Although Lincoln is a commuter-friendly city, where you choose to live will determine the length and method of your commute. Here is some useful information to consider when making this important decision.
The city of Lincoln offers a wide variety of off-campus housing options, including apartments, rental properties, or homes for sale. Here are three ways to find what you're looking for:
Online listings are convenient and provide an assortment of options:
- Rentals.com: Listings for houses, apartments, townhouses, duplexes, and lofts
- Housing.ne.gov: Search and map a broad assortment of rental properties by price range, type of rental, number of bedrooms, location, proximity to public transportation, and more. Includes complexes of all sizes.
- Apartmentsforyou.com: Search the Lincoln Journal Star's online classified advertisements by price range, type of rental, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, location, rental community, or month available. Only the larger apartment complexes are advertised online.
- Apartmentguide.com: Search for apartments in a wider area, including neighborhoods in Omaha and surrounding towns. This site sometimes has coupons for a discount on the deposit or rent.
- Forrent.com: Search advertised apartment rentals by city and state. Screen for types of rentals and amenities you want, within a price range, with good descriptions of the larger apartment communities.
- NeighborWorks Lincoln: Well-maintained and well-managed properties in Lincoln's original 12 neighborhoods as approved by the NeighborWorks Lincoln program.
- Classified ads in a newspaper: Provide a more complete listing of available properties. Most apartments, duplexes, single-family houses, townhouses, and condominiums available in Lincoln will be listed in the Classified Advertising section of the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper and are unavailable online. Many smaller companies, property owners, and homeowners rent out part of their homes and advertise only in the Sunday paper. If you're relocating, it might help to have a Lincoln colleague send you a Sunday paper so you can view available properties.
- Driving or walking: Get your own impression of the City and its neighborhoods. Drive or walk around neighborhoods that you like and look for "For Rent" signs in the yards. Some landlords don't advertise at all but rely on signs and word-of-mouth to attract tenants. One way to find out about Lincoln's neighborhoods is to contact colleagues from your department. Find out where they live and what areas they recommend.
You can also compare different parts of the city by looking at crime reports from the Police Department. Lincoln is a safe and friendly city but, like other cities, some areas are better than others.
Utilities and Services
The bills you need to pay each month and how much those bills amount to are determined in large part by where you choose to live. For example, most apartment complexes will pay for water and garbage service, but if you choose to rent a house you'll be responsible for buying those services. A small apartment will usually have lower energy bills than a large apartment or house. Some landlords pay for cable television service. Make sure you understand which utilities you are required to pay in each situation and enter that calculation into the cost of housing. You can contact utility companies to ask how much utility bills have been for a specific address in the past.
Electricity is provided by Lincoln Electric System. Your landlord may have the service put in your name after you sign a lease agreement, or you may have to do it yourself. Landlords almost never pay for electricity.
Water is provided by the City of Lincoln. Some landlords pay for water.
Natural gas is provided by Black Hills Energy. A few landlords pay for gas. Some homes don't use gas.
Mobile phone service is provided by Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, US Cellular, T-Mobile, and others. You should shop around for the best package and rates.
Household garbage is usually collected twice a week by privately-owned companies. Each company picks up trash from a designated area of the city. If you rent a house, you may be responsible for setting up an account with the garbage collection company and paying for removal of your garbage. If you rent an apartment, you'll probably put your garbage in a common dumpster outside your building, and the landlord will pay for it to be picked up.