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JLeslie's avatar

What do you like and hate about living in an apartment or condominimum?

Asked by JLeslie (46284 points ) January 26th, 2013

Let us know if you have always lived in a building; or, have you lived in houses and townhouses as well? Which did you prefer? Was it hard for you to transition? Did some of the things you initially liked abut living in a building turn out to be things you didn’t like?

I have lived in buildings and houses, but primarily houses my adult life, and right now my husband and I are going to be moving to a new city and I can choose again what lifestyle I want.

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19 Answers

glacial's avatar

For as long as I’ve been a responsible adult, I’ve lived in apartments. I’m not a terribly “settled” person… I still feel as though I might want to pick up and go somewhere new next year (and sometimes I do), so I’ve never actually wanted a house (nor have I really been in a financial position to own one). I love being right in the heart of a city, and apartment living suits that. Having close neighbours can be either good or bad – but if bad, I can always move, whereas with a house I imagine I could be stuck with the same people on all sides for years and years. Some costs are much lower in an apartment, like heating and electricity, and I pay no property taxes; I don’t have to repair much of anything. Overall, I have no regrets. I enjoy it. I know what to look for when shopping for a new apartment, so there are rarely disappointments (except for neighbours; they are the one unpredictable factor).

I like to choose apartments that have a more historic feel, even if they’re a bit run down, so townhouses are not my preference. I did live in one for two years, because it was the best option financially at that time, but I didn’t think much of it. It felt as though it had been put up in five minutes, and could come down as quickly. And they’re always painted in the most godawful beiges and browns – no character at all.

I lived in a house until my late teens, and of course was not responsible for any of it – but it had a lot of land attached, and I did enjoy that. That was far from the city, though, and I’m a city person at heart. The common wisdom is that it’s better to be paying towards owning a house than to be paying rent, although some have the opposite opinion. If I had the means to buy a house in the sort of neighbourhood I like, I guess I would probably do it, but that is extremely unlikely.

Pachy's avatar

People in the apartment above me walking around in what always sounded like Frankenstein monster boots! That’s what I hated most. I’ve owned my house for the past five years and hope never, never have to live in an apartment again.

jerv's avatar

Given that I am from New England, most “apartments” I have been in are actually 2–3 family houses, so I have mostly enjoyed the best of both worlds; the character of a house (as opposed to a cookie-cutter apartment) with the freedom from responsibility of being a renter instead of an owner.

I am not exactly a fan of where I am now; a 24-unit building that has about as much character as a Hotel 6, but the alternative would cost at least an extra $400/month.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I am living in a townhouse condo now.

I was living in a home.

I liked living in a home. But for reasons I had to move. It is ok here. The lady next door turns her music loud sometimes so I just return the favor with this awesome hand me down 2yr old Denon receiver and 5 JBL surround speakers I got from a relative. She then stops.

Living in a house you can make as much noise as you want, but all the outside is your responsibility, so if you need new windows or a roof it comes out of your pocket. In a condo you pay a monthly fee which goes towards things outside, a condo is a little easier on the pocket book.

Although a house can increase in value based on renovations alone inside and out a condo will not usually increase in value no matter how snazzy the inside is the increase will usually only be minimal.

wundayatta's avatar

In New York City I lived in apartment and apartment-like situations. I hated apartments. Too many noises from neighbors. I guess if you had enough money, you could buy enough space so you could insulate yourself from the noises of others, and from noises from garbage trucks and so on. But you have to live on the right side of the building to minimize noise.

There’s also the issue of access to things you want, like green space, food stores, entertainment, health care and whatnot. In the city, these things could all be a few steps away from the right apartment. It all depends.

I generally prefer houses. You get more space, and I have a lot of stuff to store. If you don’t have much stuff, then you can live in less space. But I have a big house, and it’s not big enough, since we don’t have a dance floor, a billiard room, or an inside swimming pool. Alas.

Still, I prefer having my own space that i am responsible for and I can have fixed however I want.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have lived in apartments, condos, townhouses, and single family houses. My basic problem with attached housing is the noise. On the bottom floor I heard the neighbor’s music and in one place we leaved their sex and even the person upstairs pissing. On the top floor the neighbor’s music and television invaded our space as well.

Now that I live where it snows and where the leaves actually fall off the trees, that is a downside to living in a house with a yard, driveway, and sidewalks to shovel, sweep, and rake! The other side to (owning) a house is the maintenance. Living in condos and townhouses the association took care of that stuff, in a house it is all on the owner.

I guess if I have my druthers I would rather have a house, but they both have positives and negatives.

dxs's avatar

I’ve lived in a total of three apartments. I don’t mind it at all, and actually like the community it creates, and I don’t have problems with neighbors, so I like it a lot. I have no desire to own a house of my own in the future. That may seem like a na├»ve statement, but I’ve been in the rural areas and the remoteness scares me. It also makes me feel lonely.

hearkat's avatar

We have a townhouse, about 1300 square feet. I like that we don’t have to deal with yard work or shoveling snow. We are lucky and can barely hear when our neighbors’ dog barks or when they’re vacuuming.

