Register
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 36
  1. #1
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default reccomendations for a family looking for a rental in university city?

    recently relocated to the area for work and staying temporarily with a friend, i am looking for a rental for my family so i can get them moved into the area at the end of december. craigslist and other sites have produced dismal results and after trying to work with a realtor shes pointing me to places that are everywhere except where i want to live.

    we are in our 30's with two toddlers..lower mid income.. we are more of a quiet evening at home type rather than going out and being part of the social scene. we love markets, farmers markets, parks, libraries.. .and generally spending family time together. wife is a stay at home mom, and we will end up homeschooling. i typically would love a bike commute within a 20/30 minute range of upenn.
    wife is a stay at home mom, so security and safety is a plus while i am at work.

    hoping to find a 3 bedroom with central air at the least... and under a grand a month if possible and wondering if any current university city residents know of anything open and could make a reccomendation?

    i hear the areas south of spruce, north of baltimore and east of 50th are the best.... but everyone has an opinion.
    ive also tried a couple of apartment places in the area who have been advertising, but cant get anyone to call me back. :-/

    any advice and help would be great.

    bob

  2. #2
    annie's Avatar
    annie is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    West Philly
    Posts
    2,426

    Default

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

    That said, this
    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    hoping to find a 3 bedroom with central air at the least... and under a grand a month if possible
    + this
    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    south of spruce, north of baltimore and east of 50th are the best
    = no apartment for you.

    The houses and buildings in this area are old, quite old. The only way you are going to get central AC is if a place has been renovated recently which means a three bedroom there won't be going for $1,000. Similarly, the areas you've picked are in highest demand and unlikely for there to be any three bedrooms for even around $1,000. I live west of 50th street and have lived south of Baltimore (both in areas prettier than some parts of the region you've outlined) and you don't fall off the map or anything. The realtor was right to point you to an expanded search.

    This didn't used to require registration but now it does. You might have some luck searching:
    University of Pennsylvania | Off Campus Housing Search | Account Login

    But I think you're going to have to search farther north, south or west and/or knock off a bedroom and/or get rid of the AC requirement. Good luck.

  3. #3
    boognish is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    West Philly/Uni City
    Posts
    962

    Default

    I'll second everything annie wrote. There's simply too much competition for housing stock. Additionally, I'll underline the "get rid of the AC requirement" condition. Apartments with AC are few and far between. That said, you can purchase fairly inexpensive window units for $200 or so around Labor Day at the big box stores. Not an issue if you're off the ground floor or if you have a window with an AC cage.

    Not sure about the whole "south of Spruce" part. Lots of nice places on Locust.

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid there just isn't much to be had in this area for less than $1000/month, and that's quickly including 2 bedroom apts.

    Please feel free to bounce ideas off us. We're happy to help out where we can.

    Bon chance!

  4. #4
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default

    some of the places i am planning on trying to look at include peach st between chestnut and walnut... south wynnnewood near cobbs creek park.. and 51st near kingsessing park?

  5. #5
    Molly Pepper is offline Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    78

    Default

    Well, I'm in my 30's, am lower to middle income, have a 4 year old and my social scene involves spending my days in various west/southwest playgrounds, and plan on homeschooling...so i can relate it seems. I bought a house 7 years ago on 51st right down the street from kingsessing park and i think it was one of the BEST decisions of my life. 13 trolly takes you everywhere, the satellite cafe ion baltimore ave. is the most toddler friendly coffee house i have ever been to, and the library is right there. Haven't had crime problem except for metal items taken off my font porch, and the kingsessing community of neighbors is a great and welcoming neighborhood group. your dream of central air....well if you let go of that you may find everything else

  6. #6
    seand is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    West Philadelphia
    Posts
    11,867

    Default

    Most architecture in this area uses hot water radiators for heat so central air and tearing up the entire house to install ducts and vents for central air is extremely expensive and not going to be an option in an affordable apartment. Annie is right on that.

