Friday, November 16, 2007

Moving Dilemma

Mom has decided that I need to move out of the house by June. Recently a couple of apartments came up for rent in the small blocks at the end of the street. Since they don't come up for rent often, and living close to home would have benefits (especially since I don't own a car, which would make visiting difficult), I went to check them out.

One block has two apartments available, a one bedroom and a two bedroom. The one bedroom is currently occupied, so I wasn't able to peek in, but I was shown around the two bedroom. The apartment itself is fine (not "OMGmusthaveSHOWMETHELEASE," but no major flaws), but the hallways stink of cigarette smoke. UGH! (Smoking in the public spaces is not allowed... so either people aren't following instructions, or the smoke is seeping from their apartments.) That was pretty much a deal-breaker for me. I don't want to have to hold my breath whenever I come in or out.

The second building only has a two bedroom apartment available, but it's basically the same price as the one bedroom in the first block I looked at... so in a way I'd be getting a spare room for "free". It was hard to get a good look at the apartment because the previous tenant was in the process of moving out (*very* cluttered!), but the apartment seemed equivalent to the one next door, but the rest of the building was much better. There was no smell of smoke in the hallways (there are some smoking tenants, but new tenants are all non-smoking, plus the halls had linoleum tile instead of smoke-absorbing carpet), and the room with the storage units and washer and dryer were nicer. Basically, I really like the place. I just also happen to enjoy living at home, and five more months of free room and board vs paying for myself makes a difference in the bank account (or a difference in when I pretty much abandon my dissertation and get a "real job".)

Apartment Pros:
• doesn't stink
• top floor of building, so no one walking on my ceiling
• I think the landlord said the walls are cement, so no noise through them
• building well maintained (the landlord was even upgrading the stainless steel plumbing simply because the other stuff he's putting in is better)... he even asked me what colour I'd like the kitchen cupboards painted! (They're currently painted an extremely pale blue and are kind of hard on the eyes.)
• two bedrooms, spacious kitchen (big enough to eat in, although not big enough for a large table)0
• no signs of insects or mildew
• close to family
• supposedly decent apartments are hard to get these days
• it's in a neighbourhood I'm familiar with and know people
• fairly close to downtown, so not too bad to get to other areas of the city
• good neighbourhood (close range... further away it gets rougher)
• close to the art club I've joined
• single bus ride to get to two yarn shops (not that that is high on my list, but it is a "pro")
• I could potentially have a roommate
• the bedrooms both face away from the busy street (It's not a highway, but it's not a residential street either)
• close to a number of bus routes
• I think I like the apartment
• the apartment has north, east, and south exposure, and the west side is a hallway... so only adjacent neighbour is below
• hardwood floors, except kitchen and bathroom which are linoleum
• if it comes to it, I should be able to afford the apartment on a full-time minimum wage job
• really cute landlord, who appears to be my age (but I don't think he's single... I think there were two names on his answering machine)

Apartment Cons:
• available January 1
• no fan in the bathroom (although also no sign of mildew)
• not close to grocery store
• I haven't looked around much, so I don't know how this apartment compares generally in terms of price and/or advantages
• not close to any of my close friends
• may not be close to where I end up working (more knitting time on the bus, but still a drawback)
• only a single washer and dryer in the basement, so I can't do all my loads at once (that ability is, in my opinion, the only benefit to coin-operated washing machines), or may have laundry-collisions with other residents (I think there's only 8 apartments in the block, so I'm not sure how bad it will be)
• third floor walk-up (only really one and a half flights of stairs, not a real problem)
• January is a *cold* time to be carrying boxes and furniture outdoors
• switch from dissertation-mode to support-myself-mode earlier
• really cute landlord is probably not single

(I'm sure I'll think of more pros and cons... I'll add them as I think of them.)

So, do I rent this now to ensure a nice place, or do I play the waiting game, saving money but perhaps ending up somewhere not as nice? Am I just hesitating because I like living at home? Will I feel any better about moving out any closer to June?


jess said...

does the bathroom have a window?

at the very least I'd take a look in the area / other areas you'd be willing to live and check on prices just to make sure you're getting a good deal. It sounds pretty PRO to me, but I'm guessing the financial aspect of it could make/break it. :)

otherwise, really, sounds good to me!

Paulina said...

What are the odds, realistically, that you'll finish your dissertation by June? Are you making significant progress on it right now that it is worth continuing to work on it and possibly giving up a good place to live?

I would, if I were you, look around a little more before signing a lease at this place. Make sure that there aren't other equally "pro" options that might be available a little later on. Make sure you're not jumping if you don't have to, but do jump if this looks like a place you'll be happy living and you don't see other options that look like they'd also work.
*HUGS* :)

FWIW, I'm starting to do this looking thing also -- we definitely want to move to a different house, and I want to be moved before I am hugely pregnant again with #2 (preferably before I'm pregnant at all). Which is still around a year off at least, but that puts us looking at trying to move sometime in 2008. Scary!!!

noricum said...

The bathroom does indeed have a window, but that doesn't help much when it's minus forty out. ;) I can always do what I did in my last apartment, and put a dehumidifier in it. (It just means having to buy a dehumidifier.)

Paulina: Wow, those are big things, moving and having a second baby!

Laurraine said...

Good luck finding a great place... you will enjoy it!

Daph said...

Hmmm, that is a dilemma. One of the biggest pros (to me, anyway) is not having any neighbors other than the one below you. Apartment walls can be *so* thin.

I agree with Jess, if you're thinking about taking it I'd shop around a bit to be sure.

Deneen said...

Andrea, putting off the inevitable makes things worse-seriously. I have had to move, in a desperate situation, and had two weeks to do it-in the end run, it scared me, but if I had put it off, I wouldn't be where I am today (it's a real personal thing I am discussing and I could explain more in a real email-I could even call ya since I have free calls to Canada now ;)), but what I am saying is that sometimes it's better to jump right in, not give yourself a chance to procrastinate and put something off.....

Vik said...

Dear Andrea, you are the only one who can decide that. And I´m sure you´ll choose right!

suec said...

hi- so the "stay or go" decision really does depend on where you are with the dissertation. does the june deadline mean you'll buckle down and finish? if it does, then go for it and then find a place to live. if not, go for the nice nearby place and, oh my, think about better that min. wage jobs. sue

Lucia said...

I would say by all means do the due diligence as several people have suggested, and if it's a good deal, go for it. I'm getting vicarious nerves just thinking about it, being highly risk-averse myself, but I think it's one of those things where you just shut your eyes and jump.

I also agree with Sue's suggestion to try to improve on minimum wage... could you wait tables or bartend? In all but the greasiest of spoons the tips can be pretty good.

noricum said...

I'm certainly going to try for better (hopefully much better) than a minimum wage job, but I may have to take what I can get, and then hope to move up better.