I moved into my first apartment when I was a sophomore in college. Right before my senior year, I moved into my second one. After graduation, I moved in with my boyfriend and we lived in two more apartments over the years with one dream in mind –- to eventually move into a house.
During my time in apartments, I feel like I truly saw every possible renter scenario. I lived in a small complex where the apartments looked more like cozy cottages, and the manager became one of my best friends. Alternatively, I also lived in large, corporate complexes, where behind a shiny layer of polished perfectionism you could find bliss or your dream home could become your nightmare.
I’ve lived through fire alarms going off in the middle of the night from residents who accidentally burned their midnight snack. I have also bonded with neighbors over shared interests. I’ve enjoyed amenities like food truck nights and community parties, and I’ve lamented over one apartment where the bathtub floor cracked while I was in the shower and worms came out of the bathroom sink.
In January of 2021, my boyfriend and I found the perfect house to rent and I was more than ready to say goodbye to the apartment life for good.
There are certainly a lot of benefits to living in a house. Just to name a few, we had a private backyard for our dogs to play and sit outside. No one lives above us or right next to us, which also means more privacy and quieter living conditions. There is no stomping above us at all hours of the night or during work calls.
At the time we moved, housing prices had dropped tremendously due to COVID. We were able to get a two-bedroom house with a yard for less money than we had been paying for our one-bedroom apartment, so the move was a no-brainer for us.
It’s been two years, and now we are once again looking to move due to a new job and a ridiculous work commute. But despite the pros of living in a house, I’m not so sure I want to move into another house again. Allow me to explain…
While I love our house, our budget could really only afford an old house. It’s pretty cute and the landlord is generally quick to respond to maintenance requests, but it feels like there is always something broken in need of fixing or replacement.
The older houses we seem to be able to afford often lack appliances like dishwashers or laundry machines. Modern apartments that have it all, along with on-site maintenance teams, have begun to sound more and more appealing.
Another issue I didn’t expect when we moved into our house was that we’d have conflicts with our neighbors.
My boyfriend and I are pretty quiet people, and we’ve never once had any sort of complaint filed against us at any of our previous apartments. We were friendly, and others would be, too.
But for whatever reason, a man who lives in the apartments behind our house and can see into our backyard has made it his personal mission to harass and film me every time I go outside. Despite several police reports and going to our landlord for help, this has gone on for more than a year and makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Our landlord was unable to help much because he doesn’t own the apartment complex behind our house, and therefore has no authority over this man. But apartment complexes generally have rules in the lease terms to keep the community pleasant. And management could have intervened to protect me if we both fell under their jurisdiction. After all the harassment I’ve endured, I love the idea of being able to go to management for help. Also, many complexes now offer courtesy patrol with officers on-site after hours to assist in emergencies.
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to anywhere you live, whether that is a house or an apartment.
The key is deciding what amenities you absolutely need and considering how that fits in with your ideal budget and location. For example, I am a proud dog mom, so I’ve been prioritizing complexes that have on-site dog parks. I also know I hated sharing a community laundry room at previous apartment complexes, so now I look for locations that offer laundry machines in their units.
From my search, I’m finding there is a vast assortment of apartments and homes that each offer something special to the right individual. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you choose a home that is right for you.