My Ideal Apartment

Categories Apartment
my ideal apartment

Hello everyone! Now that the news is out that we are moving later in April, I figured I would share some of our plans and hopes for the not-so-distant future.

It’s no secret that I haven’t been the biggest fan of living in a basement apartment. Just the other day, R and I awoke from a much needed nap to a bunch of banging around upstairs. I don’t think anyone appreciates that. They’ve also been having karaoke night every night. As a side note to anyone thinking of renting out a basement apartment, please have sound proofing methods in place!

my ideal apartment

Due to this annoyance, I would really like to be able to rent out a house. That wouldn’t be possible here, but we have seen some cute houses for around $800-900/month. We wouldn’t have to worry about people being noisy above us, and I think I could deal with possibly loud neighbors as long as it’s not right above my living space.

We are open to the possibility of an apartment complex, as there are three within five minutes of R’s job. My biggest worry is being on the first or second floor, though. I am really hoping that newer apartment complexes don’t have such thin walls. Unfortunately, we won’t know until we check things out.

The other big thing on my wishlist is windows! I really didn’t think the lack of sunlight would bother me, because I always had my shade drawn in my old room at my parents’ house. I guess you don’t realize how much it bothers you until the option is gone! Our tiny basement apartment windows don’t let much light in, and they are not situated in optimal locations for sunlight.

I would be happiest with sliding glass doors leading to an outside patio, since they let a lot of light in. I think our cats would really enjoy such a big space to look out to as well. They have been deprived of the outside world for a bit too long.

Price is obviously important – we are really hoping to score a place for $700-$900/month. I’d be open to looking at more expensive places if they include utilities, but it doesn’t seem like many down there do. I have no clue how expensive electric/gas/water is down there, so we are budgeting around $200.

Apartment wishlist

So with those things aside, what else would I like in my ideal apartment/house rental? Here are a few items:

  • A dishwasher. I don’t want to sound lazy, but we are horrible with washing the dishes, and we’re both sick of it. Plus, it’s not the same quality-clean that you get from putting things through the dishwasher. A lot of times glasses and bowls still look dirty after cleaning them with a sponge. It would really make our lives easier, and many apartments that we have been looking at offer one.
  • washer/dryer hook-up. Ideally, a washer and dryer would be included with the apartment, but we haven’t seen many places that offer this. It’s a huge selling point if it does, though. These are fairly expensive units, and we’re not sure if we’re quite ready to invest in them. There are also some apartment complexes that offer the option to rent them for around $40/month.

    basement kitchen
    Our little kitchen
  • big kitchen with decent counter space. Our little kitchen has served us well, but we realized that we would like to upgrade. With the cats circling around us, R washing things, and me trying to cook, there’s not much room left in the areas where you can prepare food. I would be totally ecstatic if I could find a house rental with an island, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
  • pantry in the kitchen would be nice as well. Right now, we have a lazy susan that stores a lot of stuff for us, and we love it! It’s such a cute aspect of our kitchen. I just want some dedicated space for food storage.
  • Two bedrooms (and two bathrooms). I might be reaching for the stars on this one, and this is something we have become willing to compromise on. However, if my parents, grandma or friends would like to visit us, two bedrooms would be great to have. I would also really like it to double as an office space for myself, since I plan on trying to work from home. Having my desk in the living room leaves me prone to a lot of distractions when R has the TV on. If a space has 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, that’s all right.
  • Proximity to R’s job. This is pretty important to us. I’ve mentioned this numerous times, but R’s car isn’t great on gas, and he wants to save up for another one. I think it’s a great idea to seek out places near his job, so that he could lessen the wear and tear on his car, or bike there. This would hopefully decrease his car insurance payments as well as even out our gas budget. Since we will be visiting my parents at least once a month, I have to account for that in gas. park
  • Near a park. I would love for our place to be near a park so that we have a nice area to go walking. We are really lacking in options right now, and I know we both want to be more active come summertime. Somewhere with a bike trail would be great, too.
  • Open concept would be really nice. I think a lot of people are leaning toward open concept layouts these days. I’ve seen some kitchens completely walled off for no reason and it makes me feel claustrophobic.
  • Deck/sunroom/patio. I would really like an outside space to unwind at the end of the day. We could sit outside and people watch, or talk over dinner. It seems like a lot of the apartments come with this. I’ve missed being able to go outside to get some fresh air – we don’t have any space in the backyard to ourselves.

