(Closed) Is paying more for a nicer apartment worth it?

posted 5 years ago in Home
Post # 16
Member
919 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I think that neighbors/noise level makes a big difference…my husband and I opted for the more expensive apartment, and while we love it until about 10pm, it turns into a nightmare because the people above us throw huge parties almost every night (seriously). It’s horrible. If I could go back, I’d pick the less pricey place with the quiet neighbors, lol. Maybe that’s just me getting older…eek!

Post # 17
Member
2680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California

My husband & I live in a nice apartment at the top of our budget & it is so worth it!  We also live in a different [nicer] city than our old apartment, but we love it!  We have quiet & respectful neighbors.  We have more amenities.  We always mention how much we like this place & we can’t believe we lived in such a crappy neighborhood & smaller place when we could have moved here sooner haha.  It’s really all up to you thought, especially since it sounds like this is temporary for you two.  We plan to live here for at least another 3-4 years before we have enough saved to purchase something worthwhile!

Post # 18
Hostess
2998 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

kmartinez:  I’ve done both. I have kinda splurged on a nice place and I have lived in a real dump (to my standards) to save money. At the end of the day, this is your home so you have to be comfortable in it and feel good about coming home and relaxing in it. I felt that when I was in my not so nice apartment I never truly enjoyed being home and couldn’t wait to get out of there.  I also never wanted to clean cause I figured the place was a dump anyway. I didn’t want any of my friends or family to visit even though we had a guest bedroom. Now in my smaller but nicer apartment, I love coming home and keeping the place looking nice! I’m also not ashamed to have company over 🙂

Post # 20
Member
142 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Are those the only 2 complexes you’ve looked at? Looking at more options can help you decide what’s truly important to you. Prior to finding our current place, I had never attempted apartment hunting in LA county, so I had a few unrealistic expectations! Many appointments later, we eliminated cheaper, newer complexes in shadier locations as I expected, but I also quickly realized that having a washer/dryer in unit and new granite countertops with wood flooring were not worth the $500-1000 extra a month. Now we live in a great city and neighborhood with nice landlords and neighbors, but in a well-maintained older building without upgrades. We love where we live, and are so happy to put that extra money in savings!

So decide where your priorities lie. I always try to advocate for saving money where you can, but we can’t really tell you what to do. A homebody couple is going to have different priorities than a couple who travels several times a year. 

Post # 21
Member
2680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

kmartinez:  I could not live with noisy filthy neighbors. I did that in college. I’m past that phase now. I have to get up and go to work in the morning, I can’t deal with neighbors keeping me up all night. Dont underestimate how miserable bad neighbors can make your life. I agree with the other posters, who suggest trying to find a middle ground. I would also say to be realistic about how much the savings/sacrifice of living in the lesser apartment will impact your goal of buying a home. That really depends upon home prices in your area. Where I live the 300 or so a month you’d be saving, wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket towards a down payment. 

Post # 22
Member
1211 posts
Bumble bee

YES! We did this last December. We got a place RIGHT at the top of our budget. Every time I come home my life feels close to perfect. It’s pretty much everything I want in a condo (though I wouldn’t mind a luxe bathroom). And it’s the nicest place my guy had ever lived in outside his parents home. And something about moving into our perfect place must have triggered something in him because the next thing I knew he was ready to get married and promising me a proposal! After 5.5 years of dragging his feet, new apartment and BAM! 

I don’t know about you but my surroundings are VERY important to me. The more beautiful my surroundings the higher my state of mental health. I’ve always known exactly what type of apartment I wanted then went out and got it. I think you need to ask yourself if you’re still happy to compromise for now (which is totally fine!) or if now is the time that you demand to have your dream home. 

Either choice is fine so long as you really think it through so that you don’t regret it later.

 

Post # 23
Member
3378 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

My husband and I made the choice to spend more (like you, within our budget but at the top end of what we could afford) to live in a nicer apartment.  We actually went the other route first – when we moved to our new city, we rented a unit that cost about $150/mo less than what we’re paying now.  When we went to visit, the inside of the unit we saw looked nice, even though the community was a little run down.  Well, fast forward to moving in, and our actual apartment was a dump.  The neighbors were loud (and you could hear everything through the walls), the unit had not been maintained properly, and there were actually code violations (which were the reason we were able to get out of the lease).  It was a bait-and-switch situation where they showed us the model unit, claiming that ours would be basically the same, and then rented us a piece of crap.  We hated every minute of being there, and signed a new lease and moved out as soon as possible.

