Choosing to live in an apartment has its perks, such as not paying property tax and the security that comes with close neighbors. However, it is not all a bed of roses and you might consider getting a house of your own.
If you are thinking about living in an apartment, you need to be well prepared for some of the problems you are likely to face. This will make it possible for you to brainstorm possible solutions.
This article looks at some of the reasons why an apartment can be considered a bad living arrangement together with a couple of solutions to these roadblocks.
Problems that come with living in an apartment
Here are a couple of hurdles you might encounter if you choose the apartment life.
1. Say goodbye to your privacy
Sharing a building with tens of other tenants means you have little to no privacy as you go about your business. If you ever get a frequent visitor, the chances of your neighbors noticing and talking about it are not so slim. You might also get a nosy and gossiping neighbor who will take any chance to air out your dirty laundry.
If the walls of your apartment are too thin, your neighbors might listen in on your phone calls and conversation whether they want to or not. In some buildings, the windows to apartments face each other. To prevent your neighbor from looking into your house, you might have to keep your blinds shut, even when you want to let in some natural light.
As you move into an apartment, you can’t guess who your neighbors are. You could get a twenty-year-old party animal for your upstairs neighbor, a family with a baby, or a neighbor with dogs.
If your apartment is not soundproof, the noise can keep you up until the wee hours. When it comes to children and pets, there is little you can do to contain the noise. However, if your neighbor loves to play the drums or party late, there are a couple of steps you can take to make your apartment more soundproof. This will solve both the noise problem and the privacy problem.
A. Fill up space
Having more items in your house will help to absorb the sound. Where you place your furniture also has an impact on making your apartment more soundproof. If you share a wall with a noisy neighbor, for example, placing a bookshelf or a dresser on the said wall makes it more soundproof.
Using carpets can also help minimize the amount of sound that travels from the unit below yours. They are also useful in canceling some of the noise that you might cause to your neighbors by footsteps and pets.
C. Take care of the windows
The windows largely contribute to letting sound in and out of the apartment unit. You should consider investing in a set of heavy drapes and curtains. Not only will they block some of the noise from coming in, but they also keep your house private from any neighbors that may look into your house from their windows.
If you go for drapes made with an insulating material, you can also get to seal some air conditioning in, especially if your apartment hasn’t been made fully airtight.
There is also the option of speaking to your landlord about the windows and asking that they be replaced with thicker glass panes. This alternative is a far stretch, but it’s worth a try.
D. Use some sleeping aids
If you don’t seem to find a working solution, you might want to get some sleeping aids. You could play some white noise from your phone or a small speaker to nurse you to sleep. Noise-canceling headphones can also protect you from your bass-playing neighbor. Another thing you could do to get a peaceful night of rest before a busy day is to get some earplugs. Not only are they an extremely affordable option, but they are also really easy to find as they are available in most drugstores.
E. Ask politely
If bad comes to worse and all these methods of soundproofing do not seem to work, it might be time to face the problem head-on. Approach the said neighbor and kindly ask if they could keep it down. Do not leave a note under their door or in their mailbox. If this does not assist, you could record them in their noisy element and play it to them so that they can understand the magnitude of the situation. This could be the end to your noise problem, or not.
If your noisy neighbor still refuses to turn down the noise, you might have no other option but to talk to your landlord about it so that they can deal with the problem.
3. You have no control
Renting an apartment means you don’t have full ownership of the house. Some lease agreements also give the building manager rights to enter and look through your apartment. This invalidates your privacy, but once you sign the lease, that ship has sailed.
There are a couple of rules that will be specified in the lease about changing the appearance of the house. Some apartments have rules against new paint jobs, wallpaper, putting up shelves, and drilling screws into the walls. This makes it harder to make a new apartment feel like home.
As you revamp your apartment, Remember that if you make any changes that might cause damage to the apartment can cost you your security deposit.
However, there are some options you can choose to help you make your apartment reflect your personality. If your lease restricts you from re-painting your house, you could have a hat with your building manager and they might allow you to repaint the unit, with colors that they will have to approve, of course. In some cases, your landlord might provide the paint and anything else you might need.
Another alternative is the temporary wallpaper. This is a nice way to get rid of dull and bland walls or paint colors you don’t like. When your lease is up, you can take out the wallpaper and leave the unit as you found it.