    Molly Pepper is right that areas that might seem just beyond whoever's arbitary border by a block or two are going to be a better deal to quality of life ballance. Closer to Baltimore has more living ammenities (coffeeshops, restaurants, the Mariposa Coop), more kids/families you probably have shared interests with. Not that there are not kids, just probably parents/granparents not as likely to want to talk to you about oganic, decomposing diapers or whatever.

    Closer to the el is a little more convenient that close to a trolley line but you may feel more isolated.

  7. #7
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default

    wondering if i can get opinions on these areas...

    5200 block of chancellor

    springfield at 52nd...

    44th and chestnut

    40th and spruce

    thanks

  8. #8
    annie's Avatar
    annie is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    West Philly
    Posts
    2,426

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    40th and spruce
    This is a scam. Studios at this intersection were going for near $1,000 six years ago. Frat/undergrad central (hence the high demand/price).

    The following two places both have their pluses and minuses. Chestnut Street has more things immediately on the block and area but it also more high traffic and will be nosier. Parking could be issue there. Springfield is entirely residential and so farther to the shopping district.

    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    springfield at 52nd...
    Near Kingsessing Library. Near Farm 51. Near Kingsessing Rec Center and playground (could be plus in summer as has pool, cons littered not well patrolled by city). Chester Avenue trolley to take you into city and straight shot into Clark Park at 45th. Not too far from Baltimore Avenue shopping but your wife may want to head up 50th or 49th to walk there as traffic on 52nd in between Baltimore and Springfield goes fast (area briefly kind of industrial). 51st street doesn't intersect with Baltimore Avenue from Springfield (train tracks in between). Lots of dining and shops available on Baltimore as well as Cedar Park and playground. Some great cultural activities for kids at the Calvary at 48th and Baltimore . Mariposa Food Co-Op near 49th and Baltimore though it is not inexpensive. Near MollyPepper.

    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    44th and chestnut
    Not too far from Walnut Street West Library (40th Street) and 40th Street shopping/dinning for that matter. Unnamed playground close by at 45th and Sansom. (Actually you should check out the whole playground website, Zora Plays, as it is a good introduction to the greater West Philly neighborhood, its playgrounds and people). The block itself has a nice coffee shop, Kaffa Crossing, and excellent Pakistani restaurant, Wah-Gi-Wah. The other restaurants on the block are not well-loved. Nearby 45th Walnut-Locust has some of the neighborhood's favorite restaurants. Close to Aldi discount grocer and Supreme regular grocer. 21 bus into Center City right on Chestnut but that also means street is high-traffic. 46th Street subway stop nearby but that may be for day use only the station has lighting/safety issues that police and University City District are trying to address. West Catholic High School is at 45th and Chestnut so may be some noise associate with arrival/dismissal. Intersection at 43rd and Chestnut might seem weird because of the partially collapsed yet partially still in use church. The towers to the north are public housing but set off own campus.

  9. #9
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default

    annie, you are making me feel much better about the whole process.. and the playground link is extraordinary, how about these?


    55th and hadfield.... or the general "cobbs creek" area?

    or the general area between springfield and the septa tracks below the cemetery>?

  10. #10
    seand is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    West Philadelphia
    Posts
    11,867

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    annie, you are making me feel much better about the whole process.. and the playground link is extraordinary, how about these?


    55th and hadfield.... or the general "cobbs creek" area?

    or the general area between springfield and the septa tracks below the cemetery>?
    Not to sound like those "not passed this line" folks but out past 53rd and whatever or 54th and whatever you are a far, far away from ammenities on the Baltimore Ave. (45th to 50th) stretch. Far enough its a bit a haul with your stroller and you are doing most things with your car.

    And not particularly close to the convenience of the el either, for that matter. Unlike some of the Walnut Hill suggestions earlier.

    Thats not a "that neighborhood is too dangerous" statement, its just stating you are really pushing the boundaries of walkable convenience.

