We Found an Apartment

We went looking at condos and apartments two days ago.  We thought a condo might be a bit nicer, so we started out looking at condos for rent.  We searched MLS listings and craigslist and found a few in our preferred area.  We made the calls and scheduled to see some of them.

We were excited to find a few in a really nice condo community.  The condos all had one car garages, were in the school district we wanted, had a nice swimming pool, and looked pretty upscale.  The price was right too, coming in around $1000 per month.   Yesterday we scheduled to see two of the available condos.

The first one we saw was totally trashed.  The realtor said the new owners had just purchased it as a short sale.  Apparently they weren’t planning to do any fixing up though, and the place was in really bad shape.  There were a bunch of bleach stains on the carpet.  I asked if they planned to replace the carpet, and the realtor told me “probably not, they are just bleach stains.”  Besides the poor condition of the condo, the over all design of the place wasn’t laid out very well.  It was supposed to be 1200 square feet, but it felt much smaller.

The second condo we looked at in the same community was a little better.  The carpets were in decent shape, but the appliances had some rust on them and the counter had a crack in it.  This one was laid out a little better and felt bigger than the first we looked at, but still felt a little cramped.

We tend to prefer lots of open space, rather than having everything walled off.  Hallways also seem like a waste of space to us, we’d rather have that open space attached to a main room.

Next we looked at another condo in a nearby community.  This one was in a different school zone, which was still good, but not our first choice.  This condo was the nicest we’d seen so far, with laminate floors, and large bedrooms.  The living room area was a little small, but looked nice overall.  It still wasn’t quite what we were looking for.

I’m really surprised at what passes for rental condos in this area.  The ones we visited were not in the kind of shape I would expect.  I suspect people are picking up these shortsale and forclosed condos really cheap, and then plan to turn around and rent them without fixing them up.  And I guess people are renting them just because they are in a good area with good schools.

After viewing the condos, we drove over to some apartments that we had looked at before.  We liked these when we first saw them about six months ago.  The have just over 400 units in the community and they only had two available.  One of the ones they happened to have available had just been renovated and upgraded.  The leasing agent told us it was the first one in the apartment community to be upgraded.

This apartment was beautiful.  The carpet and tile was all new, it had brand new stainless steel appliances, and completely renovated bathrooms with new tubs and sinks.  The living room is really big for an apartment, measuring 13’x19′. The bedrooms were average size, and this one had a sun room instead of a porch, giving us a little more indoor space.

I was starting to see why one would choose an apartment over a condo.  Even without the new upgrades, these apartments were in better shape overall.  Rent on this apartment is $1250 per month, which is about what we had planned in our budget.  (We figured around $1200.)

So, we put down a deposit and we are scheduled to move in on January 13th.

Life seems to really be flowing right now.  I feel like since we are heading in the right direction, doing what we feel to be right, everything tends to fall into place.   The house sold while I have a week off from work.  This was perfect since it allowed us time to find an apartment and start boxing things up for the move.

I’ll post about our experience with preparing for the move soon.   I also have a story to share about Christmas with the toxic grandparents.  Thanks for all the words of congratulations in comments section of the last post, it feels good to have everyone’s support as we downsize our life.

 

Comments

  1. Karen (Scotland) says

    Interesting post for me to read as my husband and I actually let out small bedsits (studio apartments). When we first started, we had the flats immaculate before showing them to prospective tenants – we had them how WE would expect our home to look – freshly painted, carpet replaced or shampooed, kitchen ship-shape.
    However, after a couple of tenant turnovers, our hearts died a little at the state of how they would leave them after only a year. Usually reeking of smoke (despite the no smoking clause in the tenancy contract), needing repainted or recarpeted or both. Because they are so tiny, the rent on them is low so repairs like that can take up a huge chunk of our “profit”. And the hassle of taking the money out of their deposit wasn’t usually worth the legal effort. (That, however, wasn’t the biggest problem for us – it was more just the lack of respect for our lovely wee studios that upset us!)
    Now, we give tenants a choice. We point out and record EVERY bit of damage pre-tenancy and say to tenants “If you can live with that dark mark on the carpet, we won’t charge you for a new carpet when you leave, even if you spill red wine/ your cat scratches the corner/ you sacrifice a goat on it…” Most tenants choose to live with the marks/blemishes etc as they say they can just relax as if it’s their own home. We accept damage WILL happen and they accept damage already HAS happened…
    As landlords, we focus on safety, legality, warmth and cleanliness. The tenants have to decide if it is “decorated” to a level they can live with.
    I can understand, however, that a family (such as yourselves) will want somewhere “nice”.
    But maybe this is one of the trade-offs on simplifying your life (in the property sense of things). You have less control of your surroundings than you did of your own home BUT you have less responsibility?
    Sorry this was so lengthy but this is something I think about a lot. The difference between owners and renters is often assumed to be financial ability in this country but I think it often goes deeper.
    Anyway, congrats that it’s all going so quickly and…
    … a Happy New Year. Must be new year at your side of the world by now. :-)
    Karen (Scotland)

    • says

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for the insight. I’ve seen the condition some renters leave their homes in, which is the main reason we never considered renting our house instead of selling it. I suppose we’re on the other end of the spectrum, we’ve owned our house for 10 years and the carpets look nearly new. Luckily we found a newly refurbished apartment, it’s perfect for our needs.

  2. says

    Before my kids bought homes, they lived in apts. I was astounded at the terrible state of the kitchens in them all. Karen’s point is well taken though because people tend not to value what is not their own and don’t much care if they ruin a carpet or counter.

    I’m glad you found a great place. If you are interested in getting some excellent ideas on how to pack and move, check out flylady.net and find her section on moving. I’ve moved several times in the past 9 years and found that following flylady’s suggestions made packing, moving and unpacking so much easier.
    Willow´s last blog post ..The Last One for the Year

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