Friday, 19 February 2010
Apartments, One Man's Dream Is Another's Nightmare
Apartments. Usually somebody's first home after getting married. Can't really say they're relatively cheap anymore. Depending on where you live, apartments can run you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars a month.
So what does one do when looking for an apartment? Believe it or not, there are many different types, styles, and pay plans involved. We'll try to cover the basic types in this article and what you can expect to find with each.
Starting off small there is your basic studio apartment. A studio apartment is usually 1 room with a kitchen and bath. Let's first off define what a room is when getting an apartment. A room is any room other than your kitchen and bath. Bathrooms do not count as rooms at all because they are required by law. Kitchens are a little different. Most walk in kitchens are considered a half a room. If the kitchen is simply an area in the apartment that is not cut off from the other rooms then it is not counted as a room. So a studio 1 room would have a kitchen area that's part of the 1 room, meaning it probably comes with just a refrigerator and a stove and sink. A studio 1 1/2 room would have a kitchen that is actually separated from the rest of the apartment by a wall and has a doorway. Most studio apartments are 1 room.
Studio apartments, contrary to what most people think, are not cheap. A studio in New York City can cost you $1000 a month. In some areas you can get a studio for about $500.
Then there are your basic apartments that are normally 3 or 4 rooms.
A three room apartment has a living room, dining area and 1 bedroom. Again, the difference between a 3 and a 3 1/2 room is the kitchen being either part of one of the rooms or cut off.
A four room apartment usually has a living room, dining area and 2 bedrooms. If a family needs a third bedroom the dining area is usually converted. The problem with dining areas is that they don't normally have doors to separate them from the other rooms. So to ensure privacy some kind of sliding door is usually installed. Actually most 4 room apartments, because of the extra room are really 4 1/2 rooms because in almost all cases the kitchen is cut off from the other rooms.
In apartments there is seldom a basement. Most apartments are assigned a basement area in a main basement used for the entire complex. In some cases each apartment section or group of apartments has a basement nearby.
Aside from the number of rooms there is also the issue of layout. Most apartments are single level, meaning all the rooms are on one floor. But in some cases there are apartment complexes that are what they call duplexes. These are two apartments side by side in each complex and each apartment is two floors as opposed to the 4 apartment complexes where each apartment is on a single level. In two level apartments the living room and dining area are usually downstairs with the bedrooms upstairs. Most two level apartments are 4 1/2 rooms.
Then there is the issue of what services come with the apartment and what services have to be paid for separately.
In some apartments your gas and electricity and water utilities are included in the cost of the rent. In other apartments only the water is paid for and your gas and electric are paid to your local public service company. Some apartments don't cover any of your costs. So when you get an apartment make sure you find out just what your rent covers. The reason for this is that an apartment for $900 a month with all utilities paid may actually be a better deal than an apartment for $750 a month if the latter apartment doesn't include any utilities at all.
Finally, in securing an apartment many require a security deposit equal to the rent of the apartment. Some require one month security and some require two months. This is paid back to you when your lease expires if you decide to leave. Breaking a lease will usually mean forfeiture of your deposit.
Which brings us to apartment rules. This is why there is nothing like owning your own home. Most apartments allow no pets. Playing music after a certain hour will bring complaints from your neighbors. The list goes on and on but I'm sure you get the point. Your freedom to do what you want in an apartment is limited.
Some people love the idea of not having to worry about repairs, as the super usually takes care of that, and live in apartments their whole life. Others can't wait until they can get into their own home. That's the wonderful thing about this world. One man's dream is another man's nightmare.