One of the most exciting things I've ever done was sign a lease for my very first apartment. It kind of felt like cheating, because I had subleased an apartment over one summer while I was still in college, but it was only for three months and it wasn't really "my" apartment, and I had a roommate. Which, don't get me wrong. Roommates are great. But after four years of living in a dorm room with one, I was ready to have my own space to breathe. And to decorate. And to sprawl out. And, ostensibly, to make a huge freaking mess in. (My cleaning habits are a tad bipolar. I'm either on a spotless-apartment-or-bust streak or a "this place looks disturbingly like what I imagine the apartment of a bunch of dudes looks like." When it's the latter, I'm super embarrassed and refuse to let people come over.) But this apartment was mine, all mine. I'd picked it out by myself and signed the lease by myself and moved in, well, with the help of my family after a frenzied day full of graduation activities, but when the dust settled after that, it was just me and my newfound adulthood. And a lot of white walls that needed things hung upon them.
I've lived in three different apartments since I've graduated from
college. The first move was spurred by landing my first grown-up job,
ironically in the same college town I'd just left. The second was just
across town, to a smaller yet more charming duplex-style upstairs
apartment that was cheaper and closer to work. What I saved in rent
money and gained in convenience was worth the loss of square footage. I
still miss that gloriously large kitchen, though. Sad sigh.
I'm reaching an age where (in theory) I should be possibly (in theory)
looking at buying a house. Or, given my unmarried status, a condo or
townhouse or something. That's what grownups do, right?
Not this girl. I love renting. It makes the most sense for me, financially and situationally. Allow me to elaborate:
Kelly's Top 5 Reasons For Living in an Apartment
1. Maintenance = not my problem.
This one is huge for me. If something breaks, I call my landlord. If
something stops working, I call my landlord. If the grass needs mowed, I
call my landlord. (LOL JK, I don't - he shows up eventually and gives
it a haircut, all of his own doing.) I don't have to worry about things
like water heaters and plumbing and any of the other money-eating
appliances that coincide with having to pay for everything yourself.
I don't consider myself a feeble damsel-in-distress type, but if we're
being honest (and why shouldn't we be?) - I know little to nothing about
home repair and maintenance. I would be screwed if I had to fix my own
kitchen sink or rewire anything. Generally, the only thing I've ever
been responsible for is changing the lightbulbs in my unit when they
burn out. And that, I can handle. (I've also switched to CFLs, which
means this happens on a next-to-never basis.)
2. Amenities and Utilities = PAID.
I live in a college town, which means a lot of apartment complexes and
property management companies will do battle for your attention... which
means they'll offer a LOT of freebies. In my last apartment, I got free
Internet, free cable, and a free membership to the local gym that I
used all of one time for a kickboxing class with one of my coworkers
that was apparently an intermediate level and that almost killed me. I
didn't go back. (Another post for another day. Gyms terrify me.) In my
current apartment, which is privately owned, I get free Internet. Which
is worth all other freebies combined because apparently Internet is not
cheap (I had to pay for it in my first apartment, which was NOT in a
college town, and it was a tad bit depressing). And also because I use
the Internet a lot. Like, right now.
You know what else is great? I only have to pay for electricity. I've
been pretty lucky - in all the places I've lived, I've only had to pay
the electric bill. Water, garbage, heating, whatever else, always
included. These are things that I have no idea how much they cost,
because I've never had to pay for them. And I can control my electric
bills pretty well.
I also don't have to pay property tax or whatever various fees probably
go into home ownership. Because I own nothing. Which leads to...
If I want to leave... I can leave. I mean, sure, I have a lease, but
it's on a year-by-year basis, and if something huge came up where I had
to skedaddle, I could probably work something out. With a house, I'd
have to endure the nightmare of trying to sell it. And I know it's a
nightmare because I know enough people trying to sell houses right now
and apparently the market sucks hard right now.
4. No (extra) debt.
If you hadn't noticed, a lot of the things I love about renting an
apartment are largely financial. My dad hates the idea of renting,
because you're spending money and spending money and don't have anything
to "show" for it. I get that. I also get that I'm recently out of
college and have towering piles of student loan payments and credit card
payments and all these other grown-up bills to pay that I didn't have
five, six, seven years ago. College has put me severely in debt, and the
last thing I need is another one. No mortgage for this gal. I will pay a
lump sum every month to put a roof over my head, and quite frankly, the
benefit of having someone else be responsible for the problems and
maintenance (see point 1) is worth its weight in gold. (Whatever that
means. I feel like there's a pawn shop joke to be made here.)
5. No extra hassles or people to have said hassles with.
I don't have to hassle with a realtor. I don't have to hassle with
sellers. I don't have to hassle with home inspections and mortgages and
banks and loans and other bidders and having my hopes and dreams crushed
when someone outbids me on my dream home. I only have to work with one
entity, I sign my lease and I mail (or hand deliver) a check every
month. That's it. There aren't a lot of extra parties involved. No fuss,
no muss. Or something. I don't know. Basically: it's easier, and I like
easy. I have enough other stuff to worry about. (Like... getting everything packed for my trip to Las Vegas. It's too much math to figure out the hours until my departure, but.... eeeee!)
Bonus reason: Independence.
Okay, I'm adding this one on unofficially because it's kind of cheesy
and lame, but... having my own apartment makes me feel like a successful
adult. I've got my own place! I decorated it myself! I have a job and a
cat and dishes and furniture! Sure, it's not a chic little studio in
some big fancy city, but it makes me feel like an independent career
woman. Or something. Even when I struggled to find a job after college, I
never had to move back in with my parents. I made it work. And being
able to afford my own apartment even in the midst of economic shambles
was kind of a point of pride for me. I managed to stay on my own two feet. Having my own apartment was the key symbol of that. I was officially part of the Real World.
In summary: I adore living in an apartment. Sure, sometimes you have
neighbors and they're loud, or you have to fight over the laundry
facilities (my dream apartment is one that has its own in-unit washer
and dryer - because I am officially old and my dreams have shrunk), or
parking sucks... but in my opinion, these are vastly outweighed by the
fact that someone else is responsible for the upkeep and I don't have to
do it - and, more importantly, I don't have to pay extra for it.
I could also go into the perks of living *by yourself* in an apartment
(never having to close your bathroom door, anyone?) but I think that's
another list for another time.
Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post. I totes just wrote a sponsored post. I HAVE ARRIVED! Who's a big fancy blogger? Me! No? Okay. I tried. Anywho, this post is part of an ongoing series sponsored by UMoveFree, a Texas-based apartment relocating service. Everything I said above was my out of my own brain, though.
Moving soon? UMoveFree complaints are few and far between.