In case you’re wondering, this is “my” wishlist because when asked, R says all he needs is a bedroom and bathroom. He is not picky at all. We’ve been borderline miserable here, and I want to make sure that this time, we make the right decision. We aren’t sure how long we will be staying in the area, and I definitely don’t want to make a habit of moving every year.

Because we’re still relatively new at this, and I only have my basement apartment experience to go on, I’m reaching out to you:

What do you love or hate about your apartment/house? What experiences have you had in apartment complexes? What do you think we should consider when looking? 

Erin is a total goofball who sucks at writing about herself (though she finds referring to herself in the third person amusing). When she's not editing videos, she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cats, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, sipping coffee, or any random combination of the above.

59 thoughts on “My Ideal Apartment

  1. I love our place, with a few caveats. One, it’s cheap and all-inclusive (even electricity)… so I get over the ugly, industrial thin carpet on the stairs (everything else is wood floors), and the galley kitchen with melamine cabinets, the lack of closet space (no front hall closet or linen closet), and the fact the only bathroom is off one of the two bedrooms (we made it the office so people weren’t walking through the master bedroom to use the washroom).

    I’ve never lived in a high rise apartment complex. This place is an old house converted to 3 apartments, and the other places I lived were 9 – 12 unit three-story places. The actual apartment buildings had much better soundproofing than this converted house.

    1. If we can find something that is all utilities included, I would probably be okay if there were a few “off” things about it. It’s so much easier not having to worry about utilities in the budget. I haven’t been looking at high rises either, though I think there’s a few in the city center. I don’t know if I would want to be up that high!

  2. My boyfriend and I moved into a townhouse together 2 months ago. The neighbourhood we live in is full of 6-unit townhouses, so there’s a lot of people living in close proximity.

    We decided to take the end unit for $30/month more, and I am SO GLAD that we did. The amount of noise that carries between the two units is insane at times (thankfully not at night).

    We’re a little anxious to see what changes spring will bring. We’ve already noticed a lot more kids playing outside and a lot of garbage in and around our yard. Hoping it’s not too bad!

    When you find something you’re interested in, try to check out the space in the evening if possible. People are generally at home then, and it should give you an idea of how much noise will carry.

    Best of luck!

    1. Wow, that’s pretty bad! I am willing to pay a bit of a “premium” to get an end unit or the top floor. I will be checking everything out in the evening now that so many of you have suggested it!

  3. I have had surprisingly good experienes in apt complexes. The last one we were in had a single guy living above us, so that was nice. If it was a family with kids, I’d be wary…

    And I second the advice of going in the evening to check out places! We’ve always checked out apts on the weekend or middle of the work day. Now that I look back on it, it’s silly- of course the place is going to be quiet during those times… haha.

    My favorite thing about my last 2 apts is a BIG walk-through kitchen. There are a lot of apts up here with little kitchen rooms- with a door and everything? super closed off- i hate that. I like big open kitchens!

    I’m sure you will find something PERFECT :)

    1. I don’t get the closed off kitchens, either. Looking at night will at least give R the opportunity to look as well. I guess I can do the initial scouting out during the day and go back at night if it seems promising. Glad you had good experiences with your apartments!

  4. The one thing I wish I could change about my house is that it would get more light. I know that might sound petty but I feel like our house is always a little bit dark! In college I lived in an apartment that faced west and it always felt like the rooms were filled with light. I loved it.

    1. That’s not petty at all! I will be taking which way the rooms are facing into consideration, too. More natural light means using less electricity.

  5. That made me laugh, all he needs is a bedroom and a bathroom! Thank goodness guys are so amazingly simple sometimes! Some amount of natural light is huge for me, that might be the number one thing on my end.

    1. I absolutely love the amount of natural light that pours into the living room at my parents house, especially in the morning. It makes waking up a bit more enjoyable.

