Published: April 12, 2006
Going to college and moving out of your parents’ house sound like they ought to be synchronized events. But with the current economy and the shortage of cheap, student-friendly housing in Pensacola, many students are choosing to spend their college years at home with mom and dad.
But if you absolutely have to get away from your parents (or your parents absolutely have to get you away from them), then you do have a number of fairly wallet-friendly options.
Rent is, obviously, the most important financial consideration, although getting an apartment doesn’t just mean paying rent; keep in mind that living on your own is grossly expensive – unless you have a high paying job, your parents are footing the bill, or you’re just plain lucky.
Common sense dictates that when poor students pool their resources they are less likely to live on Top Ramen and use coffee filters in lieu of toilet paper, so a roommate (at least one, maybe more) is pretty much a requisite especially since the hurricanes have driven up rent costs in the area.
Even with someone to share the cost of living, you’ll want to be careful and research your options thoroughly before you settle on an apartment.
Here are some questions you should always ask yourself when comparing apartments:
Which complex has the most expensive rent? The least expensive rent?
How much does it cost to rent each apartment for one year? (Include the cost of the security deposit and utilities.)
Compare the cost of renting the most expensive and the least expensive apartments to find the difference in rental costs on a monthly and yearly basis.
What factors, in addition to cost, might you consider? Dishwashers, wireless, paid utilities, washer and dryer connections.
Finally, how ideal is the location? Is it close to where you go to school, or work? An apartment out near the Navy base might be cheap and clean, but how long will it take you to drive to school in the morning?
The cheapest living situation within easy walking distance of PJC is definitely Lamplighter; it isn’t the ritziest complex, to say the least, but if very cheap rent ($450) and great locale are your chief concerns then it’s the way to go.
Apartments marketed toward UWF students, but available for those who attend PJC tend to be safer and better maintained, but still affordable. The Fountains and Creekside are clean, well-maintained and reasonably priced. Rent at the Fountains is $485 for a one-bedroom, $800 for three, but you’ll pay more if you want more than one or two bathrooms. Creekside is slightly pricier at $525 (one bedroom), $595 (two bedrooms), and $710 (three bedrooms).
Some other recommendations are Forest Glen on N. Davis Highway, Hillview Terrace on Hillview Road, and Broadview Oaks on College Parkway.
The above are just tips on how to find a suitable apartment complex; the real problem in Pensacola these days is going to be actually getting into that apartment once you’ve found it.
“My dad works for Progressive Management Apartments,” said Ted Wolfe, a PJC student. “He says that right now [if you are looking for an apartment] your best bet would be to sign up for a waiting list and hope that one of the military people get called away or someone doesn’t pay their rent on time.”