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Apartments and kids - Page 2

post #21 of 60
I hate maintenance - home, lawn, cars you name it.

I would want my own washer and dryer
ground floor would be nice as would a balcony or patio
mail delivered to near the entrance, not a central spot you can't get at during nap time
walkable neighborhod with a park people (parents and children) actually use
elevator or ok to leave stroller at entrance if you are not on the first floor
good neighbors as if you can control that
good soundproofing/noise control
control of my own heat and ac temps

I'd also check out garbage recycling locations. We've had some doozies. I don't want it a block away or outside my window.
post #22 of 60
We lived in an apartment, not in a complex but in a huge old house that had been divided up, when my daughter was a toddler. The downstairs neighbors had a big nice dog who barked like crazy if anyone lingered near or touched our gate, so I always felt very safe. We had a washer and dryer in the apartment and were just a few blocks from a huge, beautiful park. We were also walking distance from the library, several stores, restaurants, a coffee shop, and an ice-cream parlor. It worked out great for us!
post #23 of 60
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Most places we've lived, apartments don't have elevators, and carrying a baby and a toddler plus either grociers or laundry up and down a couple of flights of stair just doesn't work for me. This is esp. true if the steps are out of doors.

I'm a first floor gal.
My apartment-living experience is limited to the two major American cities in which I've spent most of my adult life--one of which is NYC. In NYC, you would never want to take a first floor apartment, for both safety reasons and noise. Higher floors are always more desirable--and, therefore, often significantly more expensive. Apartment buildings are also often huge--you could be talking about 200-300 units in the building. And doormen!

I have lived in walk-ups before, and never had a problem with it--and that includes lugging groceries and laundry, walking dogs several times a day, and so forth. I think the highest walk-up I've ever known someone to have was five flights, but even many smaller buildings have elevators (I once lived in a second-story NYC apartment, which did have an elevator).

I don't have any experience with the kind of two-story apartment "complexes" that people are discussing. Out of door steps? What's that?
post #24 of 60
Can't pass up this thread - I'm an apartment gal myself! It's becoming a defining part of my life as I realize what a freak I must be...forget breastfeeding, TV-limiting, delayed-vaxing, cosleeping, but living in an apartment with kids? Clearly that makes me a weirdo. I live in a city that is obsessively single-family-home oriented...in fact, we have more single family homes per capita than most in N. America. (which means, yep, sprawl...yuck.)

Agreed with a lot of the points re safety, W/D in ap't, etc. One thing I'll add is concrete walls. It's quieter. I also look for a place that has electrical heating. Dusty radiators can be a pain but no gas bill is pretty awesome. I've never lived in a truly big complex, mostly low rises. We own our apartment style condo now and before we were living in condo sublets. We found some great deals that way last time we rented; people didn't mind the idea of renting to a family because that meant we weren't partiers. We actually got a rate below market price on a sublet that way.

On the pro side, one thing that hasn't been brought up is the non-work-related plusses of living in a walkable neighborhood. DH's work is close but my former employer was in the burbs so I drove anyway (but against rush hour.) But outside of working hours, it's kind of nice to walk your errands, especially with kids. It can make a grocery shopping day or a post office day into good exercise and a fun detour to the park. We also have tons of options for shopping and restaurants around here, which is a plus if you want to drink on date night . We are also close to transit so unlike most families here (yes I live in a crazy oil-drunk city) we share a car. Today DH was off work and we both made plans with friends...could have been a conflict in the burbs which are poorly served by transit. Since we are downtown DH just dropped me off and we took a bus back.

On the minus side, one thing that hasn't been brought up is awkwardness on playdates. Hi, I'm Nina and I'm more status-conscious than I should be. We clearly have limited toys and limited space so I feel like a bit of a heel when my friends are here...when I go to their generously sized beautifully furnished eco-chic homes I kinda wonder where I went wrong in life . Of course there is a great park a block away so that does help. Also on the minus side - you can't just throw your kids in the backyard and get stuff done around the house. But whenever I get cranky about that I remember what one poster said on one of these MDC threads some time ago - A park is a yard you don't have to mow.
post #25 of 60
Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post

I don't have any experience with the kind of two-story apartment "complexes" that people are discussing. Out of door steps? What's that?
Los Angeles!

Actually I've seen them in Connecticut too.
post #26 of 60
I say short commute and apartment.

We live in an apartment and it's really not that bad. Sure, I want a house and we are saving for it ... but to buy a house in this school district (or even rent one) is very expensive - and we got a great deal on an apartment that is zoned for the very best school in our area.

