Seeking Advice About Upcoming Move to Philadelphia

I got a job in Philadelphia. I’ll be moving at the end of August and staying for at least two years. I have all kinds of questions, but let’s start with where and when to hunt for a place to live. Let me tell you a bit about my preferences:

I don’t expect to have a car (unless you all convince me I’ll need one). My place of work is on Market Street near the river. So it would be nice to be able to walk there. Though I understand that I can pretty much walk anywhere in the city in 30 min., so that shouldn’t be too big an issue. The kind of neighborhood doesn’t matter too much to me. Residential and mixed use both have their advantages and disadvantages. There need not be a lot of bars or restaurants nearby–and something quieter might be better, in fact. I can afford to pay $1500/mo. or so in rent.

So where’s good? Compare the relative merits of Queen Village and Old City. What kind of prices should I be expecting for a pest-free 300+ sq. ft. studio? Is there a good time to try to find a place (e.g. June vs. August)? What other considerations should I, um, consider?

Any other tips about Philly generally would be greatly appreciated.

there are many older apt. buildings between 20th and 23rd streets that are very reasonable. and very close to where you are working.

parktown place is on the parkway where most of the happenings happen and has a bus system. 2100 parkway is a new apt bldg the renovated board of education building and has studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apts. both are good rentals.

queen village is a bit cheaper than old city. northern liberties is the hot spot now. it is undergoing a huge building boom.

Thanks rocking chair. Where is Northern Liberties exactly? What is the neighborhood like?

<Moved to IMHO.>

You can definitely accomplish what you’re setting out to do.

Rents are expensive in downtown Philly, but not ridiculous. I have a friend at the 2400 Chestnut tower (probably a three minute walk from where you’re going to be working) that pays I believe ~$950/month for half of a two-bedroom.

Old City is nothing but frat kids from Jersey four days a week. Queen’s Village is cute and nice but a bit of a hike from the subway line across town for your daily commute. The quality of the housing stock is lower and older, but it’s pretty safe.

Northern Liberties and South Street and to a lesser extent Queen’s Village is the kingdom of the hipsters. To what extent do stupid day-glow slitted sunglasses, ironic t-shirts, or tight jeans on men annoy you?

To get straight to the safety issue, here’s the Philadelphia Murder Map:
http://inquirer.philly.com/graphics/homicide_map_2008/

Things are better this year. As the Police Department’s stock-ticker like web applet will tell you, murders are down by 20% this year.

Thanks threemae.

In the last ten years I have lived in Portland (OR), Williamsburg Brooklyn, and the East Village in Manhattan. So I’m pretty sure I won’t be overwhelmed by the hipsters in any of Philly’s neighborhoods. :cool: If anything, without them, I would be like one of those people who can’t sleep without the sound of traffic.

I think all else being equal I prefer newer housing. I like the aesthetic and character of older buildings, but I’d trade those things in a moment for a shower that regularly pumps hot water, a lack of rats, and a working radiator. (I know, my standards are pretty low, but NYC will do that to you.)

Is it typical for people to find apartments through brokers? I know that here it is pretty much standard practice.

It doesn’t seem like most people use brokers in Philly. I have a few friends that have moved here from New York and although they had utilized a broker in New York, they had not done so in Philadelphia. Rent controlled apartments, co-ops with bizarre qualification and initiation rituals, or a ridiculously overheated market with minimal vacancies are peculiarities of the New York real estate scene that we don’t have here. If you have a chance to visit Philadelphia beforehand, even for a weekend, that should likely be sufficient to locate a number of suitable apartments. Craigslist is a fine place to start and how I located my current place.

Let us know when you move; I know I’m not the only Doper in Philadelphia. We’ll be your friends. :wink:

norther liberties is around 3ish street to about 8 or 9 ish, and spring garden to girard. there are quite a few of old warehouse to loft conversions there. to get to work you could walk (about an hour) but most would use septa.

although i’m assuming you were talking about market near the “surekill” river… or are you talking market near the delaware river. the rivers are on opp. ends of town. delaware is near front (first) street, the schylkill is near 23rd street.

most of philly is going condo over apt. building. the newest apt. building reno is 2100 parkway. the very nifty old board of education building has been redone.

there are some really nice house rentals as well that are with in your range.

you could contact a realtor who could pinpoint exactly what you are looking for. some of the older apt. buildings don’t have central air.

Oh yeah, there are two rivers. I meant the Delaware.

House rentals?

i live about 6 blocks away from the schylkill so i always think of that one first.

northern liberties, society hill, and queen village are the closer 'hoods to the delaware.

yep, house rentals. some yuppie types buy and reno a house. then they have a tyklet and move to the 'burbs. instead of selling the city house they rent it out.

house rentals depending on area can start at 1,000 and go up to 3,000 per month. some of them are really well done. there are a few duplex and triplex around as well.