Aside from knowing that Philly has a delightful and surprising culinary scene (more on that later), before moving to Philly, it's a good idea to get the scoop on what to expect when you begin the apartment search. Here are some tips to get you started:
The vacancy rate on Philly apartments is one of the ten lowest in the country at around 3 percent, meaning competition for an apartment will be stiff, especially in the most desirable Center City. The average rent in 2013 is about $1,115 per month. If you're moving in December or January, you're likely to find fewer options but more flexibility in pricing, as it can be difficult for landlords to fill vacancies during the winter months. Of course, moving with a few feet of snow on the ground has its own hardships.
If you're looking remotely, start online. If you're already based in Philly, take a walk around the neighborhood or check out some rental open houses to get an idea of what to expect in each area. Rental agents are common in Philadelphia, and most of the time the landlord will pay their commission, so it's a free service to you. As the market is tight, if you find a great deal, it's good to be prepared with your own credit check, a security deposit and the final month of rent in case you want to snag the place right away.
Center City is Philadelphia's largest downtown area as well as one of its most sought-after – neighborhoods in Center City are extremely walkable, biker-friendly and have decent public transit. Here's some information on a few of the most popular:
Another popular neighborhood is University City, which is home to University of Pennsylvania and Drexel and located just west of the Schuylkill. Other cheaper options include Spruce Hill and South Philly – the traditionally Italian neighborhood.
Philly folk are proud of their food, so it's good to get the lingo straight before you get there: