Author Topic: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?  (Read 1652 times)

MrMoneySaver

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How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« on: December 11, 2020, 05:17:07 PM »
I am a single dad with 50/50 custody. I need a two-bedroom place in a lowish COL area. But decent two-bedrooms are about $1,400 and up if they're in a decent school district.  That is doable, I guess, but will put a crimp on my savings.

Any ideas? Complexes are a bit cheaper than houses, but not that much. Are they an OK environment for children?

I hope to buy a house after a year or so, but I don't know the area all that well yet.

Green_Tea

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2020, 03:53:47 AM »
Complexes are a bit cheaper than houses, but not that much. Are they an OK environment for children?

Hello Mr Money saver,

I feel I can contribute to this by my experience. Up till age 14 I grew up in subsidized housing (as both my parents come from low income parents without any financial support and they had just finished university when they had me so they qualified).
It was the best environment:
In every complex there was a family/families with kids around our age so it was actually GREAT growing up with all these children and friends nearby! Many more families in proximity in these complexes than could ever be in spread out SFH areas! So much more independence for us kids.
The others were people with low income/social security, and some of those did have problems like divorced from a violent marriage, 2 alcoholic elder people in my complex. I think this showed us what the real world can be like and taught us some important lessons and compassion.
We moved SO freely on our own from house to house, friend to friend, playground to playground and in the environment from a VERY small age (don't know the age of your children?) in that safe environment (it was very low crime), it was really great! And we never ever had any problems. Many people also means many eyes on the kids.
So to summarize in my case it was a real blessing growing up there and I would encourage you to look out for what the environment means for your children (considering age).
Also note that to my parents it didn't seem nearly as great as for us children (thin walls? outdated bathroom? much effort to avoid mold in bathroom? small kitchen? what child cares? ;)), so try and look through their eyes if you wish to find out what it will mean to them :)

Good luck!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 04:04:10 AM by Green_Tea »

former player

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2020, 06:50:28 AM »
How old is the kid?  Do they really need a separate bedroom?  If they do, can one or other of you have a sofa bed in the sitting room?  Or out a twin/day bed behind a screen?

Do both parents need to be in the "decent school district" or will just one do?  If you don't have to be in the good school district are there any cheaper adjoining areas you can live in?

If there is no reasonable way around a two bedroom place in the decent school district then I would say either a complex or a higher rent is going to be doable, given that it is only for a year.  I would second what Green_Tea says about a complex.  Complexes can have very different atmospheres depending on who lives there (for instance, are there young families or mostly older people whose families have grown and gone: either can have benefits) so the thing to do is to check out the complex as well as the apartment: a bit of time spent there early morning and when schools get out will tell you a lot.

MrMoneySaver

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2020, 08:22:31 AM »
I have two girls who will very soon be teenagers. So I worry about who will be around. The complex is a large generic suburban one, and there's a gate and keycard system to enter the parking lot. I saw some younger people around in their 20s probably.

I'd probably save about $150 a month with the complex vs. the house.

Green_Tea, thanks for sharing your experience. Can I ask if you're male or female? I'd worry less if I had boys.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 08:50:55 AM by MrMoneySaver »

SunnyDays

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2020, 10:19:05 AM »
In my opinion, $150 a month is not worth worrying over.  Get a house if that will make you sleep better at night.

GoCubsGo

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2020, 01:45:26 PM »
I'd agree about $150 a month not being a bad tradeoff.  I assume you were living in a house before the divorce?  Life is changing enough for you and your kids, I wouldn't want to have to add living with potentially loud neighbors or have to deal with cooking/smoking smells. Check out a rent/own calculator, you may want to rent a house for awhile. It may even make sense over buying for a few years especially if you want to get used to the area and really study it before buying.  Are the houses decent for your price range (well kept, nice neighborhood, etc.)?

MrMoneySaver

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2020, 08:43:51 AM »
How old is the kid?  Do they really need a separate bedroom?  If they do, can one or other of you have a sofa bed in the sitting room?  Or out a twin/day bed behind a screen?

Actually I would do this, but I have two girls right at middle school age. Given that moving will already be enough of a shock to the system, I would hate to stress them more with cramped conditions. And getting by with one bathroom would not be much fun.

jrhampt

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2020, 09:34:55 AM »
I also grew up in subsidized housing and my experience was similar to Green Tea's (and I am female).  We also shared bedrooms and had one bathroom for 5 kids - it's ok to do this if you need to.  An extra bathroom is nice to have, though.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2020, 12:35:29 PM »
Living in an apartment - especially a well-maintained gated complex - isn't going to harm your girls.  You can see if the city or county has stats on the crime rates in the area and check the sex offender registry to make sure there isn't any reason to fear.

This first home after divorce is going to be temporary.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  You and your girls are forging a new life together.  They need to see that you value them, that you will be there for them, and that dad's place is a home - their home - no matter what or where it is.

Moonwaves

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2020, 01:13:09 AM »
At that age, they are probably old enough to have an opinion. What do they think about it? (assuming here that you have a decent relationship with your daughters and can talk about things like this without it developing into a major drama)

For the sake of a non-US person: what exactly do you mean by a complex? You started off talking about apartment vs. house but then added in complex. Is that just a complex of a few apartment buildings? Is there any particular reason to think there is more risk of whatever it is you're worried about there than there would be in an area with just houses? I'm wondering what I'm missing.

Green_Tea

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2020, 02:58:51 PM »
I have two girls who will very soon be teenagers. So I worry about who will be around. The complex is a large generic suburban one, and there's a gate and keycard system to enter the parking lot. I saw some younger people around in their 20s probably.

I'd probably save about $150 a month with the complex vs. the house.

