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Old 03-02-2014, 05:55 PM
 
131 posts, read 146,451 times
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I'm not sure if this belongs on the St. Louis forum or a more general one, but you have all been so helpful. I posted before about possibly moving away from St. Louis mainly because of the cold weather, which I can't stand (as in, I hate with a passion!). But even though this doggone cold is still here, I've been thinking I may stay in the city for a few reasons...I'm young but on medical disability, and it's affordable here, and I have some friends I can rely on and hang out with when able. Plus doctors I trust, etc. And moving across town is stressful enough...I've been in the same apartment for 5 years and have accumulated so much stuff!

But who knew the decision process would take so long? This does still seem (theoretically) like a great opportunity to make a big change, maybe move to Arizona or something. Anyway, that's way off topic, I think!

I've been looking at apartments around here, and nothing has really struck me (except one that was slightly out of my price range, but gorgeous...I would have loved it). I have the chance to visit a little house in Maplewood that's at the upper end of my budget, but is very different in that it's a house and not an apartment...it looks nice, but I wonder what the pros and cons are there.

I do like quiet and don't mind being on my own (though I don't want to fall into the trap of becoming a recluse!). But I guess if I was really sick, there wouldn't be that safety net, and of course I'd have to shovel my own driveway, etc myself (which I doubt I'm strong enough to do...so...hmmm...!). But it does look very cute, and it's within walking distance of everything I really need. So I wonder if it's something to consider.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
1,908 posts, read 4,142,667 times
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I would think living in a house might not be the best for someone on disability...but it would depend on what's included in the rent. Snow removal? Gardening/lawn upkeep? Do you have the budget to pay for these things if its not included?

Other than that, I much prefer houses because you don't have walls to share with strangers and in most cases there's some sort of yard/private outdoor space. That's the biggest difference.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:45 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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I've lived in both houses and apartments when I was renting, and here is what I personally see as the Pros and Cons of both, although depending on the lease agreement, some of the items for the house situation may be different.

APARTMENT PROS:
-All Yard Maintenance and Common Area Maintenance is included in your rent (you will have to shovel your car out of snow if there isn't a garage, but you won't have to Salt your path or doorstep, and in Summer you won't need to mow the lawn or trim the vegetation)

-There is usually onsite management, so if you have an issue it's just a matter of walking a few steps to an office to see someone face to face to get it sorted out

-There is usually a rent drop box so you can just drop off your rent rather than mailing it and hoping it gets there in time or transferring it from your bank account and hoping there isn't a glitch

-There are usually extra amenities, depending on the complex, such as Swimming Pools, Tennis Courts, Gyms, etc

-They will often do all of the little extras for you (change out the filters in your AC vents when necessary, check your Fire Detectors at regular intervals, spray for pests at regular intervals, etc)

-There's a feeling of security in an apartment complex due to the proximity of your neighbors and in some cases, security guards. When I was young(er) and single, this is one of the reasons I preferred apartment living, especially since I used to often be out so late at night for work or social reasons.


APARTMENT CONS:
-A lot of apartment buildings, especially newer ones, seem to be built with awful insulation. If you're a light sleeper, they may not be the best solution as you can usually hear everything going on around you.

-You're in super close proximity to your neighbors, so if they're noisy or difficult or just plain crazy, it could pose problems

-There's often more in and outs by Property Management. In my experience at least, and this can be viewed as a positive or a negative, it seemed like Property Management always needed access to my apartment for something (to check for bugs, to check the fire detectors, to check the model number on the dishwasher, to check for a possible leak from the upstairs apartment, etc etc). In houses, I never felt as if Property Management or the Landlord was in and out quite as much as I experienced in some apartments (this differs depending on the complex though of course).


HOUSE PROS:
-It's your own space and you're not sharing walls with neighbors. There's more privacy.

-There is often more space (although it depends on the house and the apartment, my houses were always generally bigger than the apartments I rented)

-You have a driveway or a garage, so there is no being annoyed when the parking lot is full, or when you have to park ages away from your entrance (if there is no assigned parking at the apartment building)

-There aren't as many ins and outs from the landlord (as explained above, per my experience with some apartments)

-You have your own yard space most of the time for cook outs, chilling outdoors when the weather is nice, etc.


HOUSE CONS:
-You often have more bills as often, in an apartment rent your water / sewer / trash is all lumped onto your rent payment whereas when renting a house, you have to sign up and pay for these separately at most places

-You have to do your own yardwork, salt your own doorstep and driveway, etc. Some houses include landscaping as part of the rent contract, but most don't.

-If it's a private landlord versus property management, sometimes it's difficult to get a hold of them if something goes wrong (if they don't have an office and you're relying on reaching them by phone)

-Paying your rent is not usually as convenient due to no onsite management

-You may not get the number of amenities offered in an apartment building

-Not all landlords are created equal, I've dealt with some real 'slum lords' over the years. For the most part, I've always found professional, property management companies and management companies that run reputable apartment complexes to be better.

Overall, the choice is yours... and I think what is best for you depends what stage you are at in life. Apartments were great for me when I was 18-22 ish, but after that I found that houses suited my needs better. Mind you, when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan I was REALLY resenting the yard upkeep (and ended up paying a neighborhood kid to do it for me!) since I was working such long hours at the time.

I remember having a discussion with friends years ago, that you knew you had really grown up when you moved into an actual house of your own (whether renting or purchasing) as opposed to an apartment or townhome. I tend to think that in some cases at least, that seems to be the common mentality.

A house, whether renting or buying, seems to come along with a higher level of obligation. With apartment living, I pretty much just moved in, dropped my all-utilities-included-rent off in the little box each month and came and went as I pleased. I never had to worry about the little things like sweeping my front porch, taking out the trash to the curb every week, making sure I had rock salt on hand if the weather forecast predicted ice and snow. I didn't need to own a lawn mower or a snow shovel. So when I was young, it was fantastic, and noises from neighbors were something I learned to live with and accept.

As of right now though, there is no way I could go back to apartment living. I have a house with a basement so to begin with I doubt all of my stuff would fit back into an apartment, plus I have a husband, baby, a cat, and another baby on the way. As my kids grow up, they're going to need the yard space and environment that only a house can provide.

Good Luck in whatever you choose to do, and I hope that helps! ♥
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:11 PM
 
131 posts, read 146,451 times
Reputation: 54
Thanks to you both. I haven't yet checked into what's included in the rent in terms of upkeep, and that would affect things, so that's something to ask about, thanks. I also think the privacy of a house would be great...no neighbors playing loud music while you really need to think, etc!

Glamatonic, thanks for such a detailed post! That was really helpful. What stood out for me was what you wrote at the end...I just recently had the thought that I want to actually "grow up" and be on my own...and that having a house would really make me feel that way! So it's funny that you mentioned that. I'm now in my early 30s, so I guess I'm a little behind the curve!

My current apartment is owned by a private landlord, though it is in a common building (a bit odd)...so I have to send checks to them and call them if something is wrong already (fortunately they've been very responsive). That's true about the extra amenities...just comparing to my current situation...we have a gym and a pool but both are small and poorly maintained, so I rarely use either! When I was healthier and working, I actually had a membership to a local gym.

The security issue is a good point, and one I hadn't thought much about (I also go out sometimes in the evening or at night). I wonder if Maplewood in general is safer than the rest of the city? But that doesn't guarantee anything, I know.

Thanks again for all the ideas and advice...a lot of them I wouldn't have thought of...though I'm still not sure of my direction! A house does sound nice, and I feel mostly like I could handle the responsibility, but haven't quite thought it through yet.
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