Mothering Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the market to rent a new home for myself, DS10 and hopefully eventually a small dog. I'm trying to pick the right place The top two contenders are as follows: The two are about 8 blocks apart in what I'd describe as a moderately safe urban neighborhood.

Option 1: Good sized 2 bedroom apartment. Security doors that require a keycard to get in. Apartment is right across the street from the subway station (eventually he'll take that to and from school), and is on a well lit street with stores and restaurants, that's usually got a fair amount of foot traffic day and night. Apartment is very new and shiny -- 2 bedrooms, 2 baths (I like that!). No washer/dryer, but there's one in the building. There's an interior courtyard where he could take the dog or play, probably without me needing to go with him. Parking is about 2 blocks away, eventually we'd get a closer spot but there's a waiting list.

Option 2: 2 bedroom 1 bath one story house -- about the same size as the apartment but cut up into smaller rooms (e.g. has dining room and sun porch, while the apartment is one big great room). Has big back yard (nice with an active kid and a dog), and parking right out front. Has our own washer/dryer (I'd love that!). Parking would be close, but still on the street. Street is houses on one wall, busy street, and then a privacy/noise barrier type wall on the other side. Very limited foot traffic on the street. About an 8 block walk to the metro. House is older, not as crisp/clean as the apartment.

At first I was thrilled at the possibility of a house, with a real yard for him to play in and my own washer/dryer. But now, I'm starting to worry -- do I really want him walking 8 blocks from the metro, even in daylight? Do I want him to have a bedroom window on the main floor where someone could break in (actually all doors/windows in the house have bars)? Do I want him alone in a house afterschool (not right away but in a couple of short years) where there's noone in screaming distance?

What I can't tell is if these are reasonable fears, of if they're based on the fact that I'm moving from an apartment in a more urban neighborhood and what's familiar is what seems safe.

Which would you choose?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Tough choice. I like the house, but I don't like the big wall thing -- does that mean you a are near a highway? Houses tend to be more private and less noisy than apts, but not always if your neighbors are close.

A clean, well-maintained apt. building sounds good.

How's the natural light in both places? For me that is a critical thing -- needs to be bright.

Beyond that I am a visual person and really couldn't advise you.

It doesn't need to be a permanent choice, either way, because you are only renting.

M
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I haven't actually seen inside either one. In the apartment building I've been inside a couple of units in the building, but decided that none of them were exactly what I wanted. A couple were "one bedroom plus den" and the den really wasn't a realistic bedroom. The other was still small, and it faced the courtyard, and was on the ground level which made it really dark, even with a lot of windows. This unit is the biggest in the building, and is on the top floor so it should get good natural light. The other apartments on the upper floors get great natural light.

As for the house -- it's weird. It's a pretty busy street, but definitely not a highway. One side of the street is houses. Then the walls on the other side -- it's like the wall for a highway but it's not that high -- maybe one story high. Behind it are the backs of houses that face another street. I guess the reason why the wall bothers me is that it means half as many houses are facing the street, so if something happens there's half as many witnesses -- it makes it feel kind of isolated even though it's in the middle of an urban area. Also, if something happened there's only one way to go -- you can't run across the street and go down a sides street.

The two are kind of prototypes -- basically I can find a small older house in a residential neighborhood, or an apartment with similar floor space that's close to public transportation and in a better lit place with more people around. I can't tell if my preference for the latter is irrational (e.g. I feel safer around stores etc . . . because that's what I'm used to)

I know I can move, but this will be our 4th move in 4 years and I'm really kind of done. I'd like to find someplace to stay for a long time. If it were just for a year I think I'd choose the house, but when I think of DS coming home by himself I lean towards the apartment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
I'd go for the apartment..Just sounds better from the way you describe. Plus with the train that close and the shops. Top floor would be great less noise from above etc. I totally agree with feeling safer with more people around etc. I live in KS now and feel less safe then I did in Boston. Might just be us not sure...lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,340 Posts
I'm in sort of a similar situation, in that I'm looking to move in the next few months... and I'd rather rent a house. I currently live in an apartment and while it's great, having a backyard is wonderful. I have similar concerns in that a house is more isolated and I have fears of bad things happening and not having so many people around. I've also decided to get a dog for this reason. But if these are just prototypes, so to speak, it seems if that wall wasn't there the house would look a lot more appealing to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,942 Posts
the best thing about an apartment is that most in bigger buildings they have 24hour maintnance and that is a plus and most also have generators. I live in a n area where it wouldn't be uncommon to loose power once a year or even twice so that would be a plus. But if your at the point where you want YOUR space I would go for the house! I wish I could rent my own house but for right now I pay my mother rent
it's a huge house so we all have our own space


Also the best is to do what you and your Dc feels is right and safest for you maybe you guys could go look at them both together and choose together he is old enough to really have a sound opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,405 Posts
For me, I prefer houses, and having a yard for my kids and pets is key, so I was ecstatic to move out of our apartment, but I also knew the neighborhood I was moving to since it's where I grew up. The street where your new house is could be awesome. the neighbors might be amazing and watchful, or they could all keep to themselves and not talk to newbies.

