Is paying more for a nicer apartment worth it?

posted 2 years ago in Home
Post # 2
Member
3702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Yes and no. Though I would be less concerned with the “looks” of the apartment. As long as everything is in working order, you can live without granite and stainless, but you really don’t want to be dealing bad neighbors and a potentially bad landlord. Having to deal with loud neighbors or an uncooperative landlord will drive you crazy and it’s probably not worth saving the money in my opinion. You will be happier (and more sane) in a nicer neighborhood with a good landlord. Now if you could find that in an apartment that was perhaps a bit cheaper in that it may not have all the upgrades, then that may be the best of both worlds. 

Post # 3
Member
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

The apartments I live in are older and look kind of run down from the outside, but they’re huge inside and the rent is cheap. In my own situation I didn’t feel as though spending an extra $400 a month on looks was worth it, because as you said, it’s not really going toward anything.

Post # 4
Member
849 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

kmartinez:  My SO and I have been renting an apartment that’s considered “cheap” for Boston for the past 3 years with the intention of buying a house in the 1-2 years. Our rent is about $300- $500 cheaper than what most of our friends pay and we’ve been putting that money away. Personally, I think it’s worth it. There are times when I look at nicer apartments and *almost* talk myself into at least looking at them, but when I really sit down and think about it, I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m also very motivated to buy and I am doing all that I can to save as much as possible.

That said, everyone is different and you have to ask yourself whether you’d be happy in the cheaper place. Personally, curb appeal is not that important to me since you’re living on the inside. Neighbors come and go which is also something you need to keep in mind. I would suggest listing pros/cons and see if you can happily live with the cons of the cheaper place.

Post # 5
Hostess
9919 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

kmartinez:  we opted to pay more to live in a nice place.  Yes it’s money down the drain and it makes it a little harder to save for the house we want.  On the flip side we actually LIKE our apartment (not our current neighbours but that’s another story) so we’re okay with spending nights at home, we lived in places that were cheap that we didn’t like so much and we spent a lot of time and money finding reasons to NOT be there.

Post # 6
Member
602 posts
Busy bee

My husband and I live in what would be considered a “luxury apartment complex”. The community is upscale and beautiful. We have high end amenities both inside and out of our unit. Our apartment has more luxuries than the homes that our immediate family members own, but it comes at a price. We pay the equivilant of a mortgage to live here. It’s extremely expensive and includes next to nothing (they cover basic cable and internet, but we pay for all of the upgraded stuff). While our apartment has been the perfect home for us, the cost has made it hard to save what we will need to eventually buy our own home. Hopefully we’ll be able to next year but that’s after having lived here for 7+ years. 

We have friends who live a few miles away in a similar apartment. Theirs isn’t as nice but it’s roughly the same size with some of the same amenities inside but none of what we have outside. Their rent is about $400 less than ours but I believe it also includes some utilities. Their neighborhood is a bit sketchy so obviously location has influenced the cost. 

It comes down to what you want. I’m happy with our home but I think I could have been just as happy living in a less lavish apartment (as long as it had central air and a garage! lol). If I had to do it again, I think I still would have rented our apartment because it’s provided us with a very comfortable home for several years, although who knows. We could have already been in a house by now had we not had to pay so much to live here. 

Post # 7
Member
12 posts
Newbee

As long as the place you like more is in your price range then go with that.

It makes such a difference to be happy in your home and your neighborhood. We were living in the us for my work last year and decided to save on rent (which is hardly possible in Manhattan) and got a smaller place. We were so cramped and did not have enough light, not fun. Now we are in an apartment we love and we are putting so much more into the place to make it feel like home

The financial plus side of renting is that you dont have to deal with maintenance or property taxes.  My parents property tax just went up $200 a month! Things are crazy in our city right now (toronto) we have been putting money into our investment portfolio instead of a mortgage until housing stabilizes. 

Post # 8
Member
2056 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

Personally, I would spend that money elsewhere, not on more expensive rent. Renting is such a waste so I try to keep mine minimal by not living in a luxury apartment but one that is still comfortable and safe. The downsides you listed for the apartment that is $350 cheaper/month don’t sound all that significant IMO.

