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#1 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What's your experience been living in an apartment with young children? What are the things to look for in an apartment complex when you're living with kids? What are the hard parts?
Would you pick between an hour commute twice daily and a big house/yard or a five minute commute and an apartment?

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#2 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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We're facing this question in our house too - interested to hear what others say.

FWIW - I HATE my commute - which is why we're selling our house before we are ready to buy again. My commute is 30 minutes in decent weather, 1 to 2 hours in the winter and I'm done.
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#3 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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What's your experience been living in an apartment with young children? What are the things to look for in an apartment complex when you're living with kids? What are the hard parts?
Would you pick between an hour commute twice daily and a big house/yard or a five minute commute and an apartment?
Definitely I'd pick the five minute commute and apartment. Better quality of life in my opinion.

We just sold our home and downsized to an apartment. We are so happy. We thought we'd be here for just 6 months while we found a new home to buy, and now we're going on three years here. No maintenance, no upkeep, gorgeous pool. They even change light bulbs! We just feel free.

I'd get a ground floor apartment that is near a park. Also make sure that it is in a good neighborhood with good schools. I'd make certain that the unit that you rent has an area where the kids can run around and ride bikes/trikes. Oh, and a washer/dryer in the unit.

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#4 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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There are pro's and con's to each situation. I think it's really individual.

For instance, I hate long commutes... but I also grew, over the years, to hate apartment complexes too. I can't do ground-floor apartments, because I hate the sound of people tromping around overhead. I also feel that second-floor units are safer from break-ins (this was a hard feeling to break even when I moved to a really nice complex, since I'd lived in dangerous neighborhoods for so long). However, I really don't recommend stairs with young kids. There's also the balcony issue - even with good rails, I was always nervous about the kids being on the balcony.

But there are up-sides to the no maintenance worries thing too. You don't have to deal with anything yourself - just call the office and they'll send someone over for you (if you're in that good complex). There's usually the nice pool and if you're lucky, there's a playground. Plus that gloriously short commute.

Having finally gotten out of apartments, though, I won't go back unless there is literally NO other choice. I am in a duplex now, but it's close enough to being in a house that I can live with it. It's not a complex, but a freestanding building with only one shared wall. It's got a yard and I can plant my flower garden in peace. No stairs. No parking lots to fight over spaces (or speed bumps, though our street could use some). The husband has a commute that is longer than he'd like it to be, but that's his own fault - we originally chose this place because he was so close to his job that he could ride a bike to work and be there in 5 minutes. (Then he got fired )

So I guess, really, it depends on what you want out of your living arrangement. Personally speaking, if I was the one working, I wouldn't want a commute longer than 30-40 minutes in order to get to my own home, with my own yard and my own driveway, but I wouldn't sacrifice that personal living space in order to be closer to work if it meant transitioning back to an apartment. That's just me.

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#5 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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If you rent a ground floor apartment, you might want to invest in an alarm system & put stickers in the windows. That's what we did.

Oh, and rent a garage if you don't want to hunt for a parking space.

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#6 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Where we were living, the commute was about 50-60 minutes to get to town (groceries, etc) & an hour to an hour & a half to work; I really loved it there, & hope to live in a place like that again! Lots of space, had fruit trees, big gardens, livestock, lots of trees, areas to hike, seasonal creek, etc.

Right now we're living in town/suburbs (not an apt., but the most urban place I've ever been), & we spend most of our time in the backyard - we seldom go out front, on the street with the sidewalk. After over 2 years here, I did recently find out where a couple of parks are, but I really don't like going. I like to grow my own stuff, dig in my own soil, have whatever animals we want, & build stuff on our own land.