I think given your comfort zone, and the fact that the metro station is across the street, the apartment sounds like a better match for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
I am also used to apartments and busy streets. I moved a few months ago to the first floor and basement of a duplex with a yard and a driveway(a huge plus). Essentially, it is a lot like the house you describe, except with neighbours on top. It is on a quiet street and a few blocks from any bigger streets.

It took me several weeks before feeling comfortable with my daughter sleeping in her bedroom. I just kept thinking about the fact that we are on the first floor and all the potential dangers. It really drove me mad.

Now, a few months later, I am much more relaxed about it. I have met most of the neighbours and that makes it feel a lot safer. I still refused to put curtains that could look like a kid's bedroom from the outside and will be getting a baby monitor as soon as I finish setting up the basement living room so I can hang out there without worrying about what is going on upstairs.

Anyhow, my point is that I completely understand how you feel. I think that, for me, after an adaption phase, it is much better to be living here than in an apartment at this point. There is just something about my daughter playing in the yard while I watch from the kitchen window that really makes it worth it. (For me there is also the infinite relief of no longer having to look for parking and get tickets if I forget to change sides on the appropriate days that really makes my life so much better.)

On the other side, 8 blocks does seem a bit far. How big are those 8 blocks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,890 Posts
I think it is best to really spend sometime thinking about what living set up that feels like home for you and your daughter. Even if you are in a rental of any type it is better to feel like it is your home and not simply a place you will pass the time.

From a safety perspective I would say get to know your neighbors in any set up and remember not all neighbors will be "safe"...... you need to know them and know the community to be able to separate the good from the bad and to teach that to your child.

Personally my idea situation if I were to rent (or purchase) would be an upscale townhouse. Love that I would have neighbors but more privacy than an apartment and generally less parking hassle because townhouses generally have less units than apartments. Most of the residents would own so they would have a vested interested in taking care of the property (including the neighbors --- after all it does not help their property value if something drastic took place). So if dd & I remain a family of two the future (pending finances) holds a townhouse, a small dog and plenty of park days ahead.

Have you considered townhouses?

Also what struck me as the most unsafe item in your post was a young child taking public transit in a busy area all alone.... I am not sure I would be OK with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by LoveOhm View Post
Have you considered townhouses?.
Actually (see my next post) I think the house I'm going to end up with is a rowhouse, which is kind of similar.

Townhouses themselves aren't really an option here. I have to stay in the city limits to keep him in the charter school he loves. Although there are some townhouses they're more expensive than older rowhomes and cottages, and outside of my budget.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LoveOhm View Post
Also what struck me as the most unsafe item in your post was a young child taking public transit in a busy area all alone.... I am not sure I would be OK with that.
Just to be clear I'm not talking about a "young child" taking public transportation alone. I'm talking about a middle schooler. I live in a city with no school buses, except for kids with significant levels of IEP services. Most middle schools in our area don't have aftercare -- you can stay somewhat late for things like play practice, or drumline or soccer, but none of these things are 5 days a week, so there will be times he'd be coming home on the bus or subway, along with friends and classmates doing the same thing.

No, he's not ready for this now, but I'm not planning on moving again any time soon -- I want a place we can stay for a minimum of 3 or 4 years. Since middle school is a year and a half away, it makes sense for me to factor that into my decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone for all your thoughts.

I think we might end up with a 3rd option. I went to look at the house I described above and it's not for us. It was absolutely adorable, but the bedroom windows are right on the street which would make me nervous except that there's unopenable bars on them -- which makes me even more nervous from a fire hazard perspective. The yard was gorgeous but full of beautiful ornamental plants. The owner was obviously very proud of her beautiful garden (rightly so) and was planning on coming in regularly to do the upkeep herself. I would constantly be worried about my son or my dog trampling some precious plant.

But, I found a cute little rowhouse that I think might work. It's tiny, 3 tiny bedrooms up, a little living and a little dining room, but it has a semi-finished basement, and it's own garage (do you know how nice it will be not to have hockey gear, and bicycles stored in the living room?), a washer/dryer and a postage stamp sized fenced in backyard.

The block it's on is really cute and well taken care of, the overall neighborhood is nice, and moderately safe. The bus to and from DS's school is about a 1/4 of a mile away, but it's all residential streets -- it didn't feel isolated the way the other one did.

I asked DS what he wanted the most and he said 1) someplace that allows dogs and 2) FloorS (that's how he said it). He's at an age where privacy is important and the idea of heading down to the basement with a friend to play out of earshot of mom is very tempting. My list is a washer/dryer, close by parking, and a 3rd bedroom in case I ever get my act together enough to do foster care. This place has all those things.

So, I'll submit the application when the office opens on Monday and keep my fingers crossed. My income and credit should be fine, I just hope noone else got there first with an application.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,542 Posts
I would go with the apartment, and get a cat instead of a dog (and I am not a cat person... but they make more sense in apts I think).

I think by the time your son is 12-14, having a yard is less important. He will go with his friends to hang out at a park or something, not swing in the backyard.

The maintenance free aspect of the apt. is big too.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top