When it comes to living in an apartment versus a house, most of the people I know lean towards a house.
I get their pro-house arguments – larger spaces, more privacy, potential equity growth, and other such benefits. Clearly, apartment living is not for everyone. But, if you have considered rightsizing or see yourself living in an apartment down the line, this post may give you some perspective.
Before I get into it, I must add that this post is purely based on my experiences in the building that I live in and will be different from the experiences of other apartment dwellers. If you would like to read about some of the negatives that can come with a condominium, try “Ten things about downsizing to a condo that you should know.” I use the terms apartment and condominium interchangeably in this post.
So, here are a dozen things I like about living in an apartment.
I can take off at whim: When I lived in a house, taking off for extended periods of time required a fair amount of planning. To begin with, I had to make sure that the house looked lived in. This meant that among other things, I had to arrange for lights to be turned on and off, newspapers and flyers cleared from the porch, snow cleared from the driveway. The last thing I wanted was to attract opportunistic intruders. Now, I lock and leave. I let the building management deal with any emergencies that may come up. As someone who travels frequently, this works great for me.
I don’t get door knockers: I only get visits from folks that I really want to meet with. No longer do I have to explain to young door-to-door sales guys why I don’t want my water-heater upgraded nor do I have to deal with folks who try to convince me that their God is better than mine. Surprisingly, I still get calls from people trying to sell me duct cleaning services. I need to figure out a way to stop that one.
Things don’t go bump in the night: I never quite figured out all the things that made creaky or unexplainable sounds in our house, especially in the night. Needless to say that apart from my fridge’s ice dispenser occasionally making strange sounds and my printer deciding to do a heath check, I sleep worry free. I no longer feel the need to keep a baseball bat under my bed.
No need for club or gym memberships: Technically, I do not need to go to a gym or maintain my club membership to stay healthy. The modest gym, swimming pool, squash, and tennis courts in the building work out great on that front. I do not have to try to beat my friends for primetime court bookings or worry about getting to the club in inclement weather. However, since I have not been able to convince my fellow club members to move into the building, I still end up at the club for a quick hit and a beer.
Room with a view can be relaxing: Watching the neighbours go about their business in the sub-division where my house stood was fine, in a bonding sort of way. But, watching everyday life – people, cars – and the four seasons roll by from a higher floor has a different feel to it than when seen from the ground level.
No more trying to time the snow plows: Unlike some of my friends, I never particularly enjoyed shovelling snow on my driveway. I no longer dread the sight of city snow plows that always seemed to appear just as I finished up, and pushed mounds of snow right back in front of my driveway. Now I gleefully watch the synchronization with which the plows conga line through the streets around my building.
No more searching for disappearing garbage bins: Weekly garbage disposal at home came with its own small challenges. From garbage bins that fly away and rodents that tear up the bags, to missed pick-ups, the whole garbage disposal experience was occasionally painful. The garbage chutes and recycling bins in the condominium make the process seamless and smooth.
No more trudging in the snow to pick up mail: This may seem trivial. But if you still get letters – or more likely bills – in the mail, this can be a blessing. Having to wade through a foot of snow and slush to find that you have no mail can be quite frustrating. Going down to the lobby level to pick up my mail works great for me.
I never get surprised in my shower: The water pressure in my house never seemed adequate. Perhaps, it was something that I could have gotten fixed. The water temperature always seemed to be influenced by what other people around the house did. In my condo I take the water pressure and the temperature for granted. No more getting scalded or the shower turning ice cold.
Leave the maintenance to someone else: Most people I know are not very good at meticulously keeping track of batteries in smoke detectors, cleaning filters, and servicing heat pumps. I am no different. In a condo, someone else keeps track of service dates and maintenance requirements leaving you to worry about the associated costs.
Forced minimalism: I see this as a positive; my wife may have a different view. We are forced to only keep things that we really need and use. Keeping the condo clean is a whole lot easier than cleaning a house, especially since it is all in one level. I am seriously considering a Roomba.
No more waiting for deliveries: Timing the UPS guy can be tough. I now do not worry about the delivery guy leaving packages outside my door or in my unlocked mailbox. In the past, I have had to swing by the courier depot to pick up my parcel because I missed the drop off window. As I make more and more of my purchases online, the Concierge service in the building comes in real handy.
So, there you have it.
Four years ago when I moved to a condo, it was sort of a leap of faith. Now, I feel that it was the right move for me and my family.