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#7 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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I'm renting a townhouse. I'm on the end and only have one (quiet) neighbor whom we love. I've been here for seven years (pre-kids.) My street is a cul-de-sac and very quiet. There's grassy areas to play, sidewalks, and the pool is right across the street. I love it here. I'm job hunting but I'd hate to work to far from my house.
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#8 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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We currently live in an apartment in a large complex and there are ups and downs.
We enjoy the pools a lot in the summer and there is a playground down the street where we often go to play, so that works out pretty well. Theoretically there are also a lot of other kids we could play with, but the thing I've noticed is that most people don't tend to go outside and we know very few of our neighbors.
The balcony isn't much of a problem; we put chicken wire on it so that my son can't squeeze through and a lot of people put black mesh around it.
The main downside is that the time we spend outside is basically wasted for me (aside from playing and excercising). I can't work in the garden or hang out laundry or do anything useful while we're outside because it's not my yard and I don't have a garden. That, for me, is the major downside. And of course the lack of my own washing machine.
But if the choice where an hour commute vs a 5 minute commute, I would pick the shorter commute. Driving that long gets old real fast...

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#9 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Personally, I hated living in an apartment with young children. Granted, the last one we lived in we were on the 2nd floor, it had a tiny balcony, and we had 4 children under the age of 6. Lets just say the people underneath us hated us, and probably thanked their lucky stars the day the moving truck pulled up.

Now, we moved to a new state - and DH does drive almost an hour when he goes into the office. For us, it's worth it to have a huge, 5 bedroom house with half an acre - if we lived close to his work we'd be in another apartment, a small townhome, or a house in a bad neighborhood.

I guess my advice would be that if you have to move into an apartment - try to get on the bottom floor (which is often hard to do - b/c no one wants to walk up stairs of ride an elevator several times a day), make friends with your neighbors in hopes that your children don't irritate the poo out of them, and expect noise yourself late at night (pounding bass at 3 am, fighting couples, etc.). Also, realize that other's habits will impact you - cigarette butts on the ground, smoke drifting through the walls - or windows if they smoke outside, their visitors may not be polite, etc.

I don't mean to sound so negative - but we've lived in 3 different complexes since having kids and I don't care how much money or time we saved, you couldn't get me to do it again.

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#10 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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I have the one hour commute and the apartment :-( Fortunately though most of the commute time is walking so I get my exercise and if I walk around the lake it's actually quite pleasant, especially coming home on a nice warm evening.

We actually have two apartments in the same apartment building due to the circumstances of it-is-what-it-is back in September when we moved. Living in the SF Bay Area though we really have no choice but to rent. Our apartment has pretty thick walls. I hear my neighbors through the floors sometimes (especially sex) but not through the walls much so I think that the sounds of our crying infant don't travel too far. Thankfully no one has complained yet. The combined rent I'm shelling out is insane and is a lot more than most mortgages would be. Even a mortgage on the half million dollar cardboard boxes they sell around here would be less than what I pay on two units so consolidating when our lease is up will be nice (we've been cohabbing most of this time anyway) so it would be nice to maybe rent a house, finding something with three bedrooms would be ideal.

Smoking hasn't been a problem. The neighbors that do smoke do so outside. If they smoke inside, I don't notice it in the common halls or in our units.

Noise isn't too much of a problem, but I've been in plenty of other apartments where it has.

The elevator and stairs aren't much of a problem either. The elevator breaks a lot, but we need exercise anyway.

I'm paying for a parking spot in the building garage, that's a big plus. Street parking isn't much fun.

We have a laundry room but the washers/dryers are awful. I'm often tempted to load up the car and go to a coin op down the street.

Our son is only a little over two months, so we don't have a toddler running around yet. The current apartment we're in is only temporary though. When the lease is up I think we're definitely looking to move to another place. We do like the neighborhood though, and would probably consider a 2BR in the same building if one opens up.

I don't find it very challenging living in an apartment with a newborn, it may get more challenging once he's older. But I've been living in apartments since the 80's so I'm rather acclimated ...