The pros - our apartment is big, and as big as many of the small houses we could rent for about 1/2 the price. It's remodeled and brand new - and when anything breaks, maintenance is a phone call away. There is a beautiful pool that we use all summer long. We use the exercise equipment and playground often as well. Many of ds's friends live in our complex, so each afternoon he's outside playing with kids. Our balcony is large and I grow a pretty extensive container garden on it each summer - no it's not a yard, but it does just fine for now.

The cons - no yard. Less privacy than a house.

But dh and I both work within miles of our apartment and ds's school is super close as well. It's so convenient and the price is right. We'll probably be in this apartment for another year or two before we buy a house. But yes, I would choose a close by apartment over a far away house anyday.
post #27 of 60
I am new here but wanted to throw in my two-cents on apartment living.

We are lucky to live in the same town that my DH works in, but because of house prices we have been living in an apartment since I was pregnant with my DS 3 years ago. Now we have DS who is 2.5 and another baby on the way. You can't beat how close my DH works to where we live - 5 minutes - but space is an issue.

CONS - Our two bedroom apartment is getting kind of small and now with another baby due in 3 months it is downright close in here. We have had to get rid of alot of stuff and put into storage. Depending on the size of the apartment you find you may not run into these issues. The only other issues I have are kitchen counter space and lack of a washer and dryer in our home so it is hard for me to lug laundry home to my mom's (especially the diapers!) but I do it.

The pros are - someone fixing stuff and painting for us. Not having to mow a lawn (though would glady trade that for a backyard!). And a sense of community. We live in Garden apartments which is nice because we have our own entrance and this place is neat and quiet.

Bottom line is that this is what we can afford and will gladly put up with some inconveniences for me to be able to stay home with my kids and for DH to have a stress free commute for a while. We will probably go house shopping in the next year just to have more space for the kids.

Good luck!
post #28 of 60
I have structured my life around a short commute! I feel very passionately about it. Plus, I love living in the city where we can walk to things.

For me, the immediate area around the apartment is more important than the apartment itself. Not only do you need to be able to walk to playgrounds, it needs to be the kind of neighborhood where other people are doing the same thing (nothing feels less safe to me than a deserted inner city playground...) We actually own our condo, but it's an 800 sq ft 2 BR in a 3-family house, so very apartment feeling. I do feel bad for the other people in our building, especially the woman downstairs, as I know we must be loud... but they both moved in after we did so they chose this lifestyle! It takes me 10 minutes by bikes to get to work... I love our life.
post #29 of 60
We live in a 2-bedroom apartment with DS (3) and DD (11 months). I LOATHE it. We chose it because it meant a 5-minute commute for DH, but I would swap a longer commute for a house with a yard any day (unfortunately, DH doesn't agree with me, probably because he's not the one stuck in the apartment all day with 2 small children).

The reasons I hate it so much:
- 3 flights of stairs, no lift. Doing groceries sucks! I have to do it every single day, and even then I'm carrying up bags, a backpack, a baby, whilst trying to convince my toddler to walk up the stairs and trying to unlock the door with my 3rd hand at the same time.
- no laundry. We installed a washer in our kitchen, but there is nowhere to put a dryer. And we're not allowed to hang laundry on our balcony. There are shared clotheslines .... down 3 flights of stairs (so not fun when I've got to take a baby, a toddler and basket loads of wet washing down with me)
- no garage or parking space. Street parking only, which there sometimes isn't any of.
- no outdoor area, no grass, no pool, no driveway, nowhere my toddler can ride a scooter or a tricycle or splash in a paddling pool (and nowhere to store any of that stuff anyway, so I'd have to cart it up and down the stairs)
- a kitchen so small it's positively ridiculous
- even though I take the kids out every. single. day ... they still go stir crazy VERY quickly and completely destroy the apartment multiple times per day. Their only place space is my living room/dining room/kitchen (all the one room). I can't walk out the door without tripping over blocks, toys, legos, shoes, wheeled walkers etc.
- my son thinks the balcony is for throwing toys off and peeing off of
- I can't grow a vege garden with the kids, or do any sort of outside messy activities
- my neighbours are very, very tolerant of the noise, but I'm sure it drives them absolutely bonkers. My toddler tantrums all day long. He tantrums up and down the stairs. He tantrums down near the clotheslines. I spend most of my week feeling horribly embarrassed.

I hate living in this apartment so much that I have considered moving to a different city to my DH (back to my hometown where we own a house) and living apart from him long term. The benefits of a short commute in no way outweigh the negatives for me.

Edited to add:
I suppose I should add a few positives, since I've been so negative:
- we have about 6 parks within a 10 mins stroll
- all shops/amenties/services/restaurants/cinemas/doctors/public transport/playgroups/church/etc all within a few minutes walk
- all of our friends are within easy walking distance
post #30 of 60
I'd choose the short commute and the apartment, given the choice.

