ScrabbleChamp wrote:Blowhard: Since you are already there, which area(s) would you suggest for one to look for a home that is in a nice area and within a 30 minute commute? Say less than $2000/month.
The problem is, with traffic at rush hour 30 minutes will limit you to basically AA. It takes me 30+ minutes until I wait for the bus, get to car, drive home, etc and I live 3 miles away. Even taking out waiting for the bus you're looking at 20-25 minutes. Every now and then it takes 45-60 minutes if traffic is particularly bad. And, I commute to a bus line that runs every 9-12 minutes. If going from my door, that bus only runs every 30 minutes and sometimes it's hard to time. If I miss, it adds an automatic 30-35 minutes.
If you're willing to go 15-20+ minutes further, I'd look at Chelsea, Saline, or places North of town. (Chelsea in particular is cute if you don't mind a bit more rural. It has it's own little downtown and is about 6 miles away once you make it to the highway...maybe 45 minutes to downtown but you'd have to figure out where to park and transition to buses.) I'd avoid Ypsi unless you can find something just inside of it but basically AA (like Ellsworth near Carpenter). But, you're going to be missing out some. You will be too far to go downtown for entertainment, the whole drinking and getting home problem, etc. Not to mention, random trips in to grab a book or meet someone outside of your normal schedule.
For $2,000 you could probably get a decent house/apt in AA. I had friends who rented a place for like $1,800 that was 3-bedrooms, hardware floors throughout, like a half-acre back yard. It was a bit of a walk to school but not terrible. That budget would put you over the floor in the market. There starts to be a huge difference once you get out of what an UG could afford with roommates.
Also, keep in mind how busy you will be. You'll barely be home most of the time to enjoy it. You'll likely never be here in the summer. And, subletting a place outside downtown is practically impossible in the summer. As the saying goes, you can live like a law student now or live like one later when you're paying off your loans. With a roommate, I pay $700 a month including utilities. I personally would never pay $2,000/month for somewhere to live during LS. Look for something that will just get you by and not cause a divorce. Your budget for housing is $72,000. If paying with student loans, add in interest...~$2,200 on the first year's budget alone. That's $50,000+ more than me even without interest. When looking at these cheaper places, ask if you'd live there if someone paid you $50K.