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#11 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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We live in an apartment because that's within our current financial means. We're saving towards a house, but in the meantime...
I like our apartment. It's roomy and in a nice neighborhood. And that's important, because we could afford to buy a house now, just not in a neighborhood I would feel safe in. I'm fine living in an apartment if it means I can take my dd out for a walk late at night without any worries.
If you're considering moving to an apartment, here's what I think is important to look for:
1. safe, clean neighborhood
2. washer/dryer in unit
3. some sort of outdoor area
4. locked building
And i don't know the rules about posting links to other sites, but there's a website called apartmentratings.com, where residents leave reviews of the complex. Because a complex can look nice to an outsider, but have hidden problems.
We live on the second floor, which I prefer. Third would be too many steps, but first I would just feel less safe. We have a pool that dd loved last summer, as well as a little play area and plenty of places to walk around. Also, the neighbor thing can be worked out, I feel. We have an apartment of college guys living directly underneath us, and they behaved like typical college guys the first night or two after they moved in. Then my husband went down and talked to them, and they've been completely fine since then (and that was almost a year ago). Some neighbors we know pretty well, some we don't.
Ultimately, I do think home ownership is best, but when that's not possible, I think there are ways to make apartment living enjoyable. You can always rent a community garden space.
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#12 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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Well, I'm a city girl, so I love apartment living! We're living in a house now (out in the 'burbs, for a temporary job), but we're desperately hoping to get back to a city apartment soon. I love having less space to clean, being able to live without a car, having a built-in community of kids for dd, feeling like our lives are less cluttered with stuff, having a super to fix anything broken instead of having to find, call, and pay for services, etc. Some apartment complexes have great amenities for kids--we have a few friends who live in buildings with communal playrooms, for instance.

Beyond that, our main things to look for would be:
1) safety: I much prefer to live on a higher floor vs. the ground floor for safety reasons. Ground floor apartments are far more likely to get broken into and are closer to street noise. I don't see what's inconvenient about taking the elevator many times a day--pretty much everyone in NYC does this! I don't even mind the stairs--good exercise! Awhile back, we lived in a three-story house and I'm sure I climbed the stairs far more times a day as I would have living in a walk-up apartment.
2) easy access to washer/dryer
3) walking distance to a park
4) easily accessible super
5) non-smoking building OR new ventilation system (we once lived in an older building and, because of the bizarre way the pipes/vents were set up, we had huge problems with smoke coming in from apartments that were on our line but many floors below--something I would never have even thought about).

I LOATHE commuting. Dh was just reading something in the paper this morning about consumer real estate patterns, and it said that people tend to overestimate how much space they'll really want and to underestimate how annoying a long commute will be--so that, statistically, people who choose space over proximity to work are less satisfied with their living situation.
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#13 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 08:48 PM
 
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Could you rent a house, duplex, or townhouse instead, maybe? Might be a nice compromise.

Have you seen the updated user agreement yet?
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#14 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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I live in an apartment too! We're just really not at the income level needed to buy a house in the metro Boston area. We'd have to move way out to the border of NH and I'm just not willing to do that. I hate driving on the highway for one.

However, apartment living doesn't have to mean complex living. I've always rented in homes. Our current is a two-unit, though not a duplex, just a divided house. It has a w/d in unit, which I agree is very needed. It's small and not that ideal for a child, but it will have to do for now.

I live about five miles from my job and close to things I need. This greatly reduces the gas bill for our one car family, along with preserving the health and well-being of our 12 year old car. Furthermore, we do not pay mortgage interest, property taxes (well we do through rent, but still) or upkeep costs associated with home ownership.

So my only advice is to seek private landlords renting out homes. You do have choices beyond the complex.
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#15 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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I agree with everything NYCVeg says above. We own our apartment (in a co-op building in NYC). DD has known nothing else. I can't really comment on commutes because it still takes me an hour to commute (by the time DD and I take the subway to her school and then I get back on the the subway to work). The co-op deals with our maintenance (except for interior apartment stuff) and we have a building laundry room. I love it for the fact that DH and I don't have to spend any extraneous time on house maintenance. It also helps us to consume less stuff. I guess I'm really biased. I wouldn't have it any other way at the present time. Plus, we don't really have much choice since a great portion of real estate in NYC is comprised of apartments! We do a lot of outdoors stuff (walking and parks and biking) in order to maintain our sanity.