We live in an apartment and although we're planning to buy a house within the next two years and it would be nice to have a yard, we're still pretty happy where we are. Here's why:
1. We have a washer & dryer.
2. We have an office space for when DH works from home...this may not be an issue for everyone, but it's very important for us.
3. We're on the top floor, so there's no one making noise above us.
4. The walls between apts are concrete, so pretty sound proof.
5. Lots of parking.
6. Pool, playground, lots of lawn spaces.
7. Very kid-friendly complex, lots of other families with young children.

Here are some things I don't like about apartment living:
1. NO storage space. I feel like we're constantly sorting through our stuff for things that can go to goodwill because we just don't have the space to hold on to anything.
2. Not a lot of space for parties, playdates, etc.
3. We're on the third floor, so walking up & down the stairs multiple times a day with the baby can be hard.
4. Sometimes, the people downstairs smoke in their bathroom and the smell comes up through the vents. Ick! This is probably our biggest issue with this apartment.
post #31 of 60
I have done both, but most of DD's 4.5 years have been spent in apartments (minus the year she was 2-3.)

It's fine, I don't mind it.

The big con to me is neighbors and smoking. That's the bane of my existence. Everything else including the noise factor I find very livable after so many years.

I look for: separate (and clean) HVAC systems, washer and dryer, good closets in about that order.

I'd absolutely do it for the commute; time is one thing you can't get back and time spent on your butt traveling to and from work adds up fast.
post #32 of 60
I've lived in two apartments with children.

We moved out of our 3rd floor 2 bedroom apt. when I was pg with DS2 and mom needed to move in with us after my dad passed. Partly too many people, but also my kids at 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 were just too noisy to be in an upstairs apt. It was not fair to me to have to stress on disciplining them, THEM to not be able to be active, and the people below me.

NOW as a mom going on her FOURTH child, I would pick the large house and yard and the two-hour commute. Back with ONE child or an infant and toddler I might have picked 5 mins. and apartment.

Things I like about this apt. over my old one
--ground floor. (I think this is ESSENTIAL with young children.)
--individual outdoor entrances (again nobody can complain about their noise in the hallway)

--we have our own washer/dryer in our place
--sidewalk for kids to ride bikes, little bit of a yard.

Things I do NOT like
--nobody enforces any sort of rules about the playground, regarding ages of children allowed or supervision. And there's no bench or anything for parents to sit on, I think a lot more parents would be inclined to be there if there was a place to sit, y/k?
So....like the other day, DD rode her bike over, there were a bunch of middle-schoolish age kids on all the (very small kid, I'd say it's probably appropriate for up to about 9-10 at the oldest) equipment, and I very quickly hauled her out of there as I started to hear the 'f' word, among others.

MOST of the time, my mom or I are the *only* adults out with kids on the playground. My kids are *rarely* the only ones there.

--We desperately need more space, it is *small.*

--the kids right next door to me *supposedly* have older siblings supervising them in the summer. In reality, they run and do whatever they want all day, including fight with my kids. And they've done a few things right in front of their supervising 'babysitter', NOTHING happens! (I'm talking big, like chasing my kids with a giant stick, or pushing DD off her bike for the apparent 'crime' of riding by on the sidewalk in front of 'their' yard.) We've complained and NOTHING gets done, I've pretty much flat out been told they can't do anything because these people are on housing. (which *really* ticks me off, not the housing part, I could care less about that, but if this was MY children, we'd be evicted!)
There's no getting away from them, we'll just have to go to parks all summer to play outside without dealing with these kids. (the yards adjoin, there's NO fencing, you get the idea.)

So yeah I am REALLY REALLY wanting a house with a yard. And a fence.
post #33 of 60
I would totally choose the short commute. That time spent in a car is such a waste, imho.

I live in a 2 story apartment building with outdoor steps and no lift. And I live on the top floor. I prefer the top floor though. I like that I don't have to worry about people walking by and looking in my windows. I like that it's a much more complicated venture for for any would be burglar. I only have one flight of steps and don't mind even when I have to make multiple trips to bring in the groceries. I have an assigned parking space (literally 5 steps from the stairs) so there aren't any parking concerns. I like that I'm upstairs because I'm not having to listen to my 2yo running and jumping on the floor which is my downstair neighbors ceiling. Upstairs just feels more private and safe to me. We have a large yard area behind the building and a mini playground with a b-ball hoop, swings, slide and rock climbing thing. There are sidewalks everywhere too. It does take us a bit more time if she walks up or down the stairs, and I hold her hand.... but that's such a small thing that I don't really see it as a big deal or reason to want a ground floor apartment.