YARNLADY's avatar

Most have no garage, parking is a long walk from the door to the car.
You can hear every time anybody in the four to six closest apartments flush.
There are no smoke free areas.
Children must be accompanied outdoors at all times.
Very few have in room laundry, so you are at the mercy of the public laundry.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m comfortable in a rented condo. It’s well insulated so noise is rarely a problem. The kitchen is small, so I’ve done less complicated cooking. It’s on a busier street than our house was on, so we have traffic noise, but it’s not bad. We don’t have the upkeep the house and yard had. We’re not the constantly redecorating type, so not being able to do that doesn’t bother me. Physical difficulties made climbing stairs extremely slow. The elevator eliminated that. The change was a good choice for us. I don’t miss the house.

susanc's avatar

I bought a loft space in the city near me ten years ago but now I rent it to someone else. I look forward to moving back there when I’m old, because it’s a coop and you get close to the other people living in it (only 12 units), it’ll be paid way down by then; there’s an elevator, and it’s close to the hospitals. But till then I need to live in this crusty rehabbed cannery by a bay where life is messy and inconvenient and sometimes uncomfortable but the air is always fresh and the weather has a huge impact on my body like my body was designed for it to have. And the sleeping is fabulous. It gets and stays very dark at night and all I can hear are birds.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY Where did you have your apartments? Our neighbors to each side would have to crank thesstereo to 11 to be heard through our walls. And, except for the laundry, your other criticisms also seem unlike most places I have lived.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve lived in just about every type of housing there is, including a mobile home. Hands down, I prefer a detached single family house. Mostly it’s about noise. I live in a duplex now, and can hear everything that is above a normal speaking voice from next door, and in apartments it’s even worse if you’ve got an upstairs neighbor. But I also prefer the privacy a single family home offers. I’m a major introvert, so I’d rather not have super close neighbors.

Of course, the big plus of a condo or apartment is the outside maintenance being taken care of. In apartments, even inside repairs are not generally your responsibility.

bookish1's avatar

I grew up in a single family house. I lived in dorms all four years of college. Oh, the horror. The children. Don’t get me started.

I’m in my first apartment now. I’m less psyched to be here than when I first moved in three years ago, but I’m still glad to be here. It’s in a residential zone and so it’s quiet around here, but very close to town and on a couple good bus lines. My upstairs neighbor is teaching elephants to tap-dance, but other than that it’s not too noisy. I resent how maintenance people seem to need to come in here about once a week, but at least they give me advance notice and I’m on friendly terms with most of them. I love gardening and I miss having access to the land. I don’t like how people use my front yard as a thoroughfare or playground for their little kids. I really hate change, and so living somewhere with a lease, where I am likely to be priced out eventually (it’s already happened really, ugh), makes me nervous. But I am not in a stage in my life where I can “settle down” yet.

glacial's avatar

@YARNLADY I agree with @jerv – I didn’t even recognize the experiences you describe. And nearly all of the apartments I’ve lived in had hookups for laundry, so I’ve had my own machines in my apartment. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for when you shop around.

I would also say, some apartments are more soundproof than others. In many, noise has been a non-issue. In my current place, I hear floorboards and the occasional loud conversation. I also hear music. But there is a very good sense of community in this building, and I actually like being aware of the presence of these neighbours. It helps that a couple of them have excellent taste in music.

There are some things that I find I am more sensitive to as I get older (I want neighbours to pitch in with shoveling, for example), but there are others I find I mind less than I used to (I care less about noise and the odd smoke), Most buildings these days are smoke-free, so that is rarely an issue, but I used to find it very offensive, and now it’s just not that big a deal.

Shippy's avatar

I always lived in houses, with huge gardens. A few farms also. I am now in an apartment I hate it. I hate the noises I can hear. It’s so annoying.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv Nearly every economy priced apartment building in California has a central laundry area rather than in apartment hook-ups. Most are shaped like this. (Click on the They have other apartments on two sides and the back, plus above. That equals at least six bathrooms plus six living rooms that are with in sound range.

The tenants come in at all hours of the day and night, and talk to each other very loudly as they walk down the public areas from the parking area to their house. If the children run ahead, which they usually do, the parents call to them from several feet away, no matter whose window they are standing in front of.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY Ah. CA is different from Seattle, and a whole different planet compared to VT/NH.

Unbroken's avatar

I think I have lived in every housing situation but never owned.

I am currently in town in a daylight basement first time I ever lived below someone. Recommendation pick the top corner always done that no regrets. My neighbors new year resolution was the insano workout and it is very loud and lasts a very long time.

I have to have my windows curtained. Kinda bothers me.

Heat rises so its been a cool winter. Normally on the top floor it is too hot. In the summer though it will be great.
I actually don’t mind my neighbors or landlord this time.
My location is easily accessible but parking sucks. I don’t have to worry about repairs except the self improvement I wish to do. Its an older building so there is a lot of character to it I was able to highlight that by painting.

This time I don’t have a washer dryer on premises. But I found a decent place to wash and it is a nice time for a tea date. Or just chill and browse a few nearby shops I rarely get to.

When I want to move I can move. No worries no hassles. No commitment.

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