Have been considering an apartment but, after reading this forum, I am greatly discouraged. Is there anything GOOD about living in an apartment? If so, please share.
You have none of the maintenance issues you would as an owner - no lawn to mow, no plumbing to keep in good shape, same for electrical system and very expensive new roof when needed. Plus a whole lot of others that can cost a mint!
I think whether it will be a good experience or a bad experience for you depends a lot on the apartment you choose and how much leg work and research you do when looking for a place.
When I was looking for my current apartment I knew I wanted to find a place I could stay happily for several years. I had made a list of things I didn't like about my previous apartment (high utility costs due to age, maintenance issues, etc). I used the internet to narrow down complexes that met my basic requirements (allows pets and in a specific geographical area, size), and then I physically visited each complex I was considering with my list in hand and asked a LOT of questions. I made several visits to the most promising complex at different times of the day to see how busy/noisy/crazy it was. Luckily, they had several units available, so I chose one that was far away from the clubhouse and pool to minimize noise. I talked to residents while I walked the grounds and asked them how they liked the place. I was as thorough as I could possibly think to be. Obviously, I can't control everything (for instance, our upstairs neighbors are pretty quiet, but if they moved, I'd have to just deal with that). That's just part of apartment living, however, I've found that I can put up with a lot of stuff as long as I am prepared ahead of time.
Great things about living in an apartment is that the commitment is low. If, for some reason you had to move (or just wanted to move because the place isn't what you really wanted or expected), you have that option when your lease is up. That's much harder to do with a house you own. You don't have to worry about yard maintenance, but if you like plants and gardening, you can get a place with a balcony or keep houseplants, which I think are more fun than mowing the lawn. If things break, there is someone to come and fix it for you, usually within a day. I've lived in apartments for over 10 years, and I'd like to buy a house in the next three years, but I'm pretty happy with the situation right now. I have always been lucky to have nice neighbors, or at least quiet neighbors who leave you alone. There have been kind of crummy experiences (my last place), but it was easy to pack up and move somewhere better.
There are good and bad things about apartments AND houses, they're just different issues. If you're someone who is not home often, or doesn't like yard work or physical upkeep of a larger place like a house, then I'd say an apartment or townhouse might be a good option for you.
This is an internet forum.
@westvillager: This is indeed an internet forum!
I'd say that cost and maintenance are the biggest pluses to renting an apartment. ( I don't really understand why people buy apartment style condos)
Lol. I should say that although the Internet is a global complaint blowhorn, I love the social aspect. Which is, for me, part of what makes apartment living fun. Other than college, it's where I've encountered some of the most interesting (good and bad) people. And yes, it's great to have a repairman, doorman and janitor around included in the price. :)
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm learning, and really checking things out first. However, really do not want to move again from whatever apartment I choose, and wonder if all apartments raise their rent after one year.
Some landlords raise the rent; others don't. A lot depends on the housing market. I've been in my current place for going on three years. The rent got raised $25 for my second year, but was not raised last year and won't be raised this fall when I renew my lease. But I think landlords in my area are having a difficult time filling all their apartments these days.
But I would never go into a rental situation with the expectation that the rent would never go up. The landlord has to pay taxes on the property and make repairs, maintain the grounds, shovel snow, clean and paint vacated apartments, show apartments to prospective tenants, replace worn out appliances, and, at least in my case, pay the water bill. The rent has to cover the landlord's costs and allow him/her some profit. As a landlord's costs go up, so will the rent, eventually.
What are your current living arrangements? That may be a deciding factor of whether or not apartment living is for you. I see from your profile you live in Maine (beautiful state, by the way). Don't know what they have to offer there or pricing, but I do know a few things to keep in mind.
We live in a villa we purchased now, but lived in an apartment in a college town before that. Plenty of things to watch out for in that scenario, but we found on I wish we could've stayed in forever.
One thing to ask about is the construction of the units. Ideally, concrete block is ideal because it virtually cuts out the noise from other units. Newer complexes are better than older ones because appliances, etc., are in better condition.
Our apartments were all single level with a one-car garage and two parking spaces per unit. (Ask about guest parking.) We never heard our neighbors on either side, and one side was a family of 4 with to little girls under the age of 5. So look around and see if your area has apartments similar so you have neither up or downstairs neighbors.
If you can, talk to people who live in the apartments you are interested in. Ask them how quickly management responds to maintenance calls. Also about noise. You'll be able to see by driving around them how well they grounds are kept. That's a good indicator of what it's like to live there.
Make a list of what's important to you. I can live with white walls (although I don't like them), but I did like having a laundry room right in our unit.
If you can, find out how much per year the rent is usually raised. Ours went from $1109 to $1239 in one year. That's why we moved. Sure hated to, but that's high rent in our neck of the woods. (Central Florida.)
Don't be discouraged. Forums like these attract people who are looking for help with problems that aren't being solved any other way. It's rare to see a post praising apartments or apartment living. But it's great living if you don't want to have to worry about maintaining.
Good luck to you!
patti43: Thank you for your helpful information. There is just one area where I hope to be, and I've found what seems the best spot; however, there is nothing I can do but hang in limbo until my house here sells. Now the most difficult part will be coordinating sale of the housse and renting the apartment. Lots of fun ahead for me. Thank you again, and thank everyone for their comments. Much appreciated.
don't get mad, get even. My neighbors were quiet but now that I'm moving back again I just got a new weapon in the mail today just in case people get noisy.. an old IBM model M keyboard. If you don't know what they are, here's what they sound like:
I'll side with that others are saying... no lawn to mow, no things to fix that go wrong, can leave on a whim without having to worry about selling, no realtor fees which really add up.. a fee just to get a mortgage with a bank and a fee to sell the house which is 6% in most cases.. that's a lot of money.
Plus real estate won't be doing super well again for quite some time.. renting is freedom as long as your neighbors are good... if not... get out your buckling spring keyboard and start typing away!
I have lived in apartments in the past. This is the first bad experience I have had and honestly it is because my 22 year old daughter and I had a falling out and she said some things to my neighbors so they decided to make my life hell. Don't let this forum discourage you most apartments can be a wonderful place to live.