Fun Things to Do in Knoxville: Ijams Nature Center and Quarry

student enjoying one of the fun things to do in Knoxville

East Tennessee summers are two things: hot and humid. There’s no better way to cool down and enjoy a day in the sun than in the water! With restrictions in place this summer, pools are having a hard time opening up.

While unable to access the large pool on property, luckily University Park residents are just a quick trip away from a day of fun in the sun!

They’re able to just gather their friends and take a trip to the quarry!

Fort Dickerson Quarry

Fort Dickerson Quarry is a zippy 4-minute drive from University Park. It’s right across the Tennessee River from downtown Knoxville. You can cool down in the 350-foot deep body of water or climb to see a stunning panorama of turquoise water, downtown’s skyline and Great Smoky Mountain peaks.

You can bring floaties, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards! There are also walking trails for you and your pup and picnic shelters to enjoy lunch outside of the apartment. If you’re a history buff, then you’ll enjoy seeing the well-preserved Civil War forts. There’s something for everyone!

For more information, visit the quarry’s information page.

Ijams Nature Center’s Meads Quarry

Meads Quarry is a short 10-minute drive from University Park. Other than the large quarry, Ijams offers a multitude of walking trails and other activities that have made it one of the most popular destinations to visit in Knoxville.

You can rent a paddleboard, kayak or canoe from River Sports Outfitters located right beside the quarry for just $14 an hour. They’ll hook you up with a boat, paddle and a life vest, so if you’re not the best swimmer or deep water isn’t your friend, you’ll be worry free!

Ijams also permits alcoholic beverages, so if you’re 21 or older, you can crack one open and float the day away. They even have a beer stand that sells favorites like White Claw and domestic brews.

For more information, visit their website to learn about all the different activities the nature center has to offer.

There’s so much to do within just a couple of minutes from University Park, so it’s time to get out there and explore Knoxville!

By: Ashley Depew, Leasing Consultant

Benefits of Living Close to Market Square

market square in Knoxville

Picture this- you’ve finally unpacked all your boxes and have your living space set up just the way you want it. It’s a beautiful day and you need something to do. What better way to spend your day out than in the sun exploring the town. 

If you’ve moved somewhere like University Park Apartments, there are a number of benefits living so close to one of Knoxville’s most popular spots: Market Square.

Restaurants

Market Square is filled with amazing restaurants! There are so many options to choose from like Soccer Taco, Kabuki, and Emilia. Cafe 4 has delicious brunch options including mouthwatering roasted potatoes and huge bowls of Sangria you and your friends can split! In the mood for something savory? Head across the way to Tupelo Honey where they have a pulled pork sandwich served on pumpernickel bread good enough to throw your last dollar at it. 

Market Square has much more than just nicer restaurants though. You also have access to smaller well-known shops like Subway and Ritas if you’re on the go! No matter your mood or budget, there’s something to eat for everyone!

Shops

Not only are there delectable restaurants, but there are also tons of shops located all throughout Market Square! Head to Earthbound to get your fix of incense and to explore the wonders of crystals. There’s a two-story Urban Outfitters located at the end of the block for you to shop for records, clothing and fulfill all your hipster lifestyle needs! 

You can also shop local at places like Earth to Old City for cool homemade soaps or get all your latest Tennessee gear and apparel from Tailgate to get ready for game days. 

Events

Market Square and the surrounding streets host plenty of fun events and festivals all year round. The Farmers Market is a great place to shop local businesses selling fresh produce, homemade crafts, and organic care products. 

You can also attend festivals such as the International Food Festival or live plays on the stage located by the parking garage. Every year near Christmas, they even set up an ice skating rink for everyone to enjoy! At University Park, we send out monthly newsletters with a section for events around Knoxville so you can keep up to date with anything going on downtown!

Secret Treasures

Market Square is filled with secret spots that are definitely worth going off the beaten path to find. There’s a hidden alleyway that’s lit up at night with romantic lighting and amazing graffiti art that covers the walls. 

Find the Peter Kern Library that doubles as a speakeasy for a night of delicious drinks and specialty cocktails. Or even find small local hotspots such as Pete’s cafe or the Union Ave Bookstore! Explore your surroundings and find all the many hidden gems that make Knoxville such an adventurous city.

If you have any questions about fun things to do around Market Square or downtown Knoxville, contact us at University Park or call 865-577-8700 for more information and suggestions on the benefits of living close to downtown.

By: Lalita Tinari, Leasing Consultant

Pet Tips for When You’re Apartment Hunting

University Park Dog Park

Finding a good, welcoming apartment is essential when you have a furry roommate! When searching for the best place to live, you’ll want to be sure your home caters to both your needs and your pet’s. 

