Post # 1
FI and I still live at home, due to family/religous beliefs. We recently started apartment hunting and I am amazed at how they all vary in sizes, prices, and amentities.
I think we finally decided on one (FI wants to move out first, and then I’ll move in when we’re married). I did find it very intersting how some small apartments were more expensive than some of the larger ones we found, all in the same general area, and all kept very nice.
We saw some that were seriously a shoe box with no storage, no pantry, no closets, and they were way out of our budget. Then the one decided on (and a couple others) was more spacious, had tons of storage, nice kitchens, and even a fireplace. And it’s even on the low end of our budget!
How did your apartment hunting go, and how did you decide on the which you wanted for your home?
Post # 3
It was mostly trial and error for us! After sacrificing things each time we picked a new apartment, we eventually compliled a list of things that were NECESSARY for the next one! For example, our last apartment had 2 bedrooms and a SMALL kitchen, we rented it for its location to campus (SO still in school). We realized by the end of the lease, that we dont need 2 bedrooms, we need a larger kitchen ( I LOVE to cook) and we didnt need to be smack next to campus because its more expensive and has less of what we want! We now live about 2 miles from campus in a luxury apartment complex, with the same SQ footage, 1 bedroom, granite BIG kitchen, and we LOVE it!!! Oh and its the same price we were paying for our crappy last apartment!
I do suggest looking at apartmentratings.com or something similar online. In all honesty, most of our issues have been the management and front office of the apartments we have lived at. It really makes a difference to find somewhere that is known for their great management and maintenance team! The ones we live at were recommended by a friend of mine from college who lived there for 6 years just because she loved the property manager and many more people said the same when we looked it up online!
Post # 4
@misschickpea: Thanks for sharing! I’ve already done lots of research, and have friends that live in the same complex we’re interested in and they love it 🙂
Post # 5
We complied a list of must haves. It was a short list- low crime area, in-apartment washer and dryer, attached garage and not above our set budget- but it was HARD to find one. We started online and narrowed down a bunch of places to check out by budget and checking our local police crime map. We finally decided to go touring. We eliminated the ones we really didn’t like and kept the materials for the apartments we felt could be somewhere we’d be happy living and compared them all in a spreadsheet.
Ultimately we fell in love with two complexes, the one we are in now and their sister complex. The sister complex was great. It was the same apartment, everything we wanted, plus extras. Unfortunately they were $500 per more for that same apartment because they had more community extras (more pools, bigger gym, community laundromat-style washers and dryers in addition to the in-apartment ones, etc). We ended up deciding the extra money wasn’t worth it and chose our community instead.
We have the perfect apartment for us. 3bdrm, 2bath, 1200sqft, attached 2 car garage, washer and dryer in the garage, all within our budget. It took a couple of months to find the perfect fit for us, so I guess my advice is start early, do a ton of research and don’t compromise on your must-haves.
Post # 6
As someone who has lived in MANY apartments, and have also been a landlord, one thing I can tell you is when you are looking at apartments, look first at the neighborhood they are in. Would you feel safe walking across this parking lot at night? Look at the grounds and hallways. Does everything look clean and kept up? When you are walking through the hallways, can you actually hear what is going on inside the other apartments? That will tell you how soundproof the walls are. Also, some complexes have lots of bells and whistles that add up. You may be paying for a complex with a pool, then never use it. Is their a manager or maintenence person living on-site or nearby, and available 24/7? You have to think about what is important to you. If you love to cook, make sure you have a good sized kitchen with workspace. If you are an outdoors person, make sure you have a deck or patio space. If you have pets make sure it is pet friendly.
This may sound weird, but when you are looking at apartments, look at the cars in the parking lot. Are they nicer, upkept cars, or falling apart junkers? You really can judge your neighbors by their cars. Someone who doesn’t care about their dented up, out of date license plates and has a car brimming with trash probably isn’t going to care that his partying friends are keeping you up all night.
Post # 7
We were very much the same way. We didn’t live together till marriage due to personal and religious beliefs, so searching for apartments together was exciting but a little nerve-wracking, too.
For us, the biggest difference in price came with location, whether more urban or suburban. We found an apartment we loved with two bedrooms, two baths, and lots of storage, in the suburbs for $200 less a month than something slightly closer to downtown. Crazy! So our location may not be quite as “hip” as it could be, it’s so much more reasonably priced, and it works great for us.
We moved all of our “stuff” in a week before the wedding, and then we came home to our new place when we got back from the honeymoon.