If you’re thinking in the long run (which you should be), you’ll be able to save up for your dream house much sooner. I’d be willing to make some sacrifices for 1-2 years if it meant I could have my dream home sooner than anticipated.

Post # 9
Member
6614 posts
Bee Keeper

I wouldn’t pay extra for amenities that I don’t use, but having nice neighbors will make for a more peaceful living situation. I’m a homebody, so it’s important for me to like where I live. I think paying a little extra for the first apartment you described is worth it.

Post # 10
Member
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - Country Cottage and Gardens

citysparkle:  Just out of curiosity, where do you live in Boston? I just moved to Boston at the beginning of September. It was a really tough move because I had to move at that time in order to start grad school but FI isn’t coming until December. So I was sort of forced into a TINY studio since it was all I could afford on my own until he gets here. Then hopefully when the lease is up we can get something else. I’m curious to see where you were able to find “affordable” rent in Boston.

Post # 11
Member
3195 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

kmartinez:  

If your goal is to buy eventually, it makes more sense to rent the cheaper apartment so that you can save towards your own house.

My husband and I do not mind splurging on rent for now because we will not be buying for more than 7 years from now. Our rent is cheaper than average for our spacious two bedroom apartment and we are quite comfortable where we are. We are very blessed that we don’t even have to pay utilities here.

Post # 12
Member
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - Country Cottage and Gardens

I think it comes down to where you would be happy living. If there’s a possibility you could do some decorating  and be happy in the cheaper place then go for it. The outside doesn’t matter a great deal because in the end you’re not sitting there staring at the outside. You’re in the apartment. I lived in a place for a year that was great on the inside but looks kind of run down on the outside. I was kind of concerned with that at first but in the end it really didn’t matter. The neighbors part is a little more disconcerting but also depends on preferences. If you want a really quiet, relaxing place then maybe it’s not for you because then that leads back to the happiness factor. I personally would probably suck it up and save the money just because I’ve lived in three cities in the last 5 years and am used to dealing with “not so hot” apartments for the sake of the short term. Maybe if you live in the cheaper one and start looking at areas that you really want to buy then that will give you some motivation and soemthing to be excited about working towards. 

Post # 13
Member
4030 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

kmartinez:  Our apartment is nice, a decent size, in a nice area of our town, and is very well priced (we pay $590/month in rent). We considered moving this year to a new place, but we would still be renting. We hope to buy either this coming summer or summer 2016. After discussing it, it didn’t make any sense to move and possibly pay more when we’re working on saving to buy our first home. Sometimes I look at cuter or more upgraded apartments and think it would be nice, but I love our little home. It is perfect until we find our first home. In my opinion, as long as you’re in a safe neighborhood with good landlords, I would always choose to pay less. 

Post # 14
Member
3702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

LauraR:  I know you weren’t talking to me, but I lived in Boston for 5 years, so I thought I could offer up my experiences. I lived in the Northeastern University area (technically part of Fenway-Kenmore, close to Back Bay), really not a great area for cheap rent. I paid $1950 for a 1 bedroom apartment and $1250 for a studio, and that didn’t include anything. I know that people had cheaper rent in the Brigham Circle/Mission Hill area, but that area can definitely be more sketchy, given it’s proximity to Roxbury. I know a lot of people moved just outside the city, but still very accessible by public transport. Allston comes to mind as a place where I know people got reasonable rent. 

Post # 15
Member
497 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

kmartinez:  My husband and I live in SF, the most expensive US city for rents apparently! We really want to buy a house but want to save more before we do so. After living in a stunning 1 bedroom apartment for 1 year, our rent was increased by 20%. We made the decision it was worth saving that money and decided to look for a more affordable apartment. Our current place is half the size of our previous place and the rent is only $300/month less than what we paid initially when we moved into the “palace” as I like to refer to it. Sometimes I go crazy because our current place is so small but I know it is worth it for our future home. So think long and hard about if the nicer place is really worth the sacrifice of your savings.

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