Apartment resources in Burlington, VT?
April 5, 2010 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Where should I and my girlfriend live in or around Burlington, VT while I attend UVM as a doctoral student?

I just got accepted as a doctoral student at the University of Vermont! While this is awesome and super-exciting, it also means my girlfriend and I have to give up our lovely, cheap apartment in Champaign, IL and find a place we can afford in Burlington. From what I can tell by Craigslisting around, Burlington housing prices are a leetle bit more expensive than central IL.

My girlfriend and I will be moving out to Burlington in late July, and we'll probably be taking a trip out there in May or June to try and find an apartment. We have a fairly flexible budget for housing, probably topping out (and this is the extreme top) at around $1500/month. What we don't have is any actual knowledge of Burlington (I visited once when I was 13, her family moved away from there when she was 3). This is where you, the MetaFilter Hivemind, come in. Can you help us make the best of our short time for searching?

Does anyone know anything about Burlington? Which neighborhoods are nice? Are there other apartment-finding resources besides Craigslist? (CL seems kind of sparse for Burlington, and there've gotta be other things out there... right?) Are there real estate agents or something we should get in touch with? We're going to be living there for at least 3 years (unless suddenly I get really good at research), and we'd like to find somewhere we can live for the whole time. Are there apartment-hunting questions about that particular region that, coming from somewhere very different, I'm not thinking to ask?

Here are a couple other significant facts that I'm not sure how to work into my semi-coherent paragraphs, but which might be important:

- The girlfriend works from home, so we will need space suitable for that.
- We have pets (cats).
- We're not really amenable to group-housing or roommates, because of the working-from-home, pet-having, plus a bad experience we're just moving out of right now.
- We are slightly picky about features (hardwood, actual kitchen, etc), and so need some kind of resource that can help us narrow down potentials by those kind of things.

I apologize for the long and slightly flustered post. Does anyone have any great resources specific (or at least applicable) to Burlington?
posted by scrim to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Check the Seven Days classifieds. It's the free weekly.
Burlington's Old North End is more affordable than other parts of town. The houses are more run-down; they're a little closer together. However, there are some neat shops there, and a lot of people have a ton of Old North End pride. The neighborhood has a lot of character, but some people don't like it, so you should check it out and see which side of the fence you come down on.
Anywhere you are in Burlington you have to deal with undergrad UVMers. The only neighborhoods where this isn't true are going to be prohibitively expensive.
Finally, check out Winooski - a short commute, a cute community, and more affordable than Burlington.
posted by missmary6 at 8:46 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Burlington has a lot of housing diversity but not a lot of availability, generally. Here's a decent map of city wards, which are useful for talking about neighborhoods.

Ward 1: UVM and Fletcher Allen Health Care area. Pretty busy, traffic-wise, but close to your work and generally decent housing stock (particularly along East Ave and the NW part of the ward- Brooks Ave, Loomis Ave, S. Prospect Street, Mansfield Ave, etc).

Ward 2: Upper Downtown and Old North End. Unless you're looking for an undergrad, frat/sorority type experience, I'd stay away from the southern part of this ward. The northern half has the type of housing missmary6 describes above. It's cheap up there, and it's funky and interesting if you can deal with some odd neighbors.

Ward 3: Downtown, more Old North End. Again, the rental housing downtown isn't great and typically overrun with undergrads. ONE housing similar to Ward 2. There are a couple of good possibilities in this ward- Clarke and George Streets are kind of neat and super convenient.

Ward 4: New North End. This is a pretty suburban part of Burlington. It's more affordable, but there aren't many rentals and it's quite inconvenient to get there from anywhere else. On the plus side, the bike path and lake and parks are super close.

Ward 5: South End. Lots of good options here. This is a mix of industrial and residential, and there are some great close-knit neighborhoods here. Many people love the "5 Sisters" neighborhood between Pine Street and Shelburne Road, and Lakeside is pretty fun too. Again, good proximity to parks and bike path.

Ward 6: Hill Section. This is the most expensive part of Burlington, but the housing stock is typically excellent and you'd probably find something to your taste in terms of materials, etc. here. Champlain College is along Maple Street and South Willard St, so the housing around there can be tight. Still, it's really worth a look in this ward.

Ward 7: See Ward 4, but with slightly newer/better housing stock.

Outside of Burlington, if you're looking for "character", you probably want to consider Winooski and Essex Junction. Both are on major bus lines that would drop you off at UVM, and you'll get more for your money in both than you will most anywhere in Burlington. If I were looking now and in your position, I'd probably look most carefully at the Hill Section, South End, and the NW section of Ward 1. Maybe Winooski. For $1500/month you can get a very nice place in BTV.
posted by GodricVT at 9:09 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, if you have any questions about specific apartments or neighborhoods, feel free to memail me. Welcome!
posted by GodricVT at 9:10 AM on April 5, 2010

Affordable? Old North End. It is a little shady but Burlington standards but totally normal for a regular city.

Walkable to downtown for sure.

Less undergrads.

posted by k8t at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2010

South End is cool but if I were new and kidless, I'd try to be walkable to downtown.
posted by k8t at 9:13 AM on April 5, 2010

Old North End is great, as is Winooski. Don't know much about the South End but it seems like it's up and coming. One thing to consider- speed can be of the essence. Lots of leases come up in May=lots of people moving June 1st and apartment/house hunting around the same time you are. I'm also available for questions via me-mail. Welcome to VT!
posted by bookrach at 9:50 AM on April 5, 2010

Congratulations on MED school, I just happen to work for UVM - COM the College of Medicine. All the above suggestions are really good, if you are willing to look out of town just a little distance, Winooski, South Burlington, Colchester and Williston can be good choices, all are within biking distance. Contact the admissions office, ask for information about students who are graduating and looking to get rid of apartments. When I first moved to Burlington (1998) I went up graduation weekend, it was an awesome time to look at places. I would suggest a scouting trip. Med school starts mid August, I would try to get into town and into a place for August 1st. A trip in June would be helpful in scouting out areas you like. Welcome to VT, any questions just send an email.
posted by alfanut at 7:49 PM on April 5, 2010

Response by poster: Hey, guys, thanks for the great tips! Two quick followups:
  1. alfanut points out that a lot of grad students will be moving out a little later, and that more August 1 leases will show up; at the moment, I see almost all June 1 leases, which are non-ideal because we can't move in until late July, at the earliest. Is the pattern in Burlington that leases don't show up on the listings more than a couple months ahead of time? That is, if we wait until, say, early- to mid-May to come prospect, we'll find more August leases than if we hurry up in the next couple weeks? I guess what I really want to know is: is it worth scrambling our plans and finances for the next couple weeks in order to hurry up and stake a claim?
  2. Does anyone want to meet up and get a beer when we come up? I hear Burlington has some good breweries.

posted by scrim at 7:44 PM on April 6, 2010

scrim: When you you get settled, post a meetup thread to MetaTalk. We're a sociable bunch in Vermont. There will be more Vermont meetups in the summer. I know we'll host at least one.
posted by terrapin at 9:27 AM on April 12, 2010

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