Apartment Hunting: MSU Edition

You’ve been on campus for two years and you’re ready to move off campus and live on your own. Finding a new home in East Lansing/Michigan State University isn’t easy. When I first planned to move to East Lansing/MSU, it was trouble from the time I started. Rent being advertised that is was $335, and finding out that is was $335 a person. The models of the apartments were no where near the real apartments. And not to mention, you never know what is included in the rent and what isn’t. I wish that I had a guide or even a booklet that could have helped me on my journey to finding my humble abode. Allison Repp, currently searching for an apartment, describes how she feels and I how I felt too.

“I hate looking for apartments,” said Repp. “There is so much pressure. Finding the right apartment for you is not easy. Location, price and amenities are important. But moving from apartment to apartment is the worst. The move in dates are insane and it makes me crazy. It just sucks.”

This is insight on East Lansing from a person who has lived here for about 1 year and a half. This is your complete guide to living in East Lansing/MSU area.

When you’re looking for an apartment, there are many things that you must consider.

How far away from campus do you want to live?

Do you want roommates or would you rather live by yourself?

If I would like to have a roommate, would I have to find one myself or do they have a roommate matching service to help me find someone I can get along with?

If you do have a roommate, how are you going to split the rent and/or utilities?

What is included in your rent or can you include utilities into your rent?

What about adding a phone line or getting cable?

Is it cable ready? Does the apartment allow pets?

How far are you from a store to get your necessities?

Does the apartment you are choosing include a CATA Bus card or will you have to pay? After I stay here for a certain amount of time, is my rent negotiable, stays the same or does it go up?

The average rent in the area is $550 or so. This varies by number of rooms, bathrooms, styles of apartments and how far you are away from campus. The number of rooms can range from none (a studio) to a four bedroom apartment. These apartments can be very versatile. For certain places, such as Chandler Crossing and Abbot Place, they have individual leases, where you pay for your room but share utilities. Or you can get a standard one, and split everything with a roommate. Or you can have an apartment all by yourself. It seems that the farther away from campus your are, the less you pay. In Lansing, the typical 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom cost about 450 but in East Lansing, it can cost $600.


The East Lansing/MSU area is a great place to live. There are malls, restaurants, bars and movie theaters to go to. So boredom would never and could never happen. If you live very close to campus, you have Grand River. Grand River is a strip you could never forget. There are many restaurants from American to Chinese, thrift stores and boutiques, and bars and clubs where you can hang out with your friends until 6 in the morning. If you live east of the area, Meridian is your hangout. This mall has huge department stores like Macy’s and JC Penny. They also have a food court and if after your delicious pretzel you would like to watch a movie? AMC is right around the corner. If you live on the west side of the area, you have a double wammy: Frandor and Eastwood Mall. Frandor and Eastwood are both strip malls. They have stores and restaurants that are very fancy. All of these place you can get to by bus. The CATA Buses are very reliable and are easy to use.

Beware of the party areas! If you are used to being in a quiet area, picking a place like the Pointe at 3636 might be for you. “We’re a bit more laid back here,” said Jill Banish, a community assistant. “I live here and you don’t see nearly as many parties as you see in other apartments. It’s a really relaxed environment and I think that is what attracts us to renters.”

This may seem like a lot of information. And it is! It can be overwhelming and sometimes, you just want to pick someplace and get it over with. But remember! You’ll be staying at your new home for a while. Comfortability is very important.

The Apartment Store, located right inside SBS on Grand River is here to take the stress away, and the best part? It’s absolutely free! “We can help anyone,” said Nicole Levy, a locator specialist. “Usually, we can match people with an apartment as soon as possible. And there is something for everyone. Since we do all the work for you, it’s so connivence. It’s a one stop shop for apartment living.” They have listings for about 84 communities in and around the East Lansing and MSU area and we know all the details inside and out. You tell them what you are looking for and we’ll match you up! It’s like an apartment dating service, you go look and if you like it all you need to do is sign your lease. This makes it extremely easy!

Now that you know all that you need to know, you can make a conscious decision when locking into a lease agreement.


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