Post # 8
We haven’t lived together before, more due to our families’ feelings about it than ours. “We” just moved into our apartment last weekend, although I am technically still living at my parents’ home. Our apartment search turned out interesting. We knew we wanted to find the perfect apartment so we started searching a year ago so we’d have time to get on a wait list if needed. The first apartment we visited was beautiful! Big open floor plan, fireplace, huge open kitchen, Washer/Dryer hookups, big storage area in the breezeway and just a few minutes drive for each of us to work. We loved it but decided immediately it was out of our price range. Over the next year we looked at almost every apartment community in our city and surrounding area. So many of them were trashy and just as expensive or even more expensive than that first one. We almost decided on an apartment 30 minutes away from our workplaces but closer to our families, because it was a little cheaper. Then that one raised their prices. Lol, so after a year of searching, we went back to that first one we saw and signed the lease 😛 I love it and I’m sooo glad we went with it! My favorite is the huge kitchen. I don’t know how we would have survived in one of those apts with 1/2 the kitchen space. Oh and the washer and dryer. Feels like we’ve done 10 loads of laundry already lol.
Post # 9
@swanks4tw: Ooh, good point. The apartment complex we chose was one of the few we looked at the had washer/dryer hookups. That was important to me!
Post # 10
Gemstone, The washer and dryer were such a big deal to me. If an apartment didn’t have hookups, I was immediately done looking at it lol. I couldn’t believe how many of them didn’t even have a laundry facility. Just one washer and one dryer per floor for everyone to share. Although they all promised that no one ever had to wait to do their laundry, I found that hard to believe.
Post # 11
@swanks4tw: Agreed! I never understood how so many units could share a single washer and dryer. Although we HATED having to buy a washer and dryer, the convenience is totally worth the cost!!!
Post # 12
DH and I moved in May after about a month of looking at every available apartment in the neighborhood. In NYC, location is everything so obviously if we wanted to be on a nicer street or better spot, the quality of apartment would go down while the price went up. Finally, we had to make a list of amenities and put them in order of importance. We were willing to do without things like a second bathroom, washer/dryer in unit, brand new appliances, amazing view, etc. but our non-negotiables were that it had to be in a doorman building, at least 750 sq feet with enough closet space, not the ground floor and there had to be a dishwasher.
In the end, we ended up with an amazing view, high floor, washer dryer in unit, totally gut renovated kitchen and 900 sq ft in a doorman building, but we compromised on the locaiton. It’s still in our desired neighborhood, but not as ‘in the mix’ as we had hoped for, so we have to walk a little farther to get to things. It’s actually nice that way though because we now live in a mini community of only residents which are mostly older people with families instead of our old building which was a total mixed bag and younger crowd.
Post # 13
We live in an apartment and the important things to us was adequate and well lit parking, as well complex layout and amenities, our complex has several laundry rooms, swimming pool and lots of parking. In addition each building only has 2 floors. This means no noisy elevators and only one other person uses the same main entrance as us because its one main door for every two apartments.
Post # 14
I’ve been apartment shopping twice, for myself but FI came with to look around. We didn’t even look anywhere out of my budget- if the price was too high, it was automatically out. However, we took into consideration water, heat, electricity, etc when we calculated cost- some places that seemed cheap didn’t cover any utilities, and places that were a little higher included all utilities- so the prices evened out. We also looked at parking spaces, I ended up with a parking spot both times. I’ve looked up reviews of landlords and apartments online as well.
Overall though, it was just about going and looking at the place, and getting a good feeling from it or not. One place was really nice and in budget, but it was out of town. Another place was a great layout and area, but it was in a bad part of town. The place I picked was by no means a really nice place, but it was small, cute, and just right. The place I’m living in now… I already knew I wanted these landlords, and all the places I looked were in the same neighborhood, so I just went with the cheapest, haha.
Post # 15
It went pretty fast amazingly. We called a list of different apartments that was listed. Most was no pets. :/ So we kept calling. The ones that did allow pets was way out of our price range. So we finally came into town (we was moving out of state but only an hours drive.) & We passed up some apartments & wrote there numbers down but nothing was what we wanted. We came back again & bam we found it! They had one apartment left & it was the first one we called. We wanted a two bedroom but it was a one bedroom. It was very much in our price range & it allowed pets! Its older apartments so I really love its charm. Our landlord is really sweet, she’s so nice! Our pets are allowed, its in price range so we love it! We wanted two bedrooms but we are just find with one, for now. 🙂
Post # 16
@SparklyBride2011: We were down to 3 apartment complexes. We ultimately went with the cheapest one that would get us the most space. The other 2 complexes had wonderful 2 bedroom apts with tons of space, but those were too expensive for us and the 1 bedrooms in that complex were totally lacking. The one were in now (going on 2 years!), had more space, more storage, had cheaper rent and actually had utilities inculded! So fantastic. Something we ended up with in this apartment that we hadn’t deemed a requirement before was a storage unit. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE WOULD DO WITHOUT IT. I can’t stress that enough… it’s like having a garage. Our place would be a total disaster if we didn’t have that storage unit!!
This apartment is in the city, however- so we did sacrifice access to a poll and fitness center and a balcony/patio area… but I can live without it for now. I can’t wait until I have some outside space though! And of course I can’t wait until we can afford a place with more space in general…. but we’re good for now.