Thursday, March 31, 2011

Apartment hunting...

Like I mentioned in the first post, I went to visit the area and check out apartments that meet my *requirements. Initially I was just looking in Chapel Hill, but added Hillsborough because it is cheaper while still having solid schools and being **close to Duke.

I did fill out an application and pay the fee at one Chapel Hill apartment, Foxcroft, which was dated but nice and had a positive review from a friend of a friend as well as strangers on the internet. In Hillsborough we checked out two apartment complexes and would be fine at either one, however, the second one had the nicest apartments of any we saw this weekend.

Unfortunately, it also had the most worrying reviews. Apparently from 2009-2010 the management company was going bankrupt and no one really cared because they were all losing their jobs eventually anyway. The reviews go from largely positive up until that point to absolutely horrible. The only reason I even put the apartments on the list to check out is because they came under new management in January. The apartments were built in 2004, are huge (as in the 3 bedroom was only like 6% smaller than our house), with lots of storage, a great kitchen and a really nice layout. They are large enough that I opted for their larger 2 bedroom since the kids and I can share a room and it will save on rent and utilities (I will discuss living expenses and concerns soonish) and is still a very roomy 1188 square feet.

These are the apartments most likely to notify me first with a vacancy, which is the thing that will be the deciding factor in which apartment complex I end up living in. So I am torn... do I live in the really nice apartment with the recent-ish horrible reviews (and the huge, huge closet, did I mention the closet in the master bedroom? OMG!) or do I hold out for the decent apartment with the solid reviews?

I don't know how much it matters what the rest of the complex is like if I like my apartment. Having never lived in a real apartment complex, I don't know if the things people nitpick on in their reviews matter. I mean obviously, I've read reviews of other places where they mention roach infestations and stabbings in the parking lot, but once you hit the uninfested/reasonably low crime rate threshold does the rest actually matter?

I know I can only afford the rent because the new management is fighting an uphill battle against the damage wrought by the previous management, but I just worry that due to my enthusiasm for the actual apartment I am overlooking trends in the negative reviews that might actually effect me.

*Good elementary school (as rated by, a sub 20 minute commute, in my price range, and accessible for my father. School and price range being the most important, the commute bit being somewhat flexible and the accessibility issue being a non-issue since it mostly means getting a ground floor apartment.

**The physical distance is greater but the commute is highway versus streets with stop lights so google maps says the time is about the same.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, apartment hunting is one thing you would not hope to experience. It is just very taxing and stressful. Unfortunately for me, I had to do it a couple of times due to certain reasons. All I have to say is, it never becomes easy. One experience is definitely different from others. However, I was able to find a good place and I am hoping this is really it. Thank you for posting. Your blogs are very interesting.