  6. My wife and I would really like to move soon too. We’re on the top floor so we don’t have annoying neighbors upstairs (my co-worker has issues with an upstairs neighbor who is intolerable). We do have neighbors next to us in the apartment complex that we can’t stand. It’s a couple, and the guy is a pot head and smokes cigarettes too. They argue loudly (often about his pot smoking). And both the noise AND smell seeps into our apartment. My wife did mention recently about how she likes our windows…I don’t know if I could stand the basement windows with little sun light. We have a small balcony and it’s a nice little outdoor area plus, lots of light coming from the sliding door.

    1. Sliding glass doors really do let in a lot of light, which is why I would like to have them! Ugh that’s awful about your neighbors. I couldn’t stand that either. Unfortunately, the apartments I looked at didn’t have top floor units available yet. Maybe I can get an end unit..

  7. Are you moving closer to where your parents live or just to a different place in the same hometown? I haven’t had too much luck with apartment complexes to be honest but living in a beautiful city, a nice luxury I like to have is a beautiful view with lots of light. :) Good luck with your search!

    1. We are moving closer to my parents – they’ll be three hours away. I would love to have a nice view, but most of the places I’ve seen are only three floors. I guess anything is better than a parking lot view!

  8. All things considered, I’d rather rent a house than live in an apartment complex. Depending on the house and the arrangements set up with the landlord, you could be looking at some yard maintenance. That would necessitate probably owning a lawnmower which you might not want to purchase yet. I make all my own tenants responsible for lawn care. You wouldn’t have that at an apartment complex, if that matters.

    1. That is a concern of mine. I don’t think we would mind taking care of things as long as the tools were supplied. I did see a few listings that said there was a shed and mower included, but I will be asking about that!

  9. I would love to have a dishwasher too, although in all the places I’ve lived, I think only 1 had one and I still hand washed my dishes half the time. I REALLY hate doing it though. That and laundry… they both feel so futile to me. As soon as everything’s clean it seems like something dirty is right back in the sink or hamper. Sigh.

    1. This is exactly how I feel! The second our sink is clear five things find their way in there. We just did three loads of laundry and the basket is half full already.

  10. If you can rent a house I always think that’s idea, unless it for some reason doesn’t have a w/d hookup. I also love hardwood floors. I like the place I live in, but it’s old and is bland, but it’s in a great neighborhood and I only have a neighbor on the left and right of me (single story triplex). The worst has to be having to go to the laundromat, and the cost. Best is location. Good luck with the move and congrats!

    1. I have really come to like the location our current apartment is in. Besides being close to my job, it’s five minutes away from main street. I’ll definitely be exploring different areas to see what they offer. I love hardwood floors, too! Some of the houses I saw had them as well as a fireplace.

  11. I prefer houses, but utility costs tend to be a good bit more than with an apartment (due to all four walls and the ceiling being exposed to the elements). And there may be utilities that are covered in an apartment (water/sewage) that are your responsibility when renting a house, along with yard maintenance, possibly.

    All that said, I still prefer a house to apartment living, for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. I really get aggravated when my neighbors make too much noise. Depending on the apartment though, I’ve had situations where my upstairs neighbors were just walking around, and it sounded really loud through no fault of their own.

    Best of luck on your search. I think you can get most or all of your wishlist if you hunt around.

    1. I’m going to have to call the utility places to get an estimate of costs if we have a few apartments we like. I really don’t know what to expect as far as that goes, so I’m a little afraid! I fully plan on micromanaging usage if we go with a house to hopefully mitigate the damage.

  12. Karaoke every night?? That’s pretty inconsiderate of them – did you ever bring it up? I’m glad that you and R are moving – a washer/dryer is pretty big for me, as well, it gets to be a chore on top of a chore to search for quarters to get your laundry done. A kitchen with an island and gas stove is huge on my house hunting list, too – food tastes way better with a gas stove versus electric in my opinion. I hope you find most, if not all, of your items on your wishlist! That’s so cool that you’ll be able to visit your parents more frequently!!

