You need a price range for school type you want. Apartments are $700-1500 month including NO utilities paid for by them. Houses are more expensive $800-1800 per month with you paying utilities, again. Condos aren't worth it unless you're a college student unmarried. Go to grocery stores & pick up SEVERAL real estate books, 2 rental guides, "Reach Out" for community events. It has a top library in town. Stay away from parks after dark!!! Like any place, crime and violence are found closer to town. You pay taxes every year on cars, boats, and trucks. You are better off buying a house AFTER living there a year to get to know what you like and where you like. Don't move to Airport areas or where public housing is or use to be until they get it cleaned up better from too many gangs the last 4 years. S.C. has the highest incidence of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, babies born out of wedlock, and highest rate of domestic violence to name a few. Hospitals are real good with teaching hospitals. The school system in the state has the LOWEST test scores in the country. MANY mothers homeschool and stay home to do it as husbands can afford to have one paycheck for the benefit to homeschool them even in the the best of schools in the greater Columbia, SC area. After many, many years, WE LEFT!!! Lake Murray (Northwest area and Lexington area) is a pretty place but VERY expensive in the millions of dollars. Lake Carolina (up Northeast area)is too crowded with cheap built homes with very expensive price tags.