Pre-motherhood, I lived on the bottom floor in a 1br apt. The apartment above me apparently had the bathroom right over my bedroom. And every night I was awoken by the sound of a man urinating over my head, and then he'd flush and the water would run down the pipe in the wall behind my head. And my patio had a big 8ft wooden fence so I couldn't see anything except a small patch of sky from it. My upstairs neighbors also dropped trash down in my patio area. I always felt suffocated in that bottom level apartment, like it actually felt like the ceilings were low although it was a modern building and they were probably the standard 8ft or whatever, so I've always tried to have top floors since.

I like being in an end unit, and having my own washer/dryer in unit is a big deal. I also like the shared wall to be the kitchen living room areas rather than the bedroom areas.
post #34 of 60
We live in an apt. and love it. Eventually we may want a house (or not, depending on how we decide we want to spend our $). Our apt. complex is really nice--we live on the edge of some wilderness which is nice because dd and I like to do nature walks, we have a heated swimming pool for the summer, a gym, and lots of green space for walking and playing around. I love how we have such a diverse mix of people--lots of different ethnicities and ages. I love that I have a small space to clean--our apt. (a 2 BR) can be totally spotless and perfect in 2 hours with just me cleaning it, or 1 hour with dh's help. We have a balcony for our sandtable and container garden. We don't have to worry about yard work or property taxes. Living in a small space has made us very conscious about "stuff" and how much of it we allow into our lives. Our apartment is also close to dh's work so occasionally he gets to come home for lunch. We also live in between a great town park and a nature reserve. It's wonderful.

When looking for an apt., I always make sure there is: built-in AC, a balcony, a nice swimming pool, a playground. I also walk around the complex and get a feel for the residents to make sure it's a good mix--I don't like places that seem to cater to the college crowd. I check for apartment ratings online. I try and make sure we're near lots of nature and parks.

ETA: We've always lived on the top floor with dd (we live on the 3rd floor right now) and would never get a bottom floor for safety reasons and because we don't want to hear people overhead.
post #35 of 60
It's fun to read all the stories of living with kids in apartments. That's something we're hoping to do (if we ever manage to actually get pregnant! fingersx.gif), so it is good to hear what works well and what the challenges are. Any other stories out there?
post #36 of 60
5 minute commute in apartment, easy choice. As for what to look for, we wanted an apartment that had green space for DS to play on. We had two to choose from and chose the one with lots of empty yard so DS can run around this summer. It also has a playground, is close to a walking trail and close to a popular beach play area along the river.
post #37 of 60

We live in an apartment since last year after house-living the first 4 years with kids. We have twin 5 yr olds in a two bedroom apart. We have a washer/dryer and a garage (that is not nearby) for storage.




short commute- we each drive about 10 minutes

good schools (we could not afford a house in this district)

no/low maintenance (DH travels so this is huge!)

pool access in the summer

less 'stuff'




no playground nearby- we drive to the local one in good weather

it seems like it is forever messy- 4 people and 900 sq feet gets messy quick

parking stinks

Upstairs neighbor is noisy!


post #38 of 60

We are apartment dwellers as well. Not much to add to what pp's have said except make sure there are no yappy dogs living in any apartments near yours. We had to live above a yappy dog for a year and it was torture!

post #39 of 60

As long as the 5 minute away apartment was in a good neighborhood and had a school I liked nearby (homeschooling is illegal here), I wouldn't think twice about living in an apartment.   Especially since it's just you and your son (at least I'm assuming from your signature), space shouldn't be an issue.  DH and I lived for two years with DD, myself, and a cat in a 1 bedroom 400 m^2 apt and even though it was extremely tight it was within walking distance frmo work and a ton of playgrounds so we loved the location!  We're moving soon and currently looking for a new apt ourselves.  We'd do the same set up but the school that I fell in love with is farther away so we won't be able to live right next to work anymore. :( But trust me that travel time is sooo valuable, especially if you're a working mom!!!!!!!


As to what to look for.  Well, I think you can make do with whatever situation as long as you set up your furniture well enough ;) but it's always nice to have things like playgrounds/libraries/schools nearby. 

post #40 of 60

There are pros and cons. We live in a condo in a great neighborhood with easy commutes. We can walk everywhere including two metro stations. We love our neighborhood and have a lot of green space to run around in.


I would never live in a ground floor unit due to safety concerns, but I think if you had a good alarm system you'd be OK. 


Our unit doesn't have a washer/dryer (there's a shared laundry room) which is the biggest downside BY FAR. So I'd look for a place with its own washer/dryer.


I would pick the apartment over the hellish commute for sure.

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