    1. The karaoke has been a recent development so we’re not bothering. Laundry is quite a chore, and I don’t like associating it with my grandma’s house right now! As much as I would like our own, even if we have to share, I guess it’s better than nothing. My mom has an island in her kitchen – funny thing is, she didn’t want it at first! I guess she thought it would make things too crowded, but there’s still more than enough room. I thought she was crazy.

      Thanks! I hope you guys find a nice home soon!

  13. I live in a very small bungalow and I can’t imagine having to listen to the noises of others. I enjoy my peace and quiet and someone singing bad karaoke ( I guessed it was bad) above my head would make me crazy.

    My girlfriend lived in a high end town home and the noise of the single male retired man who lived next door was terrible. He was a nice man but we could hear when he vacuumed and when he ran his dishwasher.

    I hope you find the perfect place which to me would be somewhere quiet.

    1. Well, I know some kids can sing beautifully, but our landlord’s daughter unfortunately isn’t one of them! It was more like screaming.

      I do hear the vacuum upstairs, but I can live with that over shouting. I love peace and quiet as well! Thanks for stopping by =).

  14. I love that you have such an extensive list for your ideal apartment and R’s is so basic. Typical guy. My only requirement when we purchased our home was that it had at least two bathrooms and a garbage disposal. Other than that, I felt as though I could live with anything.

    1. Everything down there has a garbage disposal! It’s going to take some getting used to. R says he only needs a bed and bath, but he had something to say about every apartment we looked at last year, so I’m sure he’ll eventually form some sort of wishlist.

  15. Our apartment wish list is really similar. Basically, all we care about is:
    1. Outdoor space- preferably private
    2. Dishwasher- an absolute must. We have a half sized one right now and it is perfect for what we need.
    3. Laundry- Our current place has free laundry that we share with the two other tenants. It’s in our basement so it works out perfectly.

    Right now, we have all of these major three for $1200 a month (1 bed/1 bath + den).

    1. Nice! You pay less than I do, haha. I’m just so tired of going to my grandma’s to do our laundry. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be making the three hour trek to my parents house to do laundry every weekend, so another solution is needed.

  16. My boyfriend and I are looking to move too and the more places we look at, the more we realize we can’t have everything we want. There are apartments that have this but not that and vice versa. It’s hard to prioritize our wants though. The #1 on my list is proximity to public transportation.

    1. It is very hard to prioritize my wants, too. I would love to have a 2 bed/2 bath but I know that’s probably out of our price range. I think the biggest deal for me is the kitchen and windows.

    1. I really didn’t realize how depressing it is to not have big windows. I come home and immediately want to go to bed because it’s so dark!

  17. That is indeed a wishlist you have there and I can only wish you all the best of luck at this moment. Even if all that’s in the list is not met, at least you have nothing to worry where R is concerned, if that is any consolation.

    1. Thanks Jen! It is nice to have the final say on the apartment, but R was like this last time we looked, too. He said he didn’t care, and then he had opinions about everything we looked at!

  18. Your ideal apartment sounds a lot nicer than my house! Haha just kidding, but honestly we have a small kitchen, no real pantry, etc. I think no matter where you go there will be pros and cons and things missing from your wish list, but I hope you find one that checks as many of the things on your list as possible.

    BTW this is so true -> “As a side note to anyone thinking of renting out a basement apartment, please have sound proofing methods in place!” Now that we’ve been renting out our basement apartment for a year I can definitely see a few different things we can do that would improve sound-proofing. Probably more info than you care to hear, but the sound-proofing sheet rock is about 8-9x as expensive as regular sheet rock. Soundproofing wouldn’t be as important, though, if tenants and landlords were respectful and kept the karaoke to once a month – or less ;)

    1. I think I was a bit spoiled, as my parents’ house had a huge pantry where our washer and dryer was. The people that purchased the house loved the extra storage space. I don’t need much – as long as there’s a little closet that would be nice.

      It’s mostly just loud banging. Their daughter likes gymnastics so we can only guess half the time it’s her doing cartwheels or something. I really have no idea how you could make that much noise just by walking. Sometimes we hear their dog running around as well. If they argue I can usually hear that, too! It’s a lack of privacy for them.