Whether it’s exploring the surrounding area or choosing which floor to live on, take both you and your pet into consideration!

Breed

The breed of your pet is important when looking for a home since different breeds require different types and amounts of care. Some pets may fit better to a certain environment than others would. Some complexes may also have breed restrictions, so be sure to do your research and ask around before committing to a place just in case your pet is on that list. 

Some pets prefer to lounge around like cats or some breeds of dogs. Other breeds love getting plenty of exercise and would thrive in an environment with trails surrounding the area or even a pet park! Do some research on your specific breed to see what they need to live their best life.

Exercise

Speaking of exercise, when looking at an apartment, look for one that has space for you to walk your pets. Look for things like large grassy areas, trails nearby, and maybe even a complex with a pet park! Try to keep them occupied with a few high-intensity activities per week. 

Remember to keep them on a schedule! That way they can expect when they’ll be taken out and know when it’s playtime. Grab some breed appropriate toys from local pet stores like Pet Supplies Plus or PetSmart!

Location

When searching for a place for you and your pet, aim for the first floor. Especially if you have a puppy, they’ll need frequent trips to the bathroom. You may also want to consider looking for places that have a dog or pet park. Here at University Park, we have two fully equipped dog parks so your best friend can safely run around obstacles with peers their own size!

Heading out for a night with your friends? Bring them along too! There are plenty of pet friendly bars around Knoxville like Brickyard Brewery and Cool Beans. Or if you enjoy doing other activities or have other hobbies, search places around your area that allow you to bring your pets!

Savings

Most places require a pet fee in order to have them in your apartment. When asking around, be sure to take any fees and extra rent into account. 

With all pets, accidents are bound to happen, especially if you get a puppy! It’s a smart move to save a little extra for any damages that you may need to cover after moving out. 

By: Lalita Tinari, Leasing Consultant

Credit Builder – Build Your Credit Score and Save Money

credit builderLeverage your largest monthly expense to start building your credit today.

My credit report was low because I didn’t have much history or many cards, even though I’d never been late on a rent payment. Using Credit Builder helped me show the world I was actually a qualified buyer. Thank you!

Brynn S. (Logan, UT)

Without good credit, people can’t get the house they want, the loan they need, or the car they’re dreaming of. That’s why it is important to take any opportunity you have that can raise your credit score.

At University Park, we offer our residents to do just that with CreditBuilder, which helps to raise credit scores on average 20-40 points every year through reporting on-time rent payments.  

Credit scores are important because they can determine your credit approval, and lower scores may cause extra fees to be associated with approval if a score ranges from 300 to 600. Not having an established credit history for at least three years and late payments can both negatively impact scores.

Renters using CreditBuilder have their monthly lease payments automatically reported to multiple credit bureaus, so if they don’t have any credit cards or loans, rent payment will help to start establishing credit. 

Guarantors or parents who help pay the monthly rent will also benefit from CreditBuilder. With monthly rent payments being reported to help build credit, the renter or student will begin to build their own credit, so the guarantor won’t have to co-sign for any future credit requirements.  

Through a resident portal, CreditBuilder also allows residents who enroll access to a wide range of  financial tools and education such as:

  • industry-leading money management tools
  • debt-to-income ratios
  • budgeting software
  • financial education and advice

All of these tools are a great way for residents to get started on their path to financial responsibility. CreditBuilder also won’t immediately report late rent payments from negatively impacting scores since it only reports late payments if they aren’t made within 30 days. 

The longer someone is on a lease and having their payments reported, the more payment history will impact their credit score. On-time payments can account for up to a third of the total, so that can go a long way in improving your score!

Learn more about Credit Builder

View the brochure here. To get started building your credit, contact us today.

Tips for Living in Your First Apartment

cat over looking apartment

Moving out on your own for the first time can be scary. It’s a new place, you’re without your parents, and in some cases, you’re moving in with someone you might not know. You also might wonder if you are bringing the right things? Maybe you are overthinking and bringing too much?

Your first apartment can either be a nightmare or a great next step along your journey! Here are some helpful tips for how to start out on the right foot when getting your first place on your own:

Tip #1: Consider Your Finances

Before moving out on your own, you need to assess your finances. Who will be paying for your new place? If it’s you, can you afford to move out? What bills are you currently paying? What’s your budget looking like?

The last thing you want to do is move out before you can afford to. Make sure you have enough to take moving costs into consideration as well. Some places require security deposits, others require first and last month. Find out what’s included in rent. Will you be paying utilities? Budget for things like gas and food but also cleaning supplies, toiletries, and an emergency fund. 