    By "below the cemetary" you mean SW Philly south of Mt. Moriah. Thats about as bombed out as Philly gets and far, far away from the land of pedestrian convenience. At least till you get all the way out to Eastwick - which is more middle class. Bland but middle class.
    Last edited by seand; 12-04-2012 at 05:56 PM.

  11. #11
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default

    so i went to the 5200 block of chancellor tonight.. and the people were late so i stood on the stoop waiting. pretty soon a police car rolls up and stops and asks me what i am doing there. i guess i looked out of place... which i quickly figured out that i was.

    i explained i was waiting on someone to show me the place because i was considering renting and asked what their reccomendation would be.. and he says:

    "i reccomend you get off this block as fast as you can and go home"

    wow. and then things like "trust us, we work here" and "the last thing you want to do is live HERE"

    i guess there is no better opinion than the cops? after that i went to 30th st station to hop a train and asked one of the cops there what he thought and he pretty much said i should be trying to look in center city.. and to steer clear of anything above the upper 40s in uni city.

    heres to hopin something better pops up!

  12. #12
    annie's Avatar
    annie is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    West Philly
    Posts
    2,426

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    so i went to the 5200 block of chancellor tonight.. and the people were late so i stood on the stoop waiting. pretty soon a police car rolls up and stops and asks me what i am doing there. i guess i looked out of place... which i quickly figured out that i was.

    i explained i was waiting on someone to show me the place because i was considering renting and asked what their reccomendation would be.. and he says:

    "i reccomend you get off this block as fast as you can and go home"

    wow. and then things like "trust us, we work here" and "the last thing you want to do is live HERE"

    i guess there is no better opinion than the cops? after that i went to 30th st station to hop a train and asked one of the cops there what he thought and he pretty much said i should be trying to look in center city.. and to steer clear of anything above the upper 40s in uni city.

    heres to hopin something better pops up!
    Oof. Some cops in West Philly are AWESOME. Some cops in West Philly are meh with pretty outdated ideas of the area they patrol. It's not like they get a lot of opportunities to interact with the area's good guys having good days.

    There's an in-home daycare used by some young families right by where you were. I don't think they'd be using it if it were as dire as the cops led you to believe. But I guess those are "crazy" families living, gasp, beyond the upper forties of University City to be disregarded.

    Did you visit the places on Springfield and Chestnut? Though if you're not going to believe us, people might be less inclined to respond going forward...

  13. #13
    seand is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    West Philadelphia
    Posts
    11,867

    Default

    Eh, my kid attends daycare at 53rd and Irving and we frequently stop to share a sweet at the Carribean Brown Sugar Bakery after I pick her up. I will say that some of the small streets up that way vary quite a bit in terms of being quiet, stable, older African American residents and some having that one active drug house (or the house where Mom is never around and all the teenagers go to party house) that would make living on the block a bit of a downer. Not "Oh my God - run for the hills" but enough of a persistently depressing factor to make me consider another block. It really varies block to block up around there.

    I'd stick with the old addage about visiting a place you are considering living at different hours - during the day, early evening, around 11:00pm to get a feel for the level of "activity" on the block at different times. Merely going once during the day will never give you a reality based view of what its going to be like living on a block. I remember looking at a house just west of 52nd a few years back where the listing looked awesome, the price was right, etc. but the adjoining house was the front porch where 15 young men hang out and drink every night which I would not have known if I only visited during the day. Its the #1 thing I would recommend for anyone looking for place to live in "peripheral" neighborhoods of any kind.

    I'd also second checking out 52nd and Springfield.
    Last edited by seand; 12-06-2012 at 10:08 AM.

