May 28 2009

Should we rent this apartment? Or stay put?

We have until tomorrow to tell our current landlord our intentions to stay for another year, go month-to-month (extra $50 per month), or move out by June 30. We’re running out of time and still don’t know what to do!

We looked at an apartment yesterday and we think we either want to move there or stay put. Other apartments in the area we’re seeking are out of our price range, don’t fit our qualifications or aren’t available. We have at least another year to a year and a half before we think we could consider buying a house.

I’m going to hash out some pros and cons and maybe you can toss in some things for us to consider. I’ve bolded the points that carry the most weight.

PRO move:

  • Rent is $45 cheaper per month
  • Unit comes with a washer/dryer (right now, we have coin-op machines in the basement)
  • Is about 100 square feet bigger, with slightly larger bedrooms, a bigger livingroom, and a separate dining room which we do not currently have
  • Electric bill might be lower if we don’t have to run the AC as much, since it’s a lower-level apartment
  • It would be a good opportunity to go through our possessions and get rid of things we don’t need
  • We would be living in the area we think we might want to buy, and we could try it out without making a huge commitment
  • We wouldn’t have to climb so many stairs each day
  • We would have lots of new things in the area to explore

CON move:

  • Shane’s commute to work would be longer by as much as 20 minutes each way
  • It’s a basement-level apartment, so we’d walk down about 5 steps.
  • It’s fairly dim inside even during the day
  • We are taking a risk with having upstairs neighbors (noise), and a different property management company
  • Slightly less storage space. No coat closet, smaller linen closet, no storage space under our furnace and hot water tank like we have now
  • It’s not as walkable as where we are now
  • Traffic stinks in this area 
  • Moving is a big hassle. Costly, lots of organizing and unpacking, things to buy for a new place, many companies to contact with our  new address…

We’re going back and forth on whether to stay or go. As I pointed out to Shane earlier, the place we lived in before this was pretty awful by our current standards. It was TINY, no dishwasher, no on-site laundry facilities, only a window AC, a noisy train was right behind it, it smelled weird, the stairs were steep. It was fine when we were there,  but when I look back on it, I think wow…that place was pretty lousy. But, we can put up with a lot for a year and I wonder if the benefits to moving would outweigh the drawbacks.

18 Responses to “Should we rent this apartment? Or stay put?”

  1. I vote for the new place: your own washer/dryer, cheaper rent, less stairs, slightly larger living spaces. And moving is inevitable.

    But the commute would stink for Shane. I empathize with that. And enjoying the area would be important for me, too (walkable would be a somewhat important priority for me). Although you said you might want to buy in that area, so perhaps you already like it in that part of town? If you bought in that area, would the commute be similar (so it’s just a matter of time before it would increase)?

  2. Good luck with your decision! In my opinion, the pros slightly outweigh the cons. Doesn’t Shane ride a bus to work? At least gas wouldn’t be an issue; he’d just have to get up a little earlier.

    But yeah, I’d say having your own washer and dryer, more space and less rent would be awesome!

  3. I lived in a basement apartment once. It was dim, but it was also 20 degrees cooler than Tony’s apartment in the same building. Most summer days, I didn’t even need to use the AC, which saved a lot of money.

    A longer commute for Shane would stink, but if you’re saving $45 AND you get a washer and dryer, I would do it. That washer and dryer will make your life SO much easier.

  4. One potential issue with basement apartments: there can sometimes be moisture and/or bug problems. Yes, they’re the landlord’s responsiblity to fix, but that doesn’t always happen!

  5. Washer/dryer trumps all else for me. I don’t know how much Johnny is eating these days, but once you get fully into the solid food days, you practically mess up one outfit at least 2x a day. (At least we do, with bib)

  6. Yeah, if we bought in that area, his commute would be longer. Or, if we bought in the area a little closer to town it might be about the same as what he has now. Shane says that he honestly doesn’t mind the commute since he would have time on the bus to read/listen to podcasts/relax/etc. but I think it would be valuable for him to test it out to make sure he really doesn’t mind a longer commute

  7. We haven’t introduced solids yet, but Johnny still manages to spit-up soak an outfit, or have a diaper leak or something much of the time. If its only going to get worse with solids…then yeah I’d better get my own W/D!! :)

  8. I vote for the new place. I think it’s important to have a W/D. Also, you do have to consider how much you like it because you’ll be at home most of the time with the baby. :) I’d help move if I was there!

  9. I think the new place sounds great! Especially if you are looking to permanently move there, it would be good for your husband to try the commute to see if it is too much. Better start taking a look through all your clutter. :-)

  10. I’m new reading your blog, how fun that one of the first posts is one I want to comment on. :)

    If this is an area you are considering moving then con #1 could be a positive thing…it would help Shane see if he’s willing to make the extra 20 minute commute more permanently.

    Having the washer/dryer would have about 20 pro points in my books. :)

    I’ve been going through the same thing lately, I could save some money by moving and get a larger place but the idea of packing up my stuff and actually moving keeps me from doing it. It’s a hassle.

  11. I say, stay put. Really. But things like having good lighting and being able to walk places are of paramount importance to me.

  12. Have you lived in a basement apartment before?

    If so, and it hasn’t bothered you, then I would say go for the new place. It sounds like a good deal.

    If not, I’d give it some thought. I hate living in basements. They always feel closed in, dark, damp, and chilly. No matter how nicely the place is fixed up and finished, it always feels like that to me. Does your current apartment have large windows or a balcony? How much would you miss that? Are you the type of person who needs sunlight to feel good? Do long stretches of cloudy and rainy leave you depressed? Also think about how large the windows are, what direction they face, and if there are overhanging balconies. This will affect how much light you get.

    I was living in one apartment where they plowed the snow from the parking lot right in front of the basement windows on one side of the building. I wasn’t living in the basement at the time, but those that were sure weren’t happy about it. (Don’t know if this would be a problem in your area).

    Good luck with your decision.

  13. I vote for neither. It is the end of the month. There will be apts coming available in the next 10 days. So plan for a move but continue looking at other places.

  14. the wd is awfully tempting. but for me, i’d stay put..since you’re looking at moving in a few years AGAIN….

    i wouldnt want to sacrifice 40 mins of time with my dh…and when we had new baby, dh would have hated to lose almost an hour with our babes..but we’re like that…we crave for more time together always…

    but i think i’d stay put…till i bought…you know who you are renting from now..and can live happily in your current situations..i’ve been in a place where baby was woken up by loud music, noise, etc….and baby wasnt only one crying at taht point..
    good luck

  15. I would probably move… if it’s less money, probably less in utilities too – that would be a big driver for me.

  16. Think how much money you could save with the washer and dryer. Plus you could use cloth diapers and save even MORE money.

  17. My 2 cents say stay put. Test out the area you want to buy in by “commuting” there once a week instead of Shane commuting an extra 40 minutes everyday. Pittsburgh can be dim enough without living in an already dim apartment. Really, moving an extra time with little Johnny in tow trumps all for me. After we moved twice during my pregnancy I told dh never again…bury me in the backyard!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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