Author Topic: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?  (Read 3734 times)

cakie

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Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« on: January 04, 2015, 12:08:56 AM »
My SO and I are in the process of finding a new place to live. Our discussions have brought up some interesting points about what aspects to an apartment we value, ie. are willing to pay more for.

Although this is a LCOL area, even small differences in rental price add up to a lot over time! How do you personally judge if something is worthwhile?

We have settled on a small area which has good walk- and bike-ability. Since people in this area value size, 2br apartments with amazing views of the ocean are cheaper than small houses away from the water. Good for us! We would get a 1br if we could, but they don't seem to exist :P

The 'low end' of this small market are units for $190/week. However, all these blocks face east/west. Our favourite spot has both a block of east facing and a block of south facing next to each other. But the apartment we are looking at in the south facing block is $230/week, a difference of $170/month or $2000/year!

We are in a warm climate, so being able to avoid the hot sun and get better access to cool ocean breezes is pretty important to us. Although the apartment is also cosmetically much nicer than others in the area, this is not something either of us want to pay a premium for (not important to us - even if we had to spend the money, I'd rather use it on an extra holiday every year!)

Are we being silly thinking of paying extra for the solar orientation when we can get an apartment cheaper next door? Are we just trying to justify getting a nicer apartment than we need? It's basically what we would both consider the 'perfect' place, like the ultimate retirement spot...but we're not close to FI :P

former player

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 02:02:54 AM »
How long will you be staying in this place?  I'm guessing there is a good reason why south-facing (in a hot southern hemisphere climate) costs more to rent: more comfortable for less running cost.

When renting I prioritised physical safety (single woman, needed to feel safe with room mates and walking home alone in the evenings) and mental sanity (no unbearable noise in my place of sanctuary from the world).  Other than that I lived in some pretty crappy flats and houses.  From my experience I'd say that you can put up with things while you are young and building your stash that would be a lot harder to put up with later in life.  In your case I might add that your "place of safety" might include having a place where your relationship can flourish, whatever that might be.

deborah

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 03:19:20 AM »
When I lived in a flat in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, I never needed to use a heater because the other flats in the building heated my flat up. The flat faced North, and got hot in summer because it wasn't facing the sea breeze, and it was on the top floor. If your apartment has other apartments above it, you probably won't have problems, as everyone else will be cooling down their apartments and cold air falls. East only gets early sun - West is the worst aspect because it gets the afternoon sun after everything has heated up.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 05:08:29 AM »
I guess you need to consider if it's important to you. As you've said it is important to you, it'd be more comfortable (and probably cheaper to keep cool if there is aircon). What's more, as a renter, if you wish, you can move to another cheaper apartment upon the end of your lease. Honestly I'd probably go for the nicer one. Mustachianism is about considering your spending and spending on what you value, not just spending as little as possible. :)

For me, I value a walkable area that has nearby public transport (as I prefer to take the tram or train rather than drive to work). Additional things I value in a place are lots of trees nearby, walking distance to a supermarket, a clean, modern kitchen (I'm fussy about the kitchen), and a small private outdoor area. Floorboards rather than carpet are a plus as well.

I was looking for an apartment a few months ago, and found one with all of the above (although most of the place is carpeted). It was only $40 a week more than another place I saw, which was older (and slightly larger), had a ratty bathroom, original kitchen (probably from the 1950s-60s), holes in the cupboards, and no outdoor area. I think it is $40 well spent.

When I lived in a flat in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, I never needed to use a heater because the other flats in the building heated my flat up. The flat faced North, and got hot in summer because it wasn't facing the sea breeze, and it was on the top floor. If your apartment has other apartments above it, you probably won't have problems, as everyone else will be cooling down their apartments and cold air falls. East only gets early sun - West is the worst aspect because it gets the afternoon sun after everything has heated up.

I can vouch for that. One unit I was in had most of it facing west with little shade (no eaves either). It wasn't too bad in the winter, but it was baking hot in summer. Combine that with large west-facing windows, no aircon and a 40 degree day, no thanks.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2015, 06:16:24 AM »
I think it depends largely on what your long-term plan is and how long you think you'll be in the apartment. For our first apartment, my husband and I selected the cheapest unit we could find that was in our desired neighborhood. We could've spent less had we gone to a less safe/less transit accessible part of the city, but we didn't want to.

We went with a super cheap, small, somewhat dingy basement apartment (cheaper than being above ground) because we knew we weren't going to live there forever. It was fine for the 3 years we were there and the low rent enabled us to save a lot.

I think you have to weigh what's most important to you for your quality of life--also, $2,000/year isn't a huge price to pay for happiness. But, you said you'd prefer to travel more and $2,000 could = several vacations. Good luck and you'll have to let us know what you decide!

TerriM

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 08:50:10 AM »
Most important thing in rentals to me are the same as buying a house:
1.  Good location
2.  Good neighbors
3.  Quiet neighborhood
4.  My own off-street parking spot(s)
5.  Sufficient square footage
6.  The right number of bathrooms (really this is very high on the list)
7.  3-prong plugs
8. Good kitchen layout
9.  THE LANDLORDS and their RULES.  If you can't agree with their rules, don't rent there.  And be careful with a property management company to get all rules, even those regarding parking in the driveway, use of the garage for storage, and being able to garden in back IN WRITING.  We were "lied" to on the way in--maybe a mistake on one agents part--but it has been very hard on us, and we didn't get things in writing.  If we'd talked straight to the landlord, I'm sure we'd have gotten more accurate information on the rules we had to abide by.

MBot

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 11:01:39 AM »
Location can matter in some senses and not others. So can "good neighbourhood."

Proximity (walkability, close to grocery store) won out over "wealthier/lower crime area" for our last rental.

We avoided the worst areas for crime and violence and drugs, but we still picked a less-than-desirable neighbourhood. The stats said there was more car theft, schools weren't great and there were some drugs. Low violent crime though, lower arson/fire rates than the worst neighbourhoods, and good landlord. With no car, no kids, we saved $300-$400 a month over any other area.

That let us get what was important to us - walkable area, extra bedroom for roomate, good landlord, wood floors, good heating system, no pests (which is hard to find in anything cheap in that city), great neighbours.

When we went to buy, we valued walkability and good school districts and low crime. But for renting, realizing some aspects of a "good area" didn't matter to us saved us a lot of dough.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2015, 11:16:30 AM »
Walkability/bikeability, quiet, price.

cakie

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2015, 02:53:27 AM »
Thanks for replying everyone! I really enjoyed reading all the interesting comments.

When I lived in a flat in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, I never needed to use a heater because the other flats in the building heated my flat up. The flat faced North, and got hot in summer because it wasn't facing the sea breeze, and it was on the top floor. If your apartment has other apartments above it, you probably won't have problems, as everyone else will be cooling down their apartments and cold air falls. East only gets early sun - West is the worst aspect because it gets the afternoon sun after everything has heated up.

I'd never considered this before - but it makes sense. I would have preferred a top floor place, to avoid the stomping from above, but not if it will cost more to cool :P

8. Good kitchen layout
9.  THE LANDLORDS and their RULES. 

I really liked your list, and these last two are something I forget to consider, even though they are important to me...


Good news: another apartment in the south block is up for lease! and they only want $215/week! not much info available, so i don't know which floor it is on or anything.

cakie

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Re: Choosing a place to rent - what aspects do you value?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 11:49:56 PM »
Good news: another apartment in the south block is up for lease! and they only want $215/week! not much info available, so i don't know which floor it is on or anything.

They've dropped the price to $200/week :D Looks like this will be the place!