Hunting for Apartments in Gainesville
Whether you’re relocating to Gainesville or just trying to find a new place closer to work or school, choosing a new apartment to commit to for 12+ months can seem daunting. Don’t fear, we’ve gathered our best tips from the local Gainesville apartment experts to help you kick-off your search for the best apartments in Gainesville to fit your lifestyle and budget.
Step one is to start dreaming about what is most important to you – are you price conscious? Looking for a pet friendly apartment in Gainesville? What about a walkable neighborhood, or proximity to your favorite shopping plaza? Once you’ve identified a major goal for your search, you can focus on other details like type of apartment, neighborhood, budget, and more.
This Gainesville apartment guide is brought to you by the team of Local Experts at Swamp Rentals. This local online apartment search was created by a group of UF Gator grads who know the Swamp better than anyone, making it easy to find apartments in Gainesville that fit your lifestyle and budget.
Student and Non-Student Apartments
One of the primary decisions you’ll have when renting an apartment in Gainesville is the choice between a student apartment or non-student apartment. These apartments near UF are often just a short walk, bike, or scooter ride to campus and offer student-friendly amenities like study rooms, state of the art fitness centers, and resident events. In student apartments, you’ll find floor plans with perks like private bathrooms and individually keyed bedrooms. Off-campus housing near UF also offers individual leases which allow roommates to hold personal responsibility for their own lease. Need to find a roommate? Many communities offer robust roommate matching services to help you find one or more companions to share your space with. Undergraduate students often enjoy the company of others, so you’ll be pleased to find a variety of two-bedroom apartments up to 5-bedroom townhome floor plan configurations to meet any lifestyle.
Non-student apartments, or conventional housing, is geared toward renters who are looking for an apartment experience that is not as student focused. These apartment homes are perfect for graduate students, families, professionals, and anyone looking for the comfort and ease of apartment life. Many of these properties are still convenient to UF through a short commute by car or RTS bus route. Non-student properties in Gainesville tend to be most common with young professionals and families. Floor plans to fit any lifestyle are available, from studio and one-bedroom apartments to three bed, two bath configurations for growing families.
Gainesville Neighborhoods for Every Lifestyle
There has been significant expansion in Gainesville over the past decade. Never before has it been easier or more attractive for potential residents to feel at home close to The Swamp and discover a place to live that fits their lifestyle and budget than it is today. In fact, one of the attractive aspects of settling in Gainesville is the diverse community and neighborhood choices current and future residents have. There are apartments for rent in every neighborhood in Gainesville. Whether you are a medical professional looking for an apartment near UF Health or North Florida Regional Medical Center, a tech guru looking to be close to the Innovation District, or a weekend warrior who wants to exercise at Depot Park, Gainesville has a neighborhood for you. Here are a few highlights:
The Butler Town Center and Celebration Pointe destinations along the Archer Road neighborhood have seen developments bringing new retail and dining to the I-75 corridor so if you like to shop and dine, this is the neighborhood for you. Apartments along Archer Road are popular with doctors and nurses that require an apartment near UF Health and students looking to live in apartments near UF.
This neighborhood explodes in a sea of orange and blue on Gator gamedays and is most popular with students because it is within walking distance to UF’s largest lecture hall buildings and Library West. The landscape of this neighborhood is changing daily with constant development, from new retail and dining establishments, to new apartment homes and technological advancements happening at the Innovation District.
The vibe in Downtown Gainesville is cool and easy. There are a handful of apartments in Downtown Gainesville, but not as many as you’d expect. The area is very walkable, and you can easily head downstairs from your apartment for a cup of coffee or to meet friends for a drink. A cultural meeting place in Gainesville, you can find great outdoor spaces to enjoy in close proximity to your apartment home like Depot Park.
Your Gainesville Apartment Search
Evaluating Your Apartment Needs
Once you’ve determined if a student or non-student apartment is the best fit, and considered some potential neighborhoods, it is time to really start focusing on searching for your apartment home. Before getting started, it’s important to identify your priorities and lifestyle needs. Evaluating things like budget, location, and lease length will form the basis for your search.
· Apartment Size: The first thing you should identify for your search is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms required in your Gainesville apartment. Do each of your children need their own bedroom? Will you be living alone? Do you need extra storage or space for a home office?
· Budget: Break down your monthly or weekly expenses and draft an affordable budget for rent and utilities. Keep in mind that you don’t want to strap yourself down too tight; you should leave room in your budget to add to your savings account each month and be sure to leave some “fun money” for dinner out and vacations.
· Non-Negotiable Features and Amenities: Create a short list of apartment features and amenities that are absolute must-haves in your future apartment. Popular items on this list for Gainesville renters might include apartments with a washer and dryer, community pool, and hardwood flooring for renters with pets.
· Move-in Date: Do you have a specific date you need to move in on or by? Here’s a pro tip: If your move-in date is flexible, you may be able to get a better deal on your apartment by moving during the off season (roughly October-February) instead of popular summer months (June-August).
After nailing down the major needs, it’s time to start thinking about the things that will make life easier and more enjoyable for you. If you’re an animal lover, check for apartments that are pet friendly and have amenities catered to you and your canine or feline, like a dog park or plenty of sunny windows. For those looking to cut down on costs by finding a roommate, consider size, layout, and apartment type (individual vs. conventional lease) when looking for the right space. If an all-inclusive rental is more appealing, check for communities that include utilities like water, electric, internet, cable, trash, and pest control in your rent.
Students starting out on their own may benefit from a furnished apartment, and luckily, many Gainesville communities offer modern furniture packages that outfit the common room and bedrooms with the necessities. Amenities like a fitness center, pool, or laundry facility may also come in handy. No matter which neighborhood you choose, you’ll want to check on parking arrangements (free or city) and bus routes in the area.
Timing Your Gainesville Apartment Search and Signing Your Lease
There is no shortage of apartment communities and rentals in Gainesville, so there’s no need to rush before having weighed all of your options. If you’re a little late to the game, don’t panic! There are plenty of apartments in the area that have openings consistently throughout the year as residents come and go. Do keep in mind that apartment communities operating on a specific lease term may have strict move-in and move-out dates, especially to prepare for students coming back to Gainesville after the summer break.
· Students looking for off-campus housing should expect to sign a lease that will begin at the start of the school semester: in August, January, or June. Mid-August, just prior to the start of Fall semester at UF or Santa Fe College, is the most popular move-in date for students. For an August move-in date, you should plan to sign a lease as soon as January but should have your place reserved before the end of May as many of the top apartment options in Gainesville will start selling out around this time.
· Non-students looking for conventional housing should start apartment hunting as much as 6 months before the desired move-in date. Conventional properties have lease openings throughout the year and should know their availability 60-90 days before your move-in date. We recommend you amp up your search 90 days out, and plan to sign a lease during the 30 to 60-day window before your move-in date.
Overall, make sure that the apartment community you choose is somewhere you see yourself being happy. Do your research, talk to the locals and weigh all of your options. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the exciting adventure that awaits you. Our team at Swamp Rentals can’t wait to help you find your perfect apartment match. Welcome home!