.  I was in your same situation last summer and was able to move in on relatively short notice.  Rent is reasonable.  Less than a mile walk to downtown on Main Street and .4 miles from The Big House.


July 21st, 2012 at 7:52 PM ^

Up until about 2 months ago, I was working for a property manager in Ann Arbor. As of mid May, we were completely leased until 2013. 

This will definitely be the worst year for finding an apartment in Ann Arbor, though. For 2013-2014, there will be a ton of new inventory on the market, as well as East Quad reopening, and a planned decrease in enrollment. Unless there is a large influx of working people into the area, it will likely shift to a market where renters have the (slight) upper hand. 

magnus_caerulus (not verified)

July 21st, 2012 at 8:00 PM ^

I haven't lived in A2 since 2005, but I leased from Metro properties and they were reasonable if not comparably cheap. Places were all over town and many were sneaky nice. Not sure if they still exist but it's worth a shot. Plus they were flexible after the first year, say you want to do less than 12 month lease. Again things may have changed and they maybe altogether gone or bought out by another company.


July 21st, 2012 at 8:23 PM ^

I was with Metro Property in 2006 and I'll second them.  I forget the manager's name, but I remember he was an old guy with a nice 1970s era convertible.  If he's still running the place, they're cool.  If not, your mileage may vary.  


July 21st, 2012 at 8:29 PM ^

Hmmm, 1200 a month.  

That will get you umh a dive in Kerrytown this year.  It's a bad year for apartments, my buddy owns a bunch of units in Kerrytown and he's totally leased out till 2014 this time.

My advice is consider complexes around the Route 2 and the Route 4 bus routes.  The buses run late into the night on those routes and at worst you can drunk walk it from the bars to your home during the warmer months.  

On Route 2, consider Traver Knoll, Brookside, or the Metro Property location in that area (all right at Barton and Plymouth).  Walk slightly north you can reach a Subway, a Wendys, Nagomi Sushi, a Liquor store, and Cafe Marie.  Walk south and you hit Cottage Inn and a great Korean market.  It's also walkable to downtown if you absolutely must.  You can snag the bus or a short drive up to the Kroger at Plymouth and Nixon.

On Route 4 look at Arbor Village, Arbor Woods and Medford Estates.  All basically right behind the Trader Joes.  Route 14 and Route 4 running during the weekdays.  Route 4 on the weekend.  Trader Joes, a dry cleaners, a sandwhich shop, and a small pharmacy all in walking distance.  Short drive or hop the Route 4 down to the Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, and Qdoba.  Look around and find little hubs like that around a bus route you like.  

On Route 4 I don't advise moving much past Washentaw/Huron Parkway.  It's a popular commuter road and Route 4 goes to hell during rush hour.  You could go out to Spice Tree and the like, but if you want to live in Ypsi find something on Route 3 (the backway between AA and Ypsi).  Geddes doesn't jam up as bad.

Basically yes you can live downtown for under 1200.  But you'll have to search and you won't get as much.  I used to pay 925 or so for a place in Traver Knoll with A/C, free heat, free water, and a giant lot of parking spaces.  I also lived right beside the Leslie Science Center which featured a nature trail and a raptor rehab center.  So you could get drunk and go look at the birds of prey on slow Friday nights.  My buddy in Kerrytown was paying 975 for the unit, plus all utilities, and an extra 50 a month for parking.  For a basement studio.  I strong suggest you consider the 20 minute bus ride in exchange for the nicer place.  You pay a serious premium just to be able to walk to the bar and work.  

Get a GoPass for the bus (many AA companies provide them for free, if you have a valid yellow MCard you ride for free using that), a bike, or even a little scooter thing.  Living out a bit is the best.  Easy access to the highways, still plenty of nice things and you can get to town rather quickly.  


Also consider Highlands and Broadview Apartments right behind North Campus.  You can do a short walk to North Campus and ride the blue bus for free down to Central.  Blue bus service is a bit lame during the summer, but nice during the other 8 month of the year.  When the blue bus is bad you can walk down the hill to the Route 2.  That area offers all the same features as Traver Knoll.  

