Guide to Student Life
There is a wide range of housing options in the Milwaukee area. There are several large apartment complexes that offer studios, 1- or 2- bedroom units, and even larger units. In addition to these complexes, there are many individual duplexes or quads that vary in the number of bedrooms, but are generally larger than the traditional apartments. A townhouse may also be a consideration, which is usually larger than an apartment and is often more than one level. Some students choose to rent a room in a landlord's home. In this situation there are usually a few tenants and the landlord who share a common living space, such as a bathroom, living room, and the kitchen.
Some MSTP students choose to purchase their first home. This may be a worthwhile investment over the course of the years at MCW. This is a good option for students who are married, have children, or just enjoy living in their own home. Purchasing a condominium may also be an option for those individuals who would like to own their own home, but prefer to pay an association fee instead of doing outdoor maintenance themselves. However, this decision requires a significant amount of time searching, getting a down payment, and acquiring an understanding of the real estate market in Milwaukee.
Housing and Apartment Resources
The task of starting the search for a place to live can be daunting. Here is a list of some helpful websites and tips to get started:
The largest listing of vacancies appears in the Sunday morning edition of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is sold daily at newsstands around the state.
Students interested in buying a home may want to visit a realtor website containing the MLS listings for the area.
Apartments.com is a comprehensive website that provides local apartment listings.
HomeAdvisor.com contains a rent section in their main menu. Although this site is not as comprehensive, it provides some crime information under "neighborhood details." There are also sections on choosing rental insurance and crime prevention tips.
ForRent.com is an online version of For Rent magazine, which can be found at local grocery and convenience stores. The rental agencies pay for the advertisement on this site so smaller rental properties are not usually listed.
StartRenting.com is an online version of a magazine found at local stores. It primarily gives information for some of the major apartment complexes in the area.
Move.com contains a "rentals" section which lists some information on the Milwaukee area.
Many apartments only advertise with a "FOR RENT" sign in the window or yard. Spend some time driving or walking through an area you are interested in living and look for vacancy signs. Local grocery and convenience stores also carry neighborhood newspapers and rental magazines that contain local listings.
MCW also provides some help with the housing search. A Housing Listings Binder that contains listings of available apartments and medical students looking for roommates is located in the Office of Student Affairs (third floor) during business hours and at the Security Desk (first floor) on weekends. Many people will also post vacant apartments, homes for sale, and students looking for roommates on the bulletin boards in the lobby and cafeteria.
A rental agency may also be helpful. However, the majority of agencies charge a non-refundable fee ranging from $35-$50. Before visiting agencies, call and request information regarding specific services provided and fees. Several agencies are listed in the Milwaukee Yellow Pages, which can be found in the reference section of most local libraries or online.
You may wish to contact a rental agency, but only if you are unable to locate an apartment through the sources listed above. The majority of agencies charge a non-refundable fee ranging from $35-$50. Before visiting agencies, call and request information regarding specific services provided and fees. Your local library should have a Milwaukee Yellow Pages in the reference section if you are interested in an agency or you can check the yellow pages online.
This is the area directly around the school. Approximately 65% of the current students live here. Many students living in this area are able to walk or bike to school. There are several large apartment complexes, but also many smaller quadplexes, duplexes, and flats of houses to rent. There is no overnight street parking in Wauwatosa, but 95% of students living here were able to find an apartment including a parking space. One of the best ways to find an apartment in this area is to drive through neighborhoods as many people only advertise by signs in their yard. There is a large mall with a movie theater, many grocery stores, banks, and restaurants in Wauwatosa. Major streets in this area include State St., Glenview Ave., Mayfair Rd./ Hwy 100, and Watertown Plank Rd./ Harwood Ave.
West Allis/New Berlin
This is the area directly south of school. It is a residential neighborhood with easy access to commercial areas. Approximately 6% of current students live in this area. There are numerous apartment complexes, but also some smaller quadplexes, and duplexes. Parking in this area is readily available and overnight street parking is allowed with a permit. Most students living in this area report an average commute of 15 minutes to and from school. There are many stores, banks, and restaurants. Major streets in this area include Greenfield Ave., Lincoln Ave., Cleveland Ave., Oklahoma Ave., Moorland Rd., and Hwy 100/108th St.
This area, located about 25-30 minutes west of school off of I-94, is home to 4% of current MCW students. It is a larger independent city of 65,000 people. It is mostly residential, but there are many areas with industry and commercial properties. Although the drive is further, students generally are able to find more reasonable rent. There is a wide variety of accommodations ranging from apartment complexes to houses. Overnight street parking is allowed. Waukesha has many stores, restaurants, banks, and a hospital..
East Side of Milwaukee
The East Side is located along Lake Michigan, just north of Downtown and south of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It is a residential area with an urban feel. There are many coffee shops, boutiques, and diverse restaurants. There are many apartment complexes as well as many flats of houses. Parking can be a problem in this area, but many apartments do offer parking for a fee. Overnight parking is allowed on many streets with a permit, but finding a spot can be quite competitive (especially in the winter). The average commute to MCW is about 20 minutes, but construction on the Marquette Interchange may cause a significant increase in commute time. Approximately 8% of MCW students live in this area. Major streets in this area include Downer Ave., Prospect Ave., North Ave., and Brady St.
- The number of parking spots; availability of visitor parking; is street parking allowed in the neighborhood? (Wauwatosa does not allow street parking overnight).
- Is heat included in the rent? If not, what kind of heating is provided (gas, electric, etc.)? Call WE Energies to get an estimate of heating costs in the winter and the availability of different heating plans.
- Is air-conditioning available and how efficient is it? Wisconsin can get surprisingly hot and humid, especially in late summer.
- Does the unit come with a refrigerator and stove? Is there a coin operated washing machine/dryer in the place or facility for hooking up these appliances in the basement? If not, where is the closest Laundromat?
- Safety in the community. Since everyone has a different "acceptable safety level", it is tough to classify neighborhoods as safe or unsafe on paper. Current student and staff are good resources to get this information personally.
- How easy is it to get repairs done in the rental unit? The best way to figure this out is to talk with current tenants.
- Who is responsible for having the carpets professionally cleaned and the unit repainted when you move out?
- Noise levels. How much street noise is there? How much noise is there in the building? This can be very important for those who enjoy studying at home.
- Do you want to live close to school so that commuting is not a problem (& maybe save some gas by walking/biking to school) or do you want to live away from school to "get away" from it all?
- Does the place offer storage facilities to store some boxes and other personal belongs? How damp / lit / and accessible is this storage area?
- How close is the nearest grocery store / mall?
- How bad is traffic from this place to school in the mornings and back in the evenings?