Tip #2: Practice Good Habits

It would probably be ideal to practice these before moving out but practicing good habits on your own will make transitioning a breeze. Create a schedule for when to do chores, study times, and free time. 

Hold yourself accountable when you’re late for class or you forget an appointment. No one will be there to tell you that you stayed out too late and should get home to either study or go to bed because you have class in the morning. 

Tip #3: Use Your Resources

Just because you’re on your own for the first time, doesn’t mean you’re by yourself. Remember to surround yourself with a good support system. 

Keep in mind that even if your parents aren’t right there, they’re a phone call away. If you’re having any issues with your living space, the office staff is there to help the best they can. Check out local shops for great deals and local pages for events in your area. 

Tip #4: Talk with Your Roommates

When some people think of having roommates, sometimes they think of horror stories of roommates doing crazy things or being unsanitary. If your apartment offers it, sign up for their roommate matching program so you get placed with someone who best fits your characteristics.

You don’t always get the ability to use roommate matching when moving somewhere new. It’s important to set boundaries and discuss how your ideal household would run. Talk about who will be bringing what, if you’re okay with sharing common household items and what rules should be set in place.

Tip #5: Consider What to Bring

When living at home, you don’t realize how much extra stuff you really need when you move out. It’s not just food and clothes anymore, you now have to budget for cleaning supplies, extra appliances and little things here and there that seem to be in never-ending supply. When initially moving, don’t overdo it with what you bring, remember the essentials. 

If you’re moving into a fully furnished apartment, keep in mind what they’re supplying so you’re not bringing duplicates and cluttering your space. Ask beforehand the size of the bed and even test one out while touring so you can determine if you need a mattress pad and to buy any sheets you need prior to moving. 

No matter where you end up moving your first time, remember that there are plenty of resources for you to use, that a good support system will make or break your experience and that this is your time to grow on your own and discover yourself! 

If you have any questions about what you’ll need to look for in finding your next apartment home, feel free to reach out to us either on our website or calling (865) 409-2955.

By: Lalita Tinari, Leasing Consultant

Where Should I Live? Student Housing vs. Residential Housing vs. Campus Housing

student housing graphicWhen looking for a place to live in Knoxville, there are a bunch of different options for you to choose from, including off-campus student housing and campus living. 

Comparing and contrasting the prices, locations and amenities/features will help you select which option is the right one for you. 

The list below is a comparison of University Park to other student apartments, rentable houses in Knoxville and dorms/apartments available through The University of Tennessee (UTK). All pricing is accurate as of the time this blog is posted.

Campus Living

Communal Dorm – Average for Double/Shared Room – $899

Suite-Style Dorm –  Average for Double Room/Shared Bathroom – $970

Apartment-Style Dorm – Average for Four Bedrooms, Two Bathroom – $1,151

There are a lot of different options for campus living. While most dorms come furnished, each option varies on whether it has a kitchen and a common area.

At the University of Tennessee, the university provides cable and WIFI, and utility costs are included in the price. 

The communal dorms are a single bedroom with access to a large bathroom shared by everyone on a floor. Suite-style dorms are either a shared single room with a bathroom attached or two rooms with two people each and a shared bathroom for all four people. 

Living on campus would also mean that the resident would have to buy a parking pass for a noncommuter, which is close to $300 for a full year. 

Houses for Rent

Average for Two Bedroom, One Bathroom – $900

Average for Four Bedroom, Two Bathroom – $1,650

When searching for a conventional apartment or house, the features and amenities will be different for each house. 

Some have in-unit washers and dryers, but most have hook-ups for a washer and dryer. Most options are not furnished, so renters would need to bring their own furniture sets as well. Renting a house would also mean losing access to property features of apartment complexes, like a large pool, hammock gardens and a sand volleyball court.

With this option, utilities and WIFI are the responsibility of the renter, so that would add extra bills for the cost of setting up an internet connection, and getting the electricity turned on.

There’s also no roommate matching or individual lease liability for houses, so renters would be entering a lease with someone they already know or found. You would also be responsible for the full rent amount if a roommate was unable to pay their rent. 

Main Market Competitor 

Two-Bedroom, Two Bathroom – $639, $669 per bedroom

Four-Bedroom – $480 per bedroom

The complex is about two and a half miles away from UTK and downtown, so a little farther than University Park. 

The features of the apartment unit are all the same, in terms of what is included and the type of flooring, except that the kitchen doesn’t have a garbage disposal. They include water in the sum of their market rent price and there is an option to add on $30 for electric, with additional billing if the electric usage exceeds $30.