This was probably an extreme example, but we learned a few things from this experience.  #1 – always insist on seeing the actual unit you will be renting.  If they say it’s not possible, walk away.  #2 – look carefully at the level of maintenance around the community.  If the complex itself looks run-down, there’s a good chance the apartment will not get the proper care and maintenance once you’re all moved it.  #3 – consider the total cost.  Our rent is more expensive right now, but I’m pretty positive it will all even out when you factor in utility costs.  The less-expensive apartment also had cheaper window and doors and clearly poor insulation (since we could hear everything our neighbors were doing).  We would have been hemorraging money come winter with heating costs.

Best of luck!  It’s a hard decision to make, but I do think it’s important to take into account quality of life issues – spending a little more is worth it if it makes the difference between living somewhere that you can tolerate and living somewhere that you love.

Post # 24
Member
10997 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Ugh, there is nothing worse for me than loud neighbors.  I’ve sold houses & moved just to get away from noisy neighbors.

The decision would be a no brainer for me, personally.  I have got to have peace & tranquility in my own home.

But, I’m especially noise sensitive.

As long as the nicer place was in my budget, I’d go for it & look for other places I could cut monthly expenses.

Post # 25
Member
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

It depends. If nice means safer then by all means pay the extra money. But if nice means granite vs laminate not unless you’re renting to own. It would be better to save the difference and use that money as a/another emergency fund. 

Post # 26
Member
1784 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

kmartinez:  We chose to live in a small, crappy apartment for 4 years so we could buy a house. Now we have the house and although at times it was ‘hard’ to live there (aka: depressing) now having the house we always wanted makes it worth it. I think of wasting even what we did pay for rent and am like ‘damn, that’s our mortgage payment now.’ Best of luck and congrats!

Post # 27
Member
4698 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

To me, owning a home is far more important than renting something lavish. I’d rather find something in the middle of my budget and put the remainder aside for a down payment. Far more fiscally responsible than paying all that I can afford towards someone elses mortgage.

 

Post # 28
Member
273 posts
Helper bee

The neighbours would be the deal breaker for me. Are we talking loud during the day, or loud at night? If it’s just a noisy neighbourhood during the day then it wouldn’t bother me, but if I could hear parties and shouting through the walls at night then it would be a deal breaker.

If the cheaper apartment is fully functional and clean and the neighbours aren’t loud at night, then it’s worth saving $350 a month, since it sounds like you intend to buy a house sooner rather than five or ten years down the line.

Post # 29
Member
1796 posts
Buzzing bee

kmartinez:  we pay about $350 above average rent in our area for a “luxury” apartment, and definitely think it’s worth it. we live in a bad area though, so we pay extra for the security of a gated community away from town. Our apartment is spacious with great architectural features. That wasn’t a huge deal when we were looking, but we are happy now to have those features over older cabinets, fixtures and a closed floor plan. we can see ourselves staying in this apartment until we buy a house, which will save us money in the long run rather than moving from apt to apt. 

 

Post # 30
Member
2837 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

kmartinez:  I vote yes– and this is coming from someone who has lived in an apartment or duplex (which is basically like an apartment) from 22 til I was 31.

A huge reason why….or at least around here?  Splurging a little here gets you the nicer kitchen.  I always used to think I could live with a super small kitchen because I loved the rest of the apartment….but after a few months, the newness of the place would wear off and I’d be jonsing for a nicer kitchen.

 

We live in a house right now.  But we have a baby on the way and two bedrooms (we already have a six year old)– and have seriously contemplated moving into an apartment with three bedrooms for a year or so until we buy a different home.  And I there’s no way we won’t be splurging to get the nicer place– IF we go ahead and do this.  

 

I suppose it depends on your personalities though- you might be OK with the lesser nice place.  You have to weigh your pros and cons, and only you can do that.

Do you guys like to cook together/spend a lot of time in the kitchen?  If that’s a big part of your life, I’d say get the nicer place.

 

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