Lexa and I spent our college years at Butler, and if you’d asked us if we were experts on what it was like to live in Indy, we probably would have said yes. Want to know something about Broad Ripple? We’ve got all the answers. Looking for a place near campus? We’re your guides. But we found that when we were looking for a place to start our young adult lives, we were pretty clueless on where to begin.
The first step was to identify our priorities.
With an infinite list of choices all over Indy that offer various amenities and come at all levels of cost, it can be hard to know where to start. We made a list of things that were top priorities for us. Knowing that we were just starting off in our careers and are still working on financial stability meant that sticking to a strict budget was a must for us. We knew our limit, and that definitely weeded out a few areas of the city (mainly the Mass Ave. area).
Another thing that was really important to us was having space. We were willing to trade out hardwood floors and brand new appliances in exchange for a larger living space, and we definitely have no regrets because it’s been a great space to entertain our new friends in Indy.
The last thing on our list of priorities was location. You know what they say – location, location, location! That couldn’t have been more true for us when we were choosing where to live. Proximity to Downtown was important so we could meet other young people and participate in all that the city had to offer.
However, while we wanted to be close to Downtown, we didn’t want all the noise and crowds that somewhere like Mass Ave. had to offer. We also wanted to find an area that would give us a good space for our budget, which is how we ended up finding an apartment right on the canal. In the end, you have to know what you’re willing to sacrifice and what you’re not. Is it space or amenities? Location or price?
There are a few things that you should definitely consider when applying for apartments.
First, apply early! We applied in the summer and were placed on a two month wait list in order to get offered an apartment, and it meant Lexa was living with a friend and commuting to work for two months until we finally got a move-in date in October.
Second, have a back-up apartment in mind and think about putting a deposit down on that one too. When you’re sitting at the bottom of a wait list, it’s hard to know if you’ll get the offer or not, and with apartments going so fast in the hopping areas of the city, if you don’t have a solid backup choice, you could be in trouble. Some will give you your deposit back, but worst case you lose $200 in exchange for peace of mind that you’ll have a place to live.
Another reason to have another apartment in mind is because sometimes you don’t know what apartment you might get offered if you get off the waitlist. For example, there were three or four apartments that had a lease that was ending when we wanted to move in, but they all had very different layouts and varying square footage. The smallest one was less square footage than we were willing to accept, so if we had been offered that one, the backup apartment would have been the way to go.
This last piece of advice is one that we CANNOT stress enough. Build up your credit early because not having credit meant that Lexa’s parents had to co-sign her lease and pay an extra month’s rent for the security deposit. Plan early and build up that credit score so you don’t have to worry about it being a problem when you’re fighting for your dream apartment.
Not sure on which Indy neighborhood to live in? We got you.
One tool that we didn’t know about when apartment hunting (but wish we would have) was the No Mean City ‘What Indy Community Are You?’ quiz that we found through IndyHub. You answer some questions about what’s important to you, and it shows you areas of the city that would fit your tastes. I guess we did well because the quiz showed that life on the canal was perfect for us!
As one article on the No Mean City website said, “ the Canal is the ‘space between’. It is neither city nor suburbia. Muffling the sounds of traffic and obscuring the view of distant skyscrapers, the Canal is a peaceful oasis in the middle of a bustling city”.
We couldn’t have picked an area of Indy that’s better for us! We’re 10 minutes from Mass Ave., 15 minutes from Butler’s campus and close enough to take advantage of all the amazing things happening in Indy. The canal is a bustling place, but it’s got a peaceful element to it that’s hard to recreate in the middle of the city.
Lexa and Caroline are the faces behind the travel blog Sippin’ Sangria. They’re Butler grads who traveled to over 13 countries together and are now roommates in Indy. In their free time, they love finding affordable adventures, taking road trips and keeping their Spanish skills fresh.