Their clubhouse also features a computer lounge, a fitness center, a tanning bed, a hangout area, a volleyball court, and a pool.

They have a basketball court and sundeck, whereas University Park has hammock gardens, a fire pit, and two dog parks.

There is free parking on-site and a shuttle that will take UTK students to campus.

University Park

Two-Bedroom, One Bathroom – $640 per bedroom

Four-Bedroom, Two Bathroom- $480 per bedroom

University Park is less than two miles away from UTK and downtown. Each bedroom in the apartment unit is rented to a single person, and each roommate is individually responsible for their share of rent and utilities. 

Every apartment at University Park is equipped with:

  • all the kitchen appliances
  • a washer and dryer
  • a full-furniture set in the common area and bedrooms
  • WIFI and cable
  • Carpeted bedrooms 
  • Wood flooring in the common area and bathrooms 

The vanity area has two sinks with separate cabinet space. Each bedroom door comes with its own lock and key. The complex also offers roommate matching. 

The office and clubhouse are located in the center of the property. In the clubhouse, residents have access to:

  • a computer lounge with free printing open 24/7
  • two workout rooms
  • a Starbucks coffee machine
  • a tanning bed
  • a pool table
  • study nooks, other seating, and a large flat screen smart tv

Residents have access to a large, resort-style pool and the furniture within the pool gates. Beside the pool, there is a full-sized sand volleyball court, and residents have access to a volleyball kept in the office. Two large charcoal grills are also in the area with two picnic tables. 

There are also two hammock gardens, one on each side of the property. One of the gardens also has a large fire pit encircled by two concrete benches.

The most recent addition to the property is two dog parks. One is for dogs 50 lbs. and over and one for 50 lbs. and under. They both feature obstacles for the dogs and seating for their owners. 

Residents have free access to a trash compactor and parking. UTK students can also ride the KAT bus from University Park to campus.

Why is University Park the right choice?

University Park is very close to the college and downtown and provides a shuttle to take students to campus, but residents don’t have to pay the cost of living on campus. 

The property features a lot of activities residents can spend their free time doing that houses don’t offer, and each apartment comes furnished with utilities already set-up. You can also read our blog post on The Top 10 Reasons to Live at University Park.

University Park runs very closely with its market competitor but overall offers more to its residents. 

Visit our website or call (865) 409-2955 to schedule a tour or contact us about our specials and learn more about how University Park is the right choice for you!

By: Ashley Depew, Leasing Consultant

Top 10: Why to Live at University Park

10 reasons to live at University Park

When looking for a new place, there’s usually a list of “must-haves” people keep in mind while touring apartments. Some people like to be close to downtown, while others want to be able to come home to a quiet environment where they can kick back and relax. 

Whether you’re looking for a pet friendly home or a place to meet new people, University Park has a little something for everyone!

10. Friendly Staff

When looking for an apartment, having an on-site staff that you can communicate with can make a big difference.  We want you to trust us to not only create an environment where you can voice your concerns but also to just stop in to say hello or relax! Don’t avoid the office, interacting with our residents is one of our favorite parts of the job.

9. Cable/WiFi

With our society becoming more digital, today’s renters rate reliable cable and internet at the top of their list in terms of importance. Gigabit internet and cable are easily accessible to you and included in your rental installment, so you’re able to focus on other things like homework and catching up on your favorite shows.

8. Interactive Community

We love when our community gets together and participates in our resident events. Between events like Breakfast-on-the-Go to Super Bowl watch parties, we’re always looking for different ways to have fun. Follow our social media pages and keep us updated on things you’d like to do too!

7. Space

With individual leasing, it’s important to have your own space. At University Park, having your own bedroom, shared common space, and access to a number of amenities means you’ll have plenty of it! You’ll also get raised beds, plenty of closet space and the ability to put up all the shelves you want (without having to use command strips)! 

6. Fully-Furnished

No furniture? No problem! We’re a fully furnished complex. In the bedroom, we provide everything including a dresser, desk, chair, mattress and bedframe. You’ll also have access to kitchen appliances, couch, armchair, coffee table and even a washer and dryer!

5. Amenities

Looking for something to do on the property? We have a little something for everyone for whatever your interests are! You can lounge by the pool and work on your tan. If it’s winter, you can take the opportunity to use our tanning room! You can set up a movie date in the clubhouse and relax or study in one of the desk nooks. You can join in on some competitive fun in our volleyball court. 

You’ll also have access to: our 24-hour business center, gym and cardio center, pet park (for large and small dogs), hammock gardens, and fire pit. As for everyone’s favorite, stop by the clubhouse for a hot cup of joe from our Starbucks machine!

