If you’re new to apartment living, selecting a home can seem like a daunting task with a bewildering array of options. And, there’s always that question lurking in the back of your mind: rent an apartment or buy a house?
Thankfully, these seemingly tough decisions can easily be sorted out if you tackle them one at a time and honestly consider your true needs.
Location, location, location
By and large, you’re going to know what city you’d like to live in. From there, boiling down your general desired area is a fairly simple process. The positioning of your community in relation to local schools is going to be vital if you have kids, but it’s a good idea to remain highly cognizant of everything you’ll need on a daily basis. You don’t want to have to drive across town for your daily workout, only to drive all the way back to get to the office.
Do some preliminary research on crime rates in your area. In urban areas, it’s a fact of life that an affluent, safe neighborhood can be just a few streets away from places you wouldn’t want to be at night. Crime rates usually can be obtained from your city’s police department website.
If you’ve got kids, finding the best school district may be on the top of your list for finding a place to live. The nonprofit organization GreatSchools offers tips on what to look for, including how well districts score with teaching reading, math and social skills while balancing play time for the younger kids. A visit to a school in the area you are looking at is essential to get a good feel of its environment — things like how engaged students are, what kind of respect kids have for teachers and vice versa, and the quality of communication between educators and administrators. It might also be good to talk with parents who have students in the school or district. Their opinions should play a strong factor in whether you feel comfortable sending your child to a school every day.
Your location can also play an integral role in reducing your overall costs of living. Even if you end up paying slightly more for an apartment that’s within walking distance of your workplace, as opposed to across the city, you’ll still come out ahead with the time and monetary savings from commuting. A great way to evaluate walkability and local transportation is to visit www.walkscore.com and enter the address, neighborhood or city you’re scoping out. You can view Walk Score information for most communities on Greystar.com.
Buy or rent?
Buying a home may save you money in the long run because rents naturally fluctuate over time and have been going up the last few years. A set mortgage payment for 15 to 30 years can make budgeting easy, but buying a home has its drawbacks too.
For instance, if you’ve moved across the country to accept your dream job, buying a home right away probably isn’t a wise idea. If you aren’t intimately familiar with the area, you could end up putting down some roots in a part of town that really doesn’t appeal to you after a year or so. Or you could find that it wasn’t your dream job after all. If you owned a home, that would mean going through the trouble of selling it. With more than 1,500 communities across the U.S., Greystar can easily help you find a new home when that move is necessary.
There’s always the risk that a purchased home will lose value instead of appreciating. And, there’s always property taxes, homeowner’s associate dues and a multitude of other costs that can add up quickly.
One of the biggest savings you’re going to see when choosing to live in a Greystar apartment is in maintenance costs. There aren’t any roofs to replace, appliances to wear out or yards to maintain. Most of the time, your living costs can be summarized as rent, renter’s insurance and utilities.
And how about saving time when renting over owning? It’s true. Think about. On weekends, you don’t have to mow the lawn, trim the bushes or fix that pesky dripping faucet. When you rent a Greystar apartment, 24-hour maintenance is provided — and it’s all included in your rent.
The perfect community?
It’s important to realistically consider your needs when looking for an apartment. Most Greystar communities feature state-of-the-art fitness rooms, but if your needs are more specific (perhaps you do CrossFit or love boxing) you’ll want to choose a community near your gym.
Be realistic with your needs. Do you really need access to a resort-style pool and luxurious community spa if you work all day and half the night? Probably not. If you have kids, though, those things might be worth paying for. Will you need an extra bedroom to act as an office so you can work from home? If not, it may be better to rent a one-bedroom apartment and keep utility and rent costs to a minimum.
If you’re moving in with your best friend, and that best friend happens to have four paws and a tail, is your community going to be supportive of that? Most Greystar communities are pet friendly, but you might not be so fortunate elsewhere.
Choosing the right apartment complex can be a daunting task. But fear not! Our Greystar representatives are standing by, ready to help you in every step of the decision-making process.