Sep 14, 2012

Apartment Living - Part II

It was discussed in Apartment Living Part I about the things to consider when trying to select an apartment. This part is just some sharing of my experiences in some of the apartments I've lived in and some suggestions of things to keep in mind.

The first apartment was the second floor of a house. It had 1 bedroom, living room, 1 bathroom, and a large eat-in kitchen. Parked on the street, came in the front door, up a set of stairs, and then accessed the apartment. Owner lived on the first floor, and someone lived in a studio apartment above me (the 3rd floor). Mailbox was on the front porch, bags of garbage out to the curb every week, and down the back stairs to the basement to do laundry. We all shared 1 washer and 1 dryer, included in the rent, so the only tricky part was "scheduling" when you could do laundry. Also included in the rent were cable TV, heat, electricity, and water. The only bill in the mail was the telephone (land line, didn't have cell phones or internet then). Weren't allowed to use the yard or have pets. I was working and attending school, so was rarely there except to eat and sleep. The house was well insulated, so I didn't hear the other people that lived there too. Parking outside in the winter meant scraping snow and ice off of the windshield, and dig the car out after the plows went by.

Cliffside Manor Apartments
The next apartment was at Cliffside Manor Apartments. First floor, 2 bedrooms, living room, dining area, kitchen, 1 bathroom, balcony, and storage cage in the basement. Parked in the lot in front of the building (not shown in pic), and in the first available spot because they were not assigned. No, couldn't "reserve" one by putting a folding lawn chair in it. There was someone above, below, and on both sides. Building was not well insulated, so you heard EVERYTHING, especially loud music (guy upstairs played the blues on his guitar at 2 AM when he got back from work, liked to stomp around, and everyone slammed their doors). The mailbox was a bank at the entry to the building, garbage bags went in the dumpster at the end of the building, and 4 coin-operated washers and dryers in the basement. Since it was a true apartment complex, all utilities were billed directly to the tenants. Still didn't have internet access. But, I was traveling a lot for work and wasn't around much. Still had to scrape snow and ice, dig out the car, and make sure I got back from work early enough to get a space near the door.

Redwood Management
Now fast forward. After Cliffside Manor Apartments, I lived in a couple of houses. But life changes, and I had to move back into an apartment. Using the points in Apartment Living Part I, I chose a Redwood Management community. Based on the identified criteria, I chose a single story, pets allowed (Dozer has 6 steel pins in his hips), end unit (to remove 1 neighbor), with an attached garage and laundry hook-ups in the apartment (no more laundromat). Was fortunate to get one across the street from both the mailbox and trash compactor. All of the utilities are metered directly for usage, but since the internet is available, they are paid online. Sure, the rent is a little more than in a multi-level building, but I chose to live here because of the list of what I desired in an apartment community. I have a patio where a grill or fire bowl is allowed, plenty of space to walk 2 dogs (as long as I pick up after them), do laundry whenever I want, am close to all the shopping, no neighbors making strange noises at all hours of the night, park in an attached garage, and even have an attic.

Overall, what you can see, is that the criteria for finding an acceptable place to live changes over time. But it will make your life easier if you take a few moments to figure out what you are looking for...happy hunting...

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