Tales from a Providence Newbie: Finding A Home

Prior to moving to Providence, finding a new rental was a game – a fun challenge.  I knew the lay of the land; jumping from the latest up-and-coming Philadelphia neighborhood to the next – staying just above the trend to find a great place, at a great price in a fun section of town.  Fast forward eight years, five apartments and a pending major move to Providence and all of sudden the game changed.   No longer was finding a new rental a fun challenge but a stressful, confusing and frustrating process.  With no contacts and no knowledge of our new town, my husband and I set out to learn everything we could about Providence and find a place to live – in one weekend.   The following is what we learned and some tips in effort to help other Providence newbies look for a rental in town.

Research. Research. Research.  

Prior to rental hunting in Providence we hit the web and researched the area.  First determining Providence’s neighborhoods and what type of rentals were available.  We found urban living in Providence lends to a variety of neighborhoods and all kinds of rentals including single homes, multi -unit homes, condos, apartments, studios and lofts.   Below is a list of our favorite neighborhoods and our descriptions of them …

Downcity – (aka downtown) The majority of Downcity rentals are in luxury apartment or loft buildings; most are conveniently located in the center of all a small city has to offer – shops, restaurants, theaters, office and government buildings etc..  Many buildings offer great amenities such as concierge, pool, gym and access to common gathering rooms or terraces.  We found some buildings do allow pets (with breed and weight restrictions), but many charged an additional security deposit or monthly fee.   Parking varied, some buildings included parking in rent while others charged an additional fee.  Budget: $$$ – $$$$.

East Side – The East Side (east of Downcity) is a lovely blend of suburban and urban with tree lined streets, historic homes, parks and charming squares and main streets.  A few different subdivisions make up the East Side including Blackstone, Hope (aka Summit), Mount Hope, College Hill, Wayland, and Fox Point – all are quite nice and each neighborhood has its own personality.    While the East Side does have apartment buildings, the majority of the dwellings are single family homes or multi-unit homes with small plots of grass, trees and gardens.  Coming from Philadelphia (aka the land of row homes) we found the East Side’s architecture and green-ness quite refreshing!  We found many rentals to be pet friendly (some with breed and weight restrictions) and many include on-site parking.  Budget: $$-$$$$.

Armory – The Armory (west of Downcity) is an evolving area which includes a mixture of historic single family and multi -family homes as well as renovated mill loft buildings.   With a blend of loft buildings and homes, the area has a bit more of an urban feel but still has a presence of tree lined streets and parks. The majority of stores and restaurants are found on Broadway and Westminster Streets with scatterings of cool places on the streets in between.  We found many rentals to be pet friendly (some with breed and weight restrictions) and many include on-site parking.  Budget: $-$$$.


Develop a “list of musts” and know you’re not going to get them all…

While searching for a rental the “list of musts” is a living document.  The priority of the items on our “list of musts” evolved and changed as we delved into the rental hunt.  All of a sudden our number one priority was no longer walkability and proximity to cool restaurants and bars – but who would accept two large dogs.  We had to be flexible and willing to give up some of our top musts in order to accommodate our needs.

This was our “list of musts” when we began rental hunting …
  1. Budget
  2. Size and quality of rental
  3. Walkability
  4. Outdoor space
  5. Parking
  6. Access to amenities beyond those you could walk to – gym, grocery, driving range, mall etc. 
  7. Accepts large pets (didn’t expect to have an issue)
 This is how it ended up …
  1. Accepts Large Pets
  2. Budget
  3. Size and quality of rental
  4. Parking
  5. Walkability
  6. Outdoor space
  7. Access to amenities beyond those you could walk to – gym, grocery, driving range, mall etc. 

The last and best tip: Seek help…

This is where my husband and I went wrong.   Yes, Craigslist and other rental websites were helpful and produced listings– but nothing, not even the neighborhoods’ best watering hole bartenders could replace the knowledge of the area and expertise of a realtor.  I believe we, like many, thought realtors assisted only in home purchasing.  But realtors at Geo Properties are experienced in working with tenants in search of quality rentals in all areas Providence.  Representing both tenants and landlords, the Geo Team has a strong network of reputable property owners and uses a personal approach to find the right fit in terms of space, amenities and location.

If you or you know of a friend who will be relocating to Providence, be sure to contact the Team at Geo Properties!