Green_Tea, thanks for sharing your experience. Can I ask if you're male or female? I'd worry less if I had boys.

I'm female :)
What exactly are you worried about? If your kids are independent, have strong opinions and are not easily influenced I wouldn't worry. If they are not, I would try and teach them that asap, independently of where I moved to.

Life is changing enough for you and your kids, I wouldn't want to have to add living with potentially loud neighbors or have to deal with cooking/smoking smells.
Well, this sounds a bit exaggerated and like a lot of hedonic adaptation to me. Maybe they adjust just fine to these normal things. Why would they even mind cooking smells?? That's a nice thing! Why should there be smoking smells in the apartment if they don't smoke? If they don't like the smoking smell in some other peoples stairway, well good thing they don't and good thing MrMoneySaver talked about smoking with his teenage kids! If they have loud neighbors, well the kids might just learn some important lessons about how to deal with adversity. Oh, also they might learn a financial lesson or two.
I wonder, once they go off to live on their own, how are they supposed to live? In a luxury appartment? A house of their own? During the first years I went to med school, I shared one (!) bathroom with 4 others (so five people, male and female, to one bathroom) and a kitchen, too. Lucky I liked the diverse company and the cooking smells :) And believe me, that I needed tactics to deal with noisy neighbors when I wanted to study.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 03:13:29 PM by Green_Tea »

Malcat

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2020, 08:11:03 PM »
I have two girls who will very soon be teenagers. So I worry about who will be around. The complex is a large generic suburban one, and there's a gate and keycard system to enter the parking lot. I saw some younger people around in their 20s probably.

I'd probably save about $150 a month with the complex vs. the house.

Green_Tea, thanks for sharing your experience. Can I ask if you're male or female? I'd worry less if I had boys.

I'm female :)
What exactly are you worried about? If your kids are independent, have strong opinions and are not easily influenced I wouldn't worry. If they are not, I would try and teach them that asap, independently of where I moved to.

Life is changing enough for you and your kids, I wouldn't want to have to add living with potentially loud neighbors or have to deal with cooking/smoking smells.
Well, this sounds a bit exaggerated and like a lot of hedonic adaptation to me. Maybe they adjust just fine to these normal things. Why would they even mind cooking smells?? That's a nice thing! Why should there be smoking smells in the apartment if they don't smoke? If they don't like the smoking smell in some other peoples stairway, well good thing they don't and good thing MrMoneySaver talked about smoking with his teenage kids! If they have loud neighbors, well the kids might just learn some important lessons about how to deal with adversity. Oh, also they might learn a financial lesson or two.
I wonder, once they go off to live on their own, how are they supposed to live? In a luxury appartment? A house of their own? During the first years I went to med school, I shared one (!) bathroom with 4 others (so five people, male and female, to one bathroom) and a kitchen, too. Lucky I liked the diverse company and the cooking smells :) And believe me, that I needed tactics to deal with noisy neighbors when I wanted to study.

I know, I read that and choked on my water a bit.

Occasional evidence of humans? Sounds? Cooking smells?
Will someone not think of the children?

As someone who actively chooses to live in an apartment building in a low income area when I could afford to live anywhere in my city, I must shake my head. I actually moved here from a detached home in the wealthiest area of the city, and it was a huge sigh of relief. I hated my old neighbourhood. The people were miserable and very invasively nosy, as if I needed to be evaluated.

I adore sharing a building with my neighbours, the sense of community is rich, and I really enjoy living in a mostly working class area. Most people here are very warm and open, and because often there are people in the building who need some sort of help, there's a culture of helping here.

That's only a personal anecdote, whatever that means. I'm just always a little perplexed by people who use my exact housing situation, which I actively chose, as some kind of example of this terrible inhuman standard of living. 

Green_Tea

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Re: How to find a good apartment/house to rent after divorce?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2020, 05:15:28 AM »
As someone who actively chooses to live in an apartment building in a low income area when I could afford to live anywhere in my city, I must shake my head. I actually moved here from a detached home in the wealthiest area of the city, and it was a huge sigh of relief. I hated my old neighbourhood. The people were miserable and very invasively nosy, as if I needed to be evaluated.

I adore sharing a building with my neighbours, the sense of community is rich, and I really enjoy living in a mostly working class area. Most people here are very warm and open, and because often there are people in the building who need some sort of help, there's a culture of helping here.

Yes, thank you for this. My experience is similar: our neighborly contacts in subsidized housing were great, while in the SFH-neighborhood we moved to it's so-so, mostly no contact, some nice ones with superficial contact, some hostility even.
I think a lot depends on your own views. My parents, especially my mom is very open and sees people for who they are. They let us play with all the kids, including from families other people looked down upon (regarding e.g. income/occupation/manners).
We also had loose contact with an alcoholic lady in the house (I think my mom helped her out from time to time) and the neighbor on the same floor was an elderly alcoholic and chain smoker and my parents say he peed in the corners of his flat occasionally. He was nice enough. A bit gumpy, always let us pet his little dog when we met.

I think it's about having an open mind, being empathetic, not looking down on people for whatever reason (!), and embracing the individual and the diversity! People with less money or LBTM aren't worse people.
It's about enjoying and being content with what you have. Having one bathroom for three people isn't bad living conditions.
If you think the living conditions are a sad predicament you have to endure, you might just miss the great stuff.

So I wonder what exactly OP worries about regarding his kids?
I guess it's bad influence from kids their age introducing them to smoking/alkohol/drugs as this is a vulnerable age for this? That's why I wonder about how the kids are. I think everyone will be introduced to these things at some point of their life, probably by friends they make at school at their age. Seeing how an alcoholic person lives like can be a strong deterrent btw but the important thing is to make the kids strong.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 05:26:30 AM by Green_Tea »