  14. #14
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default

    yes i am checking out the 52nd and springfield this weekend.. the guy ive been talking to is extremely nice. he actually has two in the same spot hes going to show me.

    chancellor was kind of bombed out... 3 or 4 boarded up properties and lots of noise. the cops seemed to know what they were talking about.. at least on that street. i ended up walking around the whole block.. got stared at a lot. i dunno.

    i went to peach st.. it was nice, the street i mean.. at least it seemed so.. elderly african american couple eyeballed the crap out of me while i was waiting... there was a white couple with a baby that lived next to them that were almost like me and my wife age-wise, but the property i looked at was dirty and torn up. needed the carpets replaced and the fridge was gone.. boards sinking in the floor upstairs... the renting agent seemed really surprised. whoever lived there previous did a real number on the place.

    i also checked out south 50th st near the new high school for a walk by after talking to a guy on the phone... seemed like a quiet street sandwiched in between two less desirable ones, so i dunno.

    this weekend i am hitting:

    baltimore and springfield
    52nd and springfield
    44th and chestnut
    paschall street

    and am trying to set stuff up for sansom... springton.. and a few others.
    then making my way over to pennsport and center city...

    thoughts?

    at this point i have less than two weeks and its crunch time.

  15. #15
    seand is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    West Philadelphia
    Posts
    11,867

    Default

    I'm very surprised you are finding anything in center city or pennsport in that price range.

    Either a little closer in in Walnut Hill or walkable to Baltimore Ave. is going to be more appealing side of cheap if you are looking on the fringes of UCity.
    Last edited by seand; 12-06-2012 at 03:39 PM.

  16. #16
    Zigster is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    114

    Default

    Don't know your situation but if I were you I'd stretch for something around $1500/mo with heat included. Even if it meant giving up a car or other amenities, at least you will be dealing with landlords instead of slumlords.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cro Burnham View Post
    The bottom line is Philly is the cheapest big city in America (and I mean city, not sunbelt sprawl agglomeration)

  17. #17
    56MARKET is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    71

    Default

    I still think that Lawnton Street would be the best choice for a young family new to the City,and perhaps unfamiliar with Urban Living.

  18. #18
    billy ross is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    10,721

    Default

    There's a reason cops choose bland suburban areas to live in.

    Quote Originally Posted by xpnbob View Post
    so i went to the 5200 block of chancellor tonight.. and the people were late so i stood on the stoop waiting. pretty soon a police car rolls up and stops and asks me what i am doing there. i guess i looked out of place... which i quickly figured out that i was.

    i explained i was waiting on someone to show me the place because i was considering renting and asked what their reccomendation would be.. and he says:

    "i reccomend you get off this block as fast as you can and go home"

    wow. and then things like "trust us, we work here" and "the last thing you want to do is live HERE"

    i guess there is no better opinion than the cops? after that i went to 30th st station to hop a train and asked one of the cops there what he thought and he pretty much said i should be trying to look in center city.. and to steer clear of anything above the upper 40s in uni city.

    heres to hopin something better pops up!

  19. #19
    xpnbob is offline Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    57

    Default

    i went to pennsport last night...some of the properties i looked at were actually 1 bedrooms... MAYBE 2 br's that were trying to be passed off as 3br's. some of them were 3 level rows that had been converted into 3 seperate units.. and some of them were really nice inside, but looked like a warzone outside or were too far off and too crammed. then i walked around center city, fairmount, etc.. for probably an hour and a half until i got tired.

    i dont mind city/urban living at all and dont necc. care about having a car if i can bike to places within a 30 minute or so ride. (i ride pretty aggressive). my main focus is finding something to make the wife and kids happy within our price range... which is still unfortunately under a grand a month. :-(

  20. #20
    Hospitalitygirl's Avatar
    Hospitalitygirl is offline Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Miss Mannersville
    Posts
    14,244

    Default

    Honestly I think you need to modify your search a bit. This is in Rhawnhurst, a nice section in the NE and near a good elementary school (Rhawnhurst Elementary if you want public, or Resurrection if you're interested in a parochial school). It's family oriented and near good shopping and activities for kids. I don't think you'd be pedaling to UCity, but you would easily get there by bus/El combo or the commuter train line.
    I am not the Jackass Whisperer.

 

 

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2