Choosing an Apartment

I moved into an apartment at a senior age after living in houses for the whole of my life. I lucked in and got what I think may be the perfect place.. Sheer luck but still a learning curve. I did know the name of the owner and looked for apartments for rent under his company name. It helps to ask around. Not all owners are the same and also not all managers are the same.

The first item to check off your list is cost. How much are you willing to pay. That is worth searching for. Our management company charges a very fair rental fee but screens out those that have a history of moving every couple of years. When I said I wanted my apartment I also said I was here for life.  In this building they clean and paint the walls between renters so imagine if the tenants were quite transient, It would cost them a fortune  in a months lost rent (in order to paint) and the cost of the painting. They keep the costs down and pass the savings on to us via reasonable rents.

The second item for me would be how important the sun is to you. Do you want it to wake you up or put you to bed ?  My  sun shine comes in the living room in the morning and in the bedroom in the afternoon and evening. This can also make a difference with how much heat it can generate in the summer. So determine if you want north, south, east or west exposure.

Do you require a deck ? I did. I had been able to step outdoors all my life and I certainly didn’t relish walking down a long hall, down an elevator and then get to go out-of-doors. I use my deck in the summer but not so much in the winter. If I have been home for a few days on end, I can always put a jacket on and go out on the deck, look around and take a good breath of fresh air.  Even have a BBQ to make it more like summer.

That is another item that may be on your check list – BBQ. Can you do it? Are you allowed?  Often that depends on the construction of the building. Wooden shingles may a problem so ask that question if you are a BBQer.

Flooring can be an issue if you have breathing problems. The only carpet in my apartment is in the bedrooms and everything else is covered in ceramic tile or laminate. I like the airiness of the non carpeted flooring.

Determine who pays for the heat. In more northern climates this is important as the bill can go quite high. Most of us who have moved into apartment living with the heat paid love it. In this climate we all had high fuel costs in our homes especially in the older homes. My fuel oil costs per winter would pay at least four months of my rent.

Electricity if often a question. Because they provided a washer and dryer, I have to pay the electric bill. However if you didn’t have a washer and dryer than that is part of your rent. I find that running a dishwasher, washer and dryer still doesn’t run the bill up to anything unreasonable. And I am tight when it comes to electricity so for me not to complain it has to be reasonable.

Last but not least lets talk about pets! Most buildings don’t want pets as in dogs and cats. I have been around dogs and owned them, worked with them and been loved by them my entire life and here I am without one. I don’t like it but I understand it. I know what a young dog can do to a home. I know the benefits of an older person having a pet as in calming them, keeping them from loneliness and keeping the blood pressure down but still I can not envision a medium size dog needing desperately to go to the bathroom and me getting my coat on fast, and trotting down the marathon length hall , down the elevator and out the lobby door before the dog can give a sigh of relief. So can I if the dog put his/her bladder on hold that long. As for cats, kitty litter stinks and not everyone is diligent about cleaning it everyday.  I know the cooking smells in the hall are all I can tolerate. I don’t want to fight cat litter odour and the smell from where a poor dog couldn’t hold his bladder quite long enough.

Location of your apartment is very important. It is near a major highway?  If so you will have constant noise and it isn’t nice. You can have a beautiful deck and it ican be too noisy to use it. Check this out and take time to listen to the sounds around you. I know it would drive me crazy if I had to listen to the constant sound of trucks and cars swishing by 24/7. Where I had my home of almost 40 years, I had that plus I was on a police/fire and ambulance route so I now treasurer the silence of my buildings location.

Do you have a car and is their underground parking included in your rent? I like underground parking as I don’t have to worry when it snows out. No going out and clearing off the car or moving the car  around when the snow plow arrives to clear the lot.

Last but not least, does the apartment complex have a community room, swimming pool and gym? This is important to many but I like the lesser rent because we have none of those luxurys.  And I don’t need them. My apartment is big enough to entertain if I feel so inclined and a sports complex is nearby. Many of these luxurys are very underutilized but you still pay for it every month.

This is quite a list and I am sure that I have forgotten a few things but it is a start for your considerations. If you are going to make this your senior life style home than you want your apartment  to be perfect for you. Several women I am acquainted with , who own their own homes, came to see my place just to see what was keeping me so happy. They knew that downsizing was in their near future. I thought it was very intelligent of them to take that step and I didn’t mind sharing what I had learned about apartment living thus far.

Your Senior in the Kitchen