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Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 12:36 PM   #1
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Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

Since moving out of Mom's place I've been an apartment dweller. I have no plans to buy soon. I haven't had noisy neighbor problems or chronic maintenance problems and aside from being annoyed daily at the gate of a gated complex I have enjoyed my apartments so far. I love *not* doing yardwork, but I am mindful of the noise I make and keep the radio & TV down and don't stomp around the floor too much.

I'd like to stomp more and turn up the volumes, and I may move soon, so I'm thinking about other rentals now: condos, townhomes, duplex/triplex/quadplex and even single family homes.

1 bedroom is enough for me; I would fill a 2nd bedroom with computers and other toys but don't need the space. 750+ sq ft is the size I'm accustomed to. One bathroom is ideal because it's easier to clean than two bathrooms.

Has anyone else gone from appreciative apartment dweller to renting a more detached unit like a duplex, townhome or house? I'm wondering about the maintenance issues from an individual owner and more bills like garbage, water, gas and other things that are generally included in an apartment's rent. Is being able to stomp around, dance to stupid music, turn up the volume and have your own driveway worth the extra costs and hassles? Also do you feel more secure in one type of place over the other?
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

Yes, its worth it, but the costs are significantly higher.

You might get a break on the rent if you agree to do certain maintenance tasks. Last house I rented when I first moved to the bay area I got the guy to drop the rent about 20% if I agreed to do a little roof repair, install some new fixtures, and a garage door opener. He bought the parts, I did the labor. He was grouchy when I moved six months later when I bought a home, figuring he'd be able to get back to charging me full price rent after I ran out of stuff to fix and upgrade.

Two bathrooms are really, really nice to have when you're doing repair work on one. My first house had some grout problems in the shower. Went in and stuck the grout knife in to start removing it and it went right through. Wall fell apart. Framing wet and partially dry rotted and full of carpenter ants. The window over the tub had been leaking inside the wall for years. Two weeks of major repairs during which time I either took a shower with a makeshift plastic dropcloth/wraparound shower curtain affair or sat in a tub with a lot of really, really nice rotten wood framing to look at. Granted you wouldnt be DOING the work in a rental, but you'd have to live through the repair work. A second bathroom would have been pretty pleasant...

Actually the two coolest apartments I ever rented...one was a townhouse in Natick MA that was mixed in with other regular apartments, but the townhouses were two stories on the end of the building. So you only had the 'side neighbor'. Two beds upstairs and a bath, LR/DR/kit and a second bath downstairs. The other was in Berkeley CA...a one bedroom with a 'loft' I used as an office, on the upper floor. Again, just one side neighbor. In both cases I used the 2nd br/loft as an 'office' with a big futon couch I could pull out and convert into a spare bed when I had visitors.

Security-wise it depends on your apartment. I lived in a couple of pretty spooky buildings when I was young and we had a lot of unsavory types coming and going at all hours, and a lot of 'domestic disputes'. That wasnt too secure feeling. I guess a house in a bad neighborhood wouldnt feel a lot better, but at least you dont get louie and louise screaming at each other right outside your door in the hallway, punctuated by what definitely sounded like a gunshot...
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 01:08 PM   #3
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

I moved from a small apartment sourounded by college students to a 3br duplex in a family neighborhood. I like it a lot better, and i'm not worried about noise anymore

Costs-

WSG (paid for at apt): $50/mo
Gas: $50/mo avg ($20 summer, $120 winter)
Electricity: $20/mo (I have replaced the bulbs with fluorescent)
Insurance: Same as apt
Increase in rent: $450/mo

Ability to play counterstrike at any volume I wish- priceless
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

Hah...last year when I was playing doom3 on the projector with the dolby digital sound cranked up one of my neighbors mentioned the next day that he thought he heard someone getting killed at my house...
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 01:50 PM   #5
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

Gf and I rent a townhouse apartment. Price per sq foot is the same as regular apartments we looked at of same quality, and sq ft doesn't include the big garage with storage space, or the stairways.

Some "townhouses" we looked at had you living above or below someone else's apartment. But not here. It is garage on bottom, then living rm/kitchen, then bedroom&bathroom on top.

Corner unit, so 1/2 the walls go outside, the other 1/2 to a neighbor.

Depending on when the building was made and probably which state, there will be firewalls between units. So, noise doesn't travel well between units. We hear noise much more from outside, thru the windows, than from neighbors thru walls.

Every apartment I've lived in, the noise problems were from above or below, not side to side. It's much more expensive to noise insulate floors than walls. Exception can be in high-rises which can require more substantial flooring, but I haven't lived in one yet.

We're very happy with our place.
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 01:58 PM   #6
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

There was only one good thing about living in a ground floor apartment with neighbors on two sides and a hallway on the third side. I didnt have to turn the heat on in the winter time, it stayed about 68 degrees. My neighbors were probably paying a crazy heat bill and didnt know why.
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals
Old 06-04-2005, 08:18 PM   #7
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Re: Apt. Dweller Wondering About Other Rentals

You really don't want somebody above you...

We live in a 2 bedroom townhouse on the outskirts of Manhattan with it's own entrance. I moved from a 1 bedroom apt. in Manhattan and this is definitely better. In my opinion.

And you can still get decent Chinese delivered to your door.
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