I realize everyone wants to walk Ann Arbor and enjoy the fact it has an honest downtown, but that just spikes the downtown price to the point you overpay for a subpar studio.  During peak hours the Route 2 and the Route 4 run every 10 minutes.  During slow hours its like every 25 minutes at its worst I think.  Go a bit out of town, save money, and actually get some nice features.  I used to live right between Rackham and still kick myself for not moving further out sooner.  


July 21st, 2012 at 9:50 PM ^

Just moved into Glencoe Hills on Washtenaw just barely past 23 on the Ypsi/Arbor border.

Got a lucky deal for a 1 BR ($699) ... cheaper than the other 1 BRs for some reason.  I'm guessing they had someone leave early for one reason or the other and were trying to fill it quickly.

I can't say I'm thrilled with the community - but I have no reason to complain.  There's not a ton of people in my demo (20s, UM grad), but it's a quick 5-10 min drive to South U, it's super cheap for the size of the apt, they allow dogs, and I'm right on 23 for quick access to the freeways.  Nice pool too.  I'm close enough to campus that I can drive 5 minutes, park at a free spot in the south-east neighborhoods, and walk to the diag in another 10.  In otherwords, it takes me the same amount of time to get anywhere downtown as it did when I lived on/just outside of campus.

So, I wouldn't tie yourself to downtown unless you don't have a car.


July 21st, 2012 at 10:22 PM ^

Definitely check into a GoPass. All employers within the DDA (Downtown Development Area) district  are eligible to offer them to their employees. It costs $10/year, and you get unlimited rides on all city busses. This should help with finding a cheaper apartment.


July 21st, 2012 at 11:55 PM ^

I rented 3 places in Ann Arbor between 2004 and 2010. I never spent more than 2 afternoons looking for any of them; I never started looking earlier than April; I never paid more than 700 to live 0.4-0.8 miles from Angell Hall; and I never paid more than 1150 to live 0.3 miles from Angell Hall, all of this with parking and in places that allowed dogs (which severely restricts options). People very much overstate how hard it is to find places--I found the most expensive place, which was across the street from Quickie Burger, in August and moved in within days. You just have to go in person, explain your situation, and have decent credit so they'll trust you with decent places. You'll strike out at 2 or 3 places that are out of spots, but eventually you'll find something that somebody backed out of at the last minute.


July 22nd, 2012 at 12:35 AM ^

Have you looked into the North Campus/Plymouth area? It's not as exciting as living by Downtown or campus, but the nature up there is absolutely beautiful and the AATA buses are pretty convinent . I spent a year in Willowtree, which was dirt cheap. I also had many friends in the Highlands. 

Abe Froman

July 22nd, 2012 at 1:15 AM ^

try woodland mews townhouses and apartments on ann arbor saline road, south of the stadium and north of eisenhower.  i lived there for three years and highly recommend it. 


* close enough to walk to downtown (though much easier to bicycle)

* apartments and townhouses available (with a garage!)

* rents in range with what you described

* walking distance to whole foods, busch's supermarket, qdoba, the stadium


July 22nd, 2012 at 6:44 AM ^

Ann Arbor Woods - it's off Stadium and the parking lot has stairs directly to Trader Joe's. We never had to grocery shop, we would just walk up there when we wanted to make something, drink beer, etc and buy what we needed. The apartments are older but still nice - since they are old there are mature trees and the walls aren't as thin. We had a 2 bedroom, nice but not luxury with a nice fairly enclosed courtyard to play with our dog, 30 second walk to Trader Joe's, you can walk to campus or the stadium in 20 minutes, and there's a park about 1/2 mile away. Being in a suburb is nice and quiet, too. Plus you can walk to Fraser's Pub. Everyone was super nice. And Huyge lived below us... totally nice guy.

Also it was 700$ for a 2 bedroom. If I moved back to Ann Arbor there's no doubt I'd move back.