Thursday, February 18, 2016

Doing my homework: appartment complexes

Image: http://privatemoneyutah.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Apartment-Complex-Photo.jpeg

Previously, I had researched the main, 3 bedroom appartment complexes in the city just North of here, listing amenities, square footage,  rent and fees, parking etc as well as guestimating how much of an immediate drop in living expenses would be afforded by moving to the various complexes. I ranked them in order of initial preference, from 1(top) to 5, later eliminating # 5 due to bad feedback (multiple sources), and age of complex.

I anticipate reduced living expenses in several of my line item budget costs:

-rent
-cleaning service fee
-rental insurance?
-automotive insurance?
-lawn mowing service
-plow service
-utilities (most of the appartments are 1/2 the size of this current rental) including oil, wood, electric, cable (some of the complexes come with cable/Internet as a perk)

I am a bit leary of the idea of more communial living as I don't relish the idea of being disturbed due to noisy neighbors. Quality of life is important as I look at my bottom line.

 Too much is in flux at the moment as regards work,and my health, for me to commit to buying real estate, so I will rent. DD assures me that she minimally needs another year at home. Once she does flee the nest, I can consider a 2 bedroom-not necessarily to buy nor in CT. Again, too many what ifs.

So today, I have 2 appointments and tomorrow morning brings a third. I plan on setting up a 4th this weekend, if possible.

I suspect that I would prefer an attached townhouse style unit, perhaps a condo. I haven't completely rules out another house, I am keeping my final monthly costs in mind. While I am starting my search in the city, where I spend the bulk of my time, I am not excluding nearby towns. Inventory is currently low, but should dramatically increase as Spring arrives While some complexes on my list currently have units available, it is way too soon, I am mearly exploring my options (with 2 pets in tow). Best to see what each complex has to offer, and move forward.

If you were in my shoes, what questions would you ask?

8 comments:

meme said...

I have lived in apartment complexes before - I would definitely ask what is the procedure for handling rude/loud/criminal neighbors. I had a neighbor in a complex that routinely beat his wife (I could see it from my window) - I called the police each time and reported it each time to the office - apparently, beating your wife was okay in this complex - she would be screaming loudly and he would be screaming - it was heartbreaking/horrible to see and hear. I wanted the office to take action against HIM, as it was criminal behavior.

I would also ask about "assigned" parking spaces to guarantee your spot close to your door. Again, living in a complex - I would come home to find a neighbor's guest parked in my assigned spot!

24 hour maintenance, how early the lots are plowed for when you have to work in the snow are some other things that come to mind.

Kathy said...

Sounds like you are doing a great job researching things.
We lived in an apartment for a few years, and I hope to never again. ;) I much preferred living in our townhouse. The walls seemed thicker, and it just seemed like a better atmosphere to me.
Check out the neighborhood to make sure it is safe. I think you can go online now and see if there are any sexual offenders in the neighborhood too.
I agree with finding out about maintenance requests.
Seems like so many places tack on so many fees these days, so make sure you know what is covered. Since you are renting, you don't have to worry about hoa fees, but there might be others.
Goodluck!

Belinda said...

I definitely agree with Meme on asking what the procedure is for handling rude neighbors. I was once asleep in an apartment we rented and was awoken at 3 a.m. by neighbors talking in bed right on the other side of my bedroom wall. :(

Also, ask what is the procedure for any landlord or manager entering your apartment when you are there and when you are not. I was sitting in my living room one day when the landlord took a screwdriver and entered our apartment. He should have knocked and I would have opened the door.

Best of luck to you!

Marcia said...

In my state, it is not legal for the landlord to enter your apartment when you are not there, unless there is an emergency. I don't think many landlords stick to this.

You already know the things you want to know before moving in--like how fast do they jump on problems that need fixing, -stuff they will tell you one answer about and do something entirely different! I think it would be very difficult to have close neighbors when you have been in a house, and encourage you to think hard about condos. Friends of mine sold their house and moved into an apartment because the husband was disabled. They didn't stay long before they bought another house just for the privacy --with the smallest back yard they could find!! She had to do the yard work and they were already in their 50's. Small things get bigger as you get older, and privacy is really important to me. Townhouse sounds more private.

My DD and SIL rent, they don't want to buy a house. They like the time they have without yard work, etc. Sometimes their neighbors are a problem. They live on the 1st floor. Upper floor apartments are quieter in terms of hearing the neighbors. The apartment across from them is usually rented by an older, somewhat handicapped person. They don't mind that at all. A younger family isn't as quiet!! Even allowing for assisting the older neighbor, it's easier than a younger family.

Just some things I think about.

mikemax said...

I'd hang around for awhile and see if you can chat up any residents in the parking lot, and get their opinions of the place.

Also, the only difference between a condo and an apartment is ownership. Since you may be renting a condo from an individual, find out if there is on-site management. With a condo, you would be in a similar situation--dealing with the owner--for repairs and maintenance as you have been for the last few years. Since you've lived in single family homes for such a long time, I think you might be happier in a town home--they typically afford a little more privacy and a few more opportunities to do your own thing.

mikemax said...

Belinda...you were lucky they were just talking. We once lived in an apartment where we were regularly treated to X-rated entertainment sounds. Their entertainment, not ours! But I assume they could hear us, too.

kelley said...

for me I would ask about the smoking policy...if you don't smoke it's horrible to have neighbors who do...especially outside in nice weather...it comes right in your windows...

Arlene from NJ said...

Hi! My daughter and son in law used to own a condo in a very nice neighborhood. Unfortunately, their neighbors used to smoke pot ALOT! The smell of it used to come through the hallways and into my daughter's condo. She put up with it for awhile and then went to talk to the neighbor about it and tried to be nice but the neighbor slammed the door in her face. It's hard to be so close in proximity to other people living in the same complex. Please think about it before you go ahead and rent an apartment. As others said, you have been used to living in a one family house with privacy. It will be hard for you if you wind up with a neighbor who is hard to deal with.