Tag Archives: Apartment

And That’s Why We Will Always Live in an Apartment

We were in Michigan visiting family this past weekend and talking about all the little expenses that come up throughout the school year. I mentioned school pictures being $62 for two kids for just the CD with the digital image and the class picture, paused, and said, “…and that’s why we’ll always live in an apartment.”

It became a running joke through the afternoon. I talked about sending them to an additional camp next summer but worried the price is so much more than the regular camp they attend during the summer now….and that’s why we’ll always live in an apartment.

The expenses of having children are going to increase at a rate that feels like it will outpace Mr. Brickie’s earning potential during those same years. If it were a graph you’d look at it, nod your head, and say, “…and that’s why they’ll always live in an apartment.”

If we were to consider getting a house we would have to save up a down payment. We would have to pay earnest money and (possible) closing costs. We would have to decorate the place or at the very least paint the bedroom and kitchen. All of that costs money and if that money is going toward a house it’s certainly not going toward our kids. Plus, we would have to save for things like a broken water heater or replacement lawn mower. Even if we used the emergency fund you still have to pay yourself back for the next emergency.

These are the years. The important ones where the tweens start to make real decisions that have a lasting effect. I want to make these years the ones that matter in terms of extracurricular activities. They should be exposed to a whole bunch of amazing people doing really cool stuff. Summer camps where they learn to code mobile apps and take courses in electrical engineering. Where they learn that tech and science are fun and full of wonder and imagination. I want to send them to art camps and writing camps, too, so they can harness their fears and feelings into stories and colors.

The only priority I have outside of the kids is paying off credit cards and having a six-month emergency fund. I can pay off the student loans after they’re out of college if I have to. If I can swing it sooner, great, but I’m not feeling any pressure because I’m fine having them as a pet until my hair is gray and stairs become a challenge as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my parenting.

Oh, there is one other priority that is kid-adjacent.  We are going to save up so for the experience that will be my brother’s Disneyland wedding in November of 2017. We want to stay for longer than just the wedding so the kids can have some fun. I want to do the VIP tour guide thing so I don’t have to wait in lines or figure anything out. Of course it’s crazy expensive but I figure it will be our one and only Disney trip so might as well make it an affair to remember.

….and that’s why we’ll always live in an apartment.

Renting: House vs. Apartment (Round 1)

will-move

I have a year to figure out what we want. Okay, maybe 9 months maybe a year somewhere around there. I’ve been trying to figure out the difference between renting an apartment and renting a house. Family and friends are leaning toward house because music and noise and the potential of being under someone who walks like elephants. When I wax poetic about not having to shovel snow or mow the lawn or rake the leaves, however, I can usually sway people to the apartment side pretty quickly.

The problem is, I have no real preference.

One of the things that was created in the great real estate bubble of 2008 were people who could pay normal levels of rent but not extreme levels of rent created by adjustable rate mortgages. Okay, it’s way more complicated than that but the point I’m trying to get across is that $1200 in rent is not out of the realm of possibility anymore. If you live someplace that is not the midwest you may need to scale that number up or down for your area. I pick $1200 because that was my mortgage payment and it will be (after one more promotion for Mr. Brickie) totally in the budget to pay that much for a place to live if I need to.

We have friends who live in a town near where we think we’re ending up and they are renting a three bedroom house for $800.

I can’t even imagine paying that little. Okay, I can totally imagine not paying that little because we pay zero right now as we go through this process, but rent being so much lower and then everyone knows that renter’s insurance is so cheap that in some cases  you end up getting it for free because the multi-line discount of auto insurance and renters can sometimes be bigger than the cost of the renter’s insurance and then all your stuff is insured. (If you rent, please have renters insurance. Please. Consider this a public service announcement.)

Back to this rent thing. There are these new things I’ve seen around here called Luxury Apartments. They’re new construction, very pretty on the outside, and they have a lot of square footage for an apartment. One we were looking at was $895/mo. for 1200 square feet. It had two bathrooms, ample closet space, and a little storage unit in your apartment. The grounds had a swimming pool (I cannot stress enough how in my imagination we are having pool parties for the kids and I am lying next to the pool sunning myself with a  mimosa while all my kids are in school), built in barbecue grills, and a clubhouse. Each building had its own laundry facilities in the basement. (The Luxury Apartment link is to an article that sums up pretty well what makes an apartment luxury vs. standard.)

That’s the bummer, of course. The laundry facilities instead of having a dedicated “just for you” washer and dryer. Especially with my “load a day” philosophy that could get expensive pretty quickly. Plus I’m sure they take quarters and I remember scrambling for quarters on the regular when I was young and in an apartment. I’m older and maybe a little wiser now so I think I could remember to pick up a roll of quarters at the bank now and then.

Renting a house you have a washer and dryer. You also have snow removal and mowing to worry about. Renting a house you have a yard, but many apartment complexes have a park for the kids on the land. It sounds like I’m veering toward an apartment, I know. I probably am. But then I think about the kids screaming or fighting and I think about apartments and just cringe to my toes. I would hate to have to be quiet as a mouse all the time because, you know, the neighbors on the other side of the wall.

There are just a lot more unknown factors that cannot be accounted for in an apartment setting. What if the next door neighbors smoke weed and the smoke comes into your apartment? What if your upstairs neighbors don’t put their kids to bed and they’re playing wrestlemania at 3am on top of your bedroom while you’re trying to sleep? With a house you have people to the left and the right and maybe behind but you’re separated by a little land. A little breathing room.

But houses come with house sized utility bills whereas apartments come with apartment sized utility bills.

I’m torn. I’m trying to figure out what will be best for us in the long run. The long run where I want to make sure my kids don’t have crippling student loan debt later in life. The long run where we go on vacation. I find it all pretty confusing overall, but these are my initial thoughts. I’m sure that in a few months my brain will have been kind enough to prioritize some of my wants vs. needs and I’ll be able to make a better determination.

I just don’t want to get trapped in the place where I am renting a house because the goal is a house. I want to make the best financial decision because my kids won’t give a crap if they have a yard if I can put them back in some extracurricular activities outside the house entirely, you know?

Let me know your thoughts. I’m lucky to have smart readers and know you will probably think of something I have not even considered yet.

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