General Question

HouseMouse's avatar

How do I choose the right apartment?

Asked by HouseMouse (60points) August 23rd, 2013

I am going to college next month and am caught in between finding a pricier apartment that’s nearby or finding an apartment further away for a cheaper price. The only concern is the commute. I live in Los Angeles (heavy traffic) so I’m not sure what I should balance as more important.


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14 Answers

janbb's avatar

if you can afford it, paying more for a closer apartment sounds easier. But don’t deprive yourself of too much for it.

And welcome to Fluther!

johnpowell's avatar

What does your time cost? What is the cost of fuel? Maybe the expensive place closer is actually cheaper when you factor in all the external costs.

snowberry's avatar

Check out the crime rate in the area you’ll be renting too. Will you be driving or riding a bicycle or a bus?

Jenniehowell's avatar

Safety/health first (ie. neighborhoods you live in, neighborhoods you have to drive through/walk through & the condition of the buildings & unit you will have to live in) – distance second – cost third.

jca's avatar

If the farther apartment is cheaper but you make that up in commutation costs (gas or public transportation) then it’s not really cheaper. Plus you’ll have the commute time. I’d also consider other factors like the apartments themselves, i.e. which one is nicer, the neighborhoods (are they safe?) and parking, if you own a car. Also, are they in buildings or in a multi-family house? That makes a difference, to me.

The two apartments I’ve rented in my life were in great buildings that you pretty much had to know someone to get into, and they were “legit” in that when it came time to move out, there was no hanky panky as far as someone wanting to keep the security for some made up, bullshit reason. In a house, it may be a nice atmosphere, but the landlord may make up some bullshit reason to keep your security and it’s going to be your word against theirs. Also, if it’s in a house, is the landlord/homeowner going to live there, too? If so, that might affect your decision.

ETpro's avatar

Unless LA has dramatically changed since I lived there, you either had to settle for a bad neighborhood with high crime, or a hellish commute to get low rent. I’d consider roommates before I’d go for either of the available low-rent options.

susanc's avatar

On the other hand, part of the leaving-home starting-grownup-life
experience involves taking risks and learning about how people live in the realer world. Don’t be too cautious. Danger is good.

Louisalice's avatar

If you have enough money to paying more for a closer apartment sounds

YARNLADY's avatar

Closer is better because you will have a lot of college activities you want to participate in.

snowberry's avatar

Wherever you end up, before you start moving in your stuff, go through EACH room, EACH cupboard, and itemize every and all damages. Take your time, and be thorough. Take two copies of this list to your landlord and have them sign and date both, and you do the same. Have them give one copy back to you. Keep this with your most important papers. When it’s time for you to move out, this will be invaluable, because they won’t be able to charge you for damage that was there when you moved in.

I always always leave an apartment cleaner than when I moved in. My landlords are always amazed, and cannot help but give me my money back.

JLeslie's avatar

Stay closer.

Sunny2's avatar

If it can be walking distance, it’s worth the extra. Parking is a big problem. Having a car can be very costly what with paying for parking, possible parking tickets. expensive gasoline and the usual car upkeep expenses.

muppetish's avatar

Did you grow up in LA county, or will this be your first time here? The expenses are going to add up and fast. Rent, utilities, parking, gasoline, groceries, insurance, tuition, books, etc. Do you plan to rely solely on transportation by car? The cost of gas is very expensive in LA county (cheapest last time I filled was something like $3.98 / gallon, but some cities go well over $4). If you’re commuting by car, you might want to be close to a freeway that will take you to your university.

If you want to save money, you might consider renting an apartment that is nearby several bus routes so that you can mix commuting by car and bus.

Also, do you plan on renting a studio/one room to yourself? It might be cheaper to find someone to room with so that you can split the costs. What about student housing on campus? This might also help you reduce costs as dorms usually include utilities (though often at the lack of your own bathroom/kitchen) and will all but eliminate commuting costs.

Are you paying for apartments on your own, or is someone helping you?

dabbler's avatar

I hate commuting by car, and will always recommend the closest accommodation to your daily business that suits your living needs.
Also, when you’re a college student, it is Very Useful to be close to campus so you can participate in ad hoc study sessions and social opportunities that just are viable if you have the commute to worry about.
When I lived walking distance from campus, I could tell the experience of my fellow students who were commuters was very different, in no good ways.

Will you be working while you’re going to school? If so, the proximity to your job should be factored in too.

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