Five things I’ve learned in four years of renting

Picture 360

Two months after graduating college I got my first apartment (I lived in the dorms all four years of college to save money). I roomed with two girls I went to church with and made it a year to ‘find myself and find a stable job’. It was an interesting experience and probably the roughest year for me due to feeling ‘lost’ and my mom battling cancer. Since then, I’ve lived in three other apartments and in the last five years I’ve learned a lot about renting. I plan on buying a house when I’m in my 30s and decide where I want to settle. Until then, I have travel plans! So what have I learned?

Cheap appliances aren’t worth a hoot

My current apartment complex buys cheap appliances, the carpet and tile are clearly lower end and bottom line, you can tell it’s a rental they expect to fix every couple of tenants. Previous apartments haven’ been quite this bad. My former landlord bought quality appliances and boy could you tell a difference. When I do buy a house, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll buy something that is reliable as opposed to the cheap option!

Check the lease

Life happens and sometimes you need to break a lease. Personally I prefer month to month leases, but those are rare. When I sign a lease, I make sure I can afford to get out if something bad happens AND have an emergency fund to help me along if that happens to pay bills and find a new place. I review my lease quarterly to check for any small things that need to be done as well as when it ends.

166

(I pay a lot in rent, but being close to festivals, 5K’s, stores and more is worth it!)

Getting what you pay for

Somethings are worth paying extra in terms of rent. It pays to live in a nicer area as opposed to a seedy area. Sometimes amenities factor in here as each person has their own list of what they need/want. For me, it’s worth paying extra for convience and not having roommates. Yes, I could save $500 a month sharing my place, but I’m an introvert and I’d rather pay the extra to live alone. Also, I live close enough to walk to the library, grocery store and work, so the $1200 I pay a month is worth it in what I save in gas and sanity.

stuff

Consider moving

I’m very blessed to have an amazing family. Moving often serves as a reminder to that as I often have a large moving crew of family and friends when I move. I’m sorry to say I do have a lot of stuff (hence my ‘declutter goal’ I set every year), so it comes in handy. That said, it does make me hesitate to move since packing is draining. It was costly for me to move last time due to a broken lease, but hopefully I don’t find myself in that situation again!

068

Happiness

Remember, the place you pay money to rent is your home. If you’re not happy with it, consider ways to make it a happy place. For me, home is a place where I can relax, be productive, feel safe and have space for friends who come by or need a place to stay. I’m very happy with where I live now and I enjoy being home (not to sound like a homebody—I mean I have all my crafts, books and video games here!) My apartment is also a reflection of myself in some ways from my book collection to wall of famous people, it feels like home and I feel happy and relaxed here.

What are things you’ve learned from renting?

Advertisements

Apartment acquired!

Piano Door Bell. (incrediblethings.com)

Following up on my previous post about the woes of commuting, I’m happy to announce that I found an apartment!  I reserved it on Wednesday and got the official call on Thursday to confirm that my application was approved and it was mine. I’m very excited about it and I’m counting down the days until I have an extra 2.5 hours in my life (I commute roughly 2.5-3 hours a day right now) and no longer have to put the miles on my car.

 

There is going to be a little bit of a wait time before I move since the lease doesn’t start until the end of July.   I have another six full weeks to commute, though it may be only 5 depending on if I end up house-sitting for some friends one week in July.  I have a moving crew scheduled (family and friends) and since I’ll only be moving an hour away and the trailer is loaded with my non-essentials, it should be my easiest move yet!

Great way to display tickets

The apartment itself is a good price, especially considering the high cost of living in the area.  It’s close to work and in a safe place (there are plenty of cops who live in the apartment complex) and I have a lot of space!  I’ve started to mentally decorate the apartment I’ll be moving into since I have an idea of the layout I want.  After not having a place to decorate for a while (or having the extra money to spend on decorating), it’ll be nice to do both!

 

Since I have a nice sized window before moving in, it gives me time to get done with odds and ends to make moving easier.  I went through my things thoroughly when I was packing up to move three months ago and I anticipate doing it again once I get settled.  I have more space at this place than my old one, but some things are going to go to make space for more things.  My list of things to buy and do in the next 50 days is quite sizeable, but some are progress points for my goals I set for the year.

Doctor Who TARDIS Night Light

It’s nice to know my commute is coming to an end!  Equally exciting is knowing I’ll be in a place with plenty to do, friends nearby and a place all to myself again.  Have you moved recently?