4. Pet Friendly

Those of you bringing your furry friends, University Park is the place for you and your pet. There’s a one time only $400 Pet Fee and no pet rent. Take them to the pet park to run around and enjoy the sun. Or if you’d like some company, join our pet group chat when you move in, and you can even schedule puppy playdates with other residents in the community!

3. 24/7 Emergency Maintenance

Here at University Park we also offer a few additional services like 24-hour emergency maintenance, weekly pest control and even an on-site Courtesy Officer. You can count on our maintenance team to help out any time in the event of a flood, electrical issue or if you experience any issues with your HVAC unit. 

2. Convenience

Everyone wants to live in an area that is conveniently located. Our complex is only about 3-5 minutes from Downtown and the University of Tennessee’s campus where you can enjoy the farmers market, nightlife and access to all sorts of events. We’re also a stop on Knoxville Area Transit’s bus line that’ll take you to and from Neyland Stadium right from the property. 

We also give you access to pay your rent online and enter maintenance requests directly through your resident portal! You can check balances, set up auto payments, and access a calendar of that month’s resident events.

1. Best Rates in Knoxville

We often get asked, “What’s the best part about living at University Park?” We have the best rates in Knoxville with the best value! Cable, internet, and trash are all included in your rent, so you only have to worry about utilities, which you can also pay through your resident portal!

Visit our website or call (865) 409-2955 to schedule a tour or contact us about our awesome specials!

By: Lalita Tinari, Leasing Consultant

What to Look For in Your Next Apartment Home

Tips for Living at Your First Apartment

Moving to a new town or area and finding the right apartment home can be scary. Between looking for a new job or going to a new school, moving has its challenges. Looking for a new home doesn’t need to be like that! Before jumping into a new place, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the process. 

Are you more focused on saving money, luxury living, or are you looking for a good middle ground? You’ll also want to consider things like pricing, location, included amenities, and other deal breakers? Asking the right questions when speaking to a leasing agent can make or break your whole experience!

Here are six items you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the process:

1. Pricing and What’s Included

When looking at apartments, your price range and budget should be one of your top priorities. Consider asking your leasing agent important questions related to what all will be included along with your rent. Some examples would be:

  • Does this unit come fully furnished?
  • What all is included in my rent amount?
  • What kind of maintenance or pest control is in place?
  • What other requirements would I be financially responsible for? (Renters Insurance, Utilities, etc.)

2. Neighborhood/Location

When moving anywhere, location is key. Is the complex convenient to your job/school? If you’re a more social person, is it nearby nightlife? If you’re more introverted, is the property more secluded? 

Take a look around the area when you take your tour. Take note of how close you are to grocery stores, gyms, libraries and any other businesses you frequently use. Do some research on fun things to do in the area and even ask your leasing agent for recommendations on what to do near you!

3. Amenities

Some apartments are fully furnished, some provide cable/internet but what else do you get living there? Different complexes offer different amenities such as a pool, game rooms, coffee stations or gyms. Check the complex’s website where most places will have a list of their amenities available and see which of them you’d utilize frequently!

4. Pet Policy

Not everyone has or brings their pets with them when they move, but if you’re one who does plan to bring your furry friend, you’ll want to make sure they’re welcome at your new apartment. During your tour, keep an eye out for things like pick-up stations, green areas, and even a pet park! 

When looking at the living area, some things to consider are whether or not there’s enough space for the size of your pet. You’ll also want to ask if there are size, weight or breed restrictions? Are there any additional fees or rent associated with bringing your pet? Be sure your new home is not only comfortable for you but also your best friend.

5. Upfront Costs/Qualifying

Different apartments have different ways to qualify and upfront costs. Some give you different ways to qualify on your own, the option to use a cosigner or even deposits in place of screenings like credit checks. 

Sometimes apartments don’t perform screenings and go based solely on income. Other times, places will allow you to pay your first, last month and a deposit instead! Be sure to ask your agent what qualifications you need to meet and what type of deposits are required.

6. The Lease

The last step in the leasing process is the lease itself. This is the agreement the complex is offering to you. By signing, you’re agreeing to the terms and accepting the offer. Be sure to thoroughly read through the agreement so you fully understand the terms being offered to you. Ask any questions you need clarification on and remember, no question is a silly question!

Putting in time and effort up front can go a long way in making sure you find the perfect place that’s right for you. If you have any questions about what you’ll need to look for in finding your next apartment home, feel free to reach out to us either on our website or calling (865) 409-2955.

By: Lalita Tinari, Leasing Consultant