You can also employ some low-risk methods of personalizing your apartment. Try adding a rug and a couple of conversation starter pieces. You can also hang up some pictures and paintings but instead of hammering nails into the wall, use stick-on hooks. A con of these hooks is that they can only support lightweight pieces.
You can also change up some light fixtures and cabinet knobs and handles. Do this by taking out the overhead fixtures and replacing them with some table lamps and string lights. If you make these changes, ensure you safely keep all the originals so that when it’s time for you to move, you can simply restore the apartment to its initial state.
4. Slow repairs
As a renter, the maintenance of the unit’s essentials and appliances is not your responsibility, compared to when you own a house.
Although this makes living in an apartment less demanding, it also means that the situation you have at hand will be sorted out when your landlord has the time. This won’t always be immediate, given that the landlord has tens of other houses to take care of. However, if the problem at hand puts your safety or health at risk, your building manager will deal with it as soon as possible.
Most apartments have a general procedure to follow once you realize that something is not right:
- Tell your landlord what the problem is. In some lease agreements, the expected response time for specific emergencies and repairs is written.
- Wait for some time. If the issue does not greatly inconvenience you, you can liaise with the landlord and agree on a time that works for them.
- If you feel like you have waited for too long, the landlord is unresponsive, or the problem needs to be fixed right away, you can seek the services of a repairman and ask the landlord to refund you the cost incurred, provided you show proper documentation like the bill.
When it comes to repairs in your apartment unit, here are a few things you should also keep in mind:
- If you choose to do the repairs by yourself without consulting a professional, please ensure you know what you are doing. You can do this by attending a handyman class, reading a workshop book, or searching for solutions on the internet. Also, before you go about the repairs, take a look at your lease and ensure that fixing the issue does not put you in violation of your agreement.
- Ensure you give your landlord enough time to handle the repairs because if you get someone else to do it too early, you may be in breach of your lease, and this can put you in danger of eviction.
5. Limited space
Compared to the average house size, the average apartment is considerably smaller. If you are living with a roommate or your family, space could get cramped fast. Although having a small space sounds nice since it is easier to clean, it can quickly feel like an inconvenience, especially when you need to host a group of friends. Due to some of the lease restrictions, you will also be unable to make extensions to the house, for example tearing down walls.
The restricted space also makes it impossible for you to have too much stuff. You might have to keep some of your appliances and furniture in a storage unit or with a friend since they fill up the house. This means you might have to adopt a minimalist lifestyle whether you want to or not.
The kitchens in apartments are considerably small. This will make meal preparations more difficult, and you won’t be able to enlist help since only one person can comfortably work in the kitchen.
A storage unit might be your best option for creating space in your house. However, the charges might take a financial toll on you.
Outdoor space can also pose a challenge. Apart from your house balcony, you might have no other private space outside the house. Some apartment buildings have a rooftop which can be a nice place to relax, but most of the time access to this space is usually restricted. If you are lucky, your building will have a lawn area but this will be a shared space for all tenants and their pets. This can be a big disadvantage for people with children since they need a place to play close to home. You might need to look for a nearby public park.
6. Problems with parking
If you own a car, parking should be a priority for you. Most apartment buildings offer parking for their tenants but if your building is old, it means it was built in a time where not many people had cars. This means you will most likely have to look for a new parking alternative. In addition to rent, you will have to pay parking costs.
Some buildings give assigned parking space to each apartment unit but there is no assurance that you will always find your spot empty. Your neighbor might have a guest park there and sometimes, they might just choose to inconvenience you since your spot is closer to the main gate.
7. No ownership perks
When you buy a house, it tends to increase in value, depending on how well you take care of it. This gives the homeowner some equity, which can be valuable. Living in an apartment for years will not make you any profit regardless of how well you take care of the unit.
Buying a house also means you pay property tax. Although this may seem like an added expense, owning a home makes it possible for you to claim tax deductions. Paying rent doesn’t give you any ownership of the unit so you won’t have your rent deducted from your tax.
Although living in an apartment has its problems, most of them have loopholes that you can go around. Before you shut off the idea of living in an apartment, try to weigh the pros and cons of each living option, and find what works for your current lifestyle.