Pros and Cons of Apartment Life

Walking Distance to Mission Bay
Moving twice isn't ideal, but we felt it was what needed to happen, to make sure the selling of our old house and the buying of our new one went smoothly. We anticipated renting for three months (and even signed a 3 month lease), so we were shocked when the builders told us that we'd be closing in October and not December. More stress! Our landlord wouldn't let us out of the lease, but the builders made a concession for us on our home price as compensation. We've been homeowners living in a 3 bedroom, plus loft,  2.5 bath, 1800 square foot house for eight years. I wasn't thrilled about losing the comforts of home that I'd grown accustomed to, but I tried to look at it as a new adventure for us. And it was! But we are really ready to get out of here. So, let's talk about the pro's and con's of apartment living as I've experienced them for the last six weeks.


PROS
We don't have to lug our trash to the curb on trash day and then retrieve it within an HOA dictated time frame. The building has a trash and recycling chute on every floor either down the hall or around the corner. Toss it in and it's gone.

All units have secured indoor corridor entry. Unless you are in a downtown high rise, most apartment buildings in California are not set up this way. The area is very safe, so it's really not a concern, but I kind of like the added security.

The building offers a secured garage parking with an assigned parking space for one car, and plentiful available parking outside the building. MJ let me have the garage spot, but whenever he catches the garage gate open he can usually snag a guest spot inside the garage during the day. As much as we thought it might be fun to experience the downtown lifestyle, most of the ones in our budget only came with one parking space, and dealing with street parking wasn't worth it to either of us.

The building has a 24 hour guard shack for guest parking passes and package delivery. In an apartment setting I like knowing my package deliveries are secure.

The location is unbeatable. As renters we have the opportunity to live in a super centrally located and desirable area that we could never afford to buy a house in. It's closer to work for both of us, and down the street from a fabulous high end shopping mall. We can walk to Mission Bay and have a picnic by the water if we want to. I've been walking to Seaworld on the weekends, and it's so beautiful over there. I love having that kind of view in my backyard.

The apartment grounds are lush, quiet and peaceful. The green space is shared, but it comes with zero maintenance. I'm not really a fan of watering plants or pulling weeds so this is good for me.

The bedroom has a sliding glass door that opens up to a small balcony. I haven't utilized the balcony space at all, but I love sleeping with it open at night. I get really hot at night, and the cool fresh air coming in feels great. A weed smoking neighbor lights up at about 10 o'clock every night, but the smell doesn't bother me.

Clutter and mess don't bother me and it is absolutely liberating! I already know this isn't my home. There is no real decor or organization to speak of and I can't do anything about it. I know this is temporary. Everything is just wherever it is, so when MJ randomly left his clothes on the bed and then went out of town, I slept with his clothes sitting on the bed for four days. Whatever. I just don't care, and it's great!!! I really hope my husband is enjoying this nag free time because as much as I would like it to last for both of us, I don't think it will.

We're not responsible for any housing maintenance. If anything breaks we call our landlord.

In this moment in time without a mortgage we are 100% debt free, and with that comes peace of mind you can't get when you have a financial responsibility to a debtor. If anything happened with our health or our jobs, we would be free to downsize or move as we see fit. We still have living expenses, but it's just nice to know that we don't owe anybody anything. I accept mortgage debt, because I understand that unless I have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around that it's inevitable if I want to own a home. It does bother me that between the housing prices and the type of house we want, it will be a long time before we pay off a house, but I accept it as the price we have to pay to get what we want here. I guess I better enjoy this debt free moment because it won't last either.


CONS
I like the security of the double door double key entry set up, but it was a pain in the butt when we were moving in, and a pain in the butt for grocery trips. We've got to get through two different doors, with two different keys, and use an elevator. Not so bad when your hands are empty, but annoying when you're juggling four bags of groceries. No. I can't make more than one trip.

The tiny kitchen is so annoying. There is one square of prep space and it's so small that it's usually not big enough to accommodate whatever it is I'm trying to do. I'll take things out to meal prep, and then have to shift some of it elsewhere because I've run out of room. Cabinet space isn't an issue, but that's only because we left 99% of our kitchen items in storage. There's not much room for anything.

I hate having to schlep laundry liquid, dryer sheets, and all of our clothes to the community laundry room. We pay with a re loadable laundry card, which is better than quarters, but you still have to make sure you've got the money on the card, and the card.  There is one on each floor, and I think some of the units have inside washer/dryer so at least we've never had to wait, or come back to find our clothes sitting on the dryer. The dryer settings are way higher than we normally use at home so I feel like I'm frying my clothes.

With only a one bedroom, guest space is very limited. My friend spent the night, and she slept on the single trundle in the living room, and crept past my sleeping body to use the restroom in the middle of the night. It was fine, but if my parents wanted to come stay...well, it would be pretty tight.

It's not really an issue for us because it's temporary, and most of our things are in storage, but there is essentially no storage space. MJ put his clothes in the living room closet, and my things fit in the bedroom closet, but neither one of us has our full wardrobe. There is bike storage in the parking garage, but very little room to store luggage, beach gear, or anything else. We piled up the empty boxes in the living room and there they stay, until we load up and move out.

I don't like the electric stove. I'm used to gas. I made ground turkey using a pan that basically simulates grilling, but on your stove top and it did not work well without the open flame. The apartment filled with smoke and my pan turned black. No more turkey until we move.

Living there is like living in a 1980's time warp. We're talking popcorn ceiling, trash compactor in the kitchen, gold fixtures, swirly patterned bathroom countertops, and brown on brown cabinetry. The tile countertops were probably the latest trend back in the day, and I haven't seen drop ceiling light fixtures in a long time. The place was built in 1980 and I see no signs of renovation anywhere.

The lighting in the bathroom is terrible! Which brings me to another con of apartment living. You really can't change anything to make the place more to your liking, since you don't own it. I'm pretty sure our landlord would be happy to allow us to pay for any renovation that might bring this place into the 21st century, but as renters...nope. I wouldn't ever invest money into something I don't own.

Not having a mortgage to write off for a short time, won't hurt us much, but we normally get killed in taxes, so I can only imagine how bad it would be if we were long term renters. And all this money we spend on rent...it's gone.


IN CONCLUSION
I don't miss double sinks in he bathroom as much as I thought I would. I definitely miss our king size bed, but at least the queen size bed that came with the apartment is comfortable. If we're home together there's a pretty good chance we're in each other's faces, but I kinda like it. I should have added it to the pro list! I'm most bothered by lack of space, and the laundry situation, but overall, it's really not that bad. I hear my upstairs neighbors stomping around sometimes, and when someone's talking on a nearby balcony it sounds like they are inside our apartment, but other than than that it's a pretty quiet community and I don't hear our neighbors much. Or even see them. Most of the time the halls are empty, and it's rare to see anyone when I come and go. 700 square feet 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment living is doable temporarily, but in the long term the cons would definitely outweigh the pros. I could feel differently about this down the road. We may want to downsize and move into a condo or an apartment some day, but for now, I'm ready to get back into a house. 

2 comments

Faith said...

Our first house in NY was really small so when we moved to PA into an apartment we thought it wasn't going to be that much of a big deal.

It was! Although our house was small our kitchen was a decent size and well, I really, really missed having space in the kitchen. I cook a lot so I could not wait to get out of our apartment once we found our current house just because of the kitchen situation. Everything else was actually fine and it was in that apartment I realized that we had to have two bathrooms, haha.

Faith said...

P.S. I'm looking forward to some home posts!