Is Apartment Living Right for You?

Author: Alecia Pirulis

apartment building

After the economic slump and the hit to the housing market, many people have reevaluated the American Dream – sure, owning a home is still a great goal, but it doesn’t have to be at any cost. Apartment living is no longer viewed as a temporary placeholder until the right house comes on the market. As more people move into the renting sector, many are discovering that the benefits of apartment living may just make them stay put – and reconsider their long-term goals.

So, is apartment life the life for you? To know for sure, consider the following:

Apartments are common in the heart of the city. Living in the city has benefits and drawbacks – benefits include a minimal commute (you may even be able to walk to work), the restaurants, nightlife, and culture common in cities, lower fuel costs (again because of the short commute), and being part of a close-knit community. Buildings are close together in cities and you can walk more, so you’ll get to know your neighbors.

The drawbacks include the noise of the city (often non-stop), the congestion, and (sometimes) the higher crime. Apartments in the city tend to be pricey, so you may pay more for less square footage.

One of the biggest benefits to apartment living are the amenities. Most apartment communities feature community facilities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, picnic areas, and fitness center. These are often offered without extra fees – and you don’t have to worry about maintenance.

It’s much easier to find a pet-friendly apartment community than it used to be. If you have a pet, you may even find an apartment community that not only welcomes pets, but caters to them. Some pet amenities you may find include pet parks, pet boutiques, and grooming centers.

There’s less upkeep in an apartment. You don’t have to worry about routine maintenance – many apartment communities feature 24-hour maintenance for emergencies. Homeowners face major headaches when the air conditioner or an appliance breaks – not to mention major fees. Apartment renters only have to call maintenance. And because apartments are small, cleaning is a breeze. Instead of spending hours cleaning a house with several rooms (or even several floors), apartment dwellers have more time to do other things.

You have more freedom when you rent an apartment. You’ll sign a lease, but when the term is up you can move – no worrying about putting a house on the market and hoping for a buyer. If you like to move around frequently or you aren’t sure that you’ll stay long-term in your current location, an apartment may be a smarter choice.

The drawbacks to apartment living? The space isn’t yours. You most likely won’t be able to do certain things to your space, such as paint or remodel. You’ll also have to agree to certain rules concerning your patio or balcony (what you can and can’t have outside), pets, noise, etc. Also, your rent may increase without much warning. Rent prices aren’t fixed and they can be periodically increased. Also, renting doesn’t help your credit score – if you plan to buy a home at some point in the future, be aware that rent payments are typically not reflected in your FICO credit score.

Apartment buildings are communities – you may have neighbors above, below, and next to you. Sharing walls with other people can be great if you like those around you, but bad neighbors can (often literally) give you a headache. Many apartment communities host get-togethers for residents, which can be a great way to meet your neighbors. If you enjoy social gatherings, apartment life may be ideal for you.