    1. We are usually on the quieter side, but I do get a little self-conscious when I want to play music. It is easier when you just have to think about your own needs/wants vs what your neighbors are expecting of you.

  19. think it’s really nice to have a washer/dryer in the apartment. I remember when I lived in an apartment the laundry room is in the basement so I had to go all the way there to do laundry!

    1. At this point I think I would be okay as long as it’s on the premises. Not ideal, but better than loading up the car and making the trip somewhere else.

    1. I don’t think I would mind as much if it were cheaper, but we are paying basically the same price as a regular apartment around here. At the very least, at least it’s on the newer side.

    1. I think a dishwasher is going to be a deal breaker considering how many places do come with them. Central air is amazing though. Last year we made do with fans in every room and that wasn’t too fun.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  20. How exciting for you that you’re thinking about moving! I’ve lived in a flat before which I didn’t like for the same reasons you’ve mentioned about noise. Since then I’ve lived in houses and I like them much more. I’m really happy where I’m renting right now as we’ve got a good deal on our rent. Price is a major factor for us and space. I don’t really mind not having a garden as I live next to countryside. (Plus I’m not very good at gardening). Can’t wait to read more updates about your move!

    1. Living by the countryside sounds so peaceful. I’m very much hoping that we can find a great deal on a house rental. I’m a little nervous about apartment complexes!

  21. I lived in apartments for many years. My pet peeves where noise and parking! Living on the top floor is helpful in reducing noise. Also, if you can find an apartment that includes all or most of your utilities you will save lots of money, if the rent is low too. Having your own laundry facilities would be great too. I really hated sharing that.

    1. I am trying to find places that include utilities, but it doesn’t seem to be as common as it is here. It would make things a lot easier!

  22. Too funny – my BF is pickier than I realised when we went apartment hunting, and wouldn’t leave the choice to me (which was great to have him so involved when I assumed it might be different).

    Would you consider being a 1 car household if you work from home always? Then he could ditch his gas guzzler and yours could become shared? Just a thought.

    Buying appliances (fridge, washer etc) is so common here in Australia, though you never BYO dishwasher – it’s either installed or it’s not.

    I hope you find something you’re really happy with, but there’s always some trade offs, so perhaps separate ‘non negotiable’ from ‘nice to haves’?

    1. I would like to have him involved in the decision, too. I don’t like when things are all up to me!

      Yes, I will definitely consider becoming a one car household if things go well. It might be a ways away until things become stable, though.

      The things on the bottom of the list are the less important items. I’m sure I’ll have a difficult time finding a place that checks everything off in our price range, but I can try!

  23. I hope when we buy our next place it’s a detached home in the suburbs and it has a washer and dryer, driveway and maybe even a garage (a girl can dream right?). I’m tired of listening to our neighbors pound around like elephants late at night.

    1. That is a very accurate description of what we hear, too. I think a fair bit of homes around here have garages. I would say more do than don’t. We just used ours for storage though, and it became a cluttered mess! Having a driveway would be really nice, too.

  24. All of those things are ideal, but one of my biggest things when we were apartment hunting was a place with a washer/dryer included. I don’t mind washing dishes by hand, but having to take dirty laundry anywhere other than a room attached to my house is my nightmare. I absolutely hate it. And I definitely understand how much of a difference low light can make. I hope you find something that’s perfect for you.

    1. Neither of us can stand washing dishes, but I think it would be amazing if we could find a place with both a dishwasher and washer/dryer. I’m sure it’s inconvenient to share that facility with other people and I’d rather not find out!

  25. I love our location, but it’s not exactly our dream apartment. It’s a studio, and we would like a one bedroom eventually. We would also like an in suite washer and dryer, as well as a dishwasher. And wood floors. But it’s nice having all our utilities included now and I wouldn’t trade the close proximity to everything.

    1. I seriously admire you two for living in such a small space. Having utilities included is really awesome, though. I love not having to worry about bills on top of everything else. You can’t beat being within walking distance to things, either.

  26. Pingback: To Move Or Not To Move. - Financial Diffraction

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