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#16 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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I'd choose the apartment. Nothing beats a five minute commute.
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#17 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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Oh my, I just realized that's 2 hours total commute time daily. No way I'd do that. I've done it in the past and it sucked big time. Also, I always thought it was risky to spend that much time on the road daily.


Quote:
Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
What's your experience been living in an apartment with young children? What are the things to look for in an apartment complex when you're living with kids? What are the hard parts?
Would you pick between an hour commute twice daily and a big house/yard or a five minute commute and an apartment?

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#18 of 60 Old 04-01-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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i would definitely pick the short commute and apt over the 2 hrs a day driving. we've done that, nooooo fun. gas is expensive, also.
I would try to get ground floor if you can find it, for safety, for ease (no hauling loads of groceries up flights of stairs),and no worrying about driving the people under you nuts when the kids are playing. been there done that, would *not* do it again.

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#19 of 60 Old 04-02-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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We lived in different apartments with kids for a long time and I loved it. I almost wish we didn't have a house now except that I would miss the yard.
The advantages are many in my opinion.
Maintenance is a huge one! Anytime anything went wrong we had someone to call and fix it.
I liked the big complex we lived in the most. It was a good neighborhood, lots of townhouses and 1/2 bedroom apts. We had a town house and it was 3 bedrooms 2 baths 2 floors. Fenced in yard.
There were sidewalks everywhere and lots of green space in between all the groups of apts. So...lots of kids, sidewalks for chalk and riding bikes, etc...plus the grass and 2 little playgrounds. Everyone sat out in the front and talked while the kids were playing. Stores in walking distance and an industrial park nearby where a lot of people worked in different businesses.
lol, I guess I miss it!
I had no problems with little kids in the walk up apts we had either. I love being in a city and able to walk instead of drive.

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#20 of 60 Old 04-02-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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We've moved a lot for DH's and I think we've had every possible living arrangment. As far as what to look for in an apartment, I'll build on this post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post
I much prefer to live on a higher floor vs. the ground floor for safety reasons. Ground floor apartments are far more likely to get broken into and are closer to street noise. I don't see what's inconvenient about taking the elevator many times a day--pretty much everyone in NYC does this!
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.

Some apartments have patios that open to a common green area -- very nice with small children!

Quote:
2) easy access to washer/dryer
3) walking distance to a park
These are my top two. I would not choose to live without a full size washer and dryer in my home. Walking distance to a park is GREAT with kids, esp, if you don't have your own yard.

I'd add Good, Close, Safe Parking to the list.

A commute that take 60 minutes on a good day will take longer other days because of wrecks and weather and road construction. It will cost more money in gas and car maintence, and gas prices can spike at all time. If you are comparing buying a home to renting an apartment, be sure and factor in totally random expensives, like the heater going out. Stuff happens.

On the other hand, car insurance rates are partly based on your zip code, and the house in the burbs might be far less expensive for insurance than living in town (esp. if you are comparing renting vs buying).

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#21 of 60 Old 04-02-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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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.

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#22 of 60 Old 04-02-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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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!
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#23 of 60 Old 04-02-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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Quote:
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?
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#24 of 60 Old 04-03-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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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.
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#25 of 60 Old 04-03-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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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.
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#26 of 60 Old 04-05-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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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.

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#27 of 60 Old 04-05-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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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!

mama to DS1 (July 07) and DS2 to debut this summer!
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#28 of 60 Old 04-05-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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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.

Mom to DS 5/05 and DD 9/08
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#29 of 60 Old 04-06-2010, 05:47 AM
 
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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

Mothering my 4yo DS and 1yo DD
I knit : I sew : I read : I craft : and I very occasionally and irregularly blog
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#30 of 60 Old 04-06-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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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.

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