Money at 30: Two Years Later – Was Our Apartment Upgrade Worth It?
Nearly two years ago, my wife and I decided to move from our longtime apartment complex to one where the rent was $400 more per month. This time last year, I shared a status update in which I declared that this somewhat risky move had been worth it thanks to the numerous benefits this upgrade included. Cut to today and things have definitely changed in a few ways. In fact, over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been reflecting a lot on our current living situation — inspiring me to revisit the topic as our two-year apartment anniversary approaches.
So, what’s changed, what hasn’t, and do I still think this pricier apartment is worth it? Let’s go through the pros and cons as I see them.
The Pros and Cons of Our Apartment Upgrade (After Two Years)
Anyone who’s ever lived in an apartment knows just how annoying having neighbors can be. That’s why I’m consistently amazed at how quiet these units are. If we’re in our living room, we can sometimes hear people walking in the hall. But, other than that and the occasional bump from above, we never hear our neighbors. At all.
This is a major change of pace from our previous apartment and, to be honest, is probably a bit underrated at this point. So, I’ll give it a shoutout here as it likely is a major differentiator between this place and anywhere else we’d look to live.
When we first toured this complex, we knew that there were plenty of pretty places both on the property and a short walk away. However, our appreciation for these spaces has only grown since we got our dog Rigby. It’s been great having several grassy areas to stroll with her multiple times a day. Moreover, these walks don’t require us to venture along any roads other than our apartment parking lot, which is great from a safety perspective. Because of this, if we were to move, we would absolutely miss our current routines and the sights that come with them.
Internet and other continued amenities
Rather than rehighlight all of the same benefits I mentioned last year, let me just recap some of the other aspects we love about this apartment. First, at the top of my list is the incredibly reliable Internet. Sure, it has gone out a couple of times in the past two years — but, outside of those anomalies, it’s been solid and speedy. Seeing as we both work from home and regularly live stream, this has been game-changing for us and I haven’t lost sight of that.
Rounding up the rest, we also love having our own in-unit washer and dryer rather than having to head to the laundromat. Meanwhile, covered parking has been especially helpful during our recent snowstorms. And, finally, having the weekly farmer’s market is always lovely. I will say that we have curbed the amount of spending we do at the market each Saturday, but that’s a good thing as well!
Raise in rent
When we first toured what would become our apartment, we asked the person showing us around whether we should expect a rent hike when renewing. He said that he had been there for more than five years and, in that time, they hadn’t raised rent. So, natually, when we renewed, the price rose nearly $100 for us. That’s partially because when we moved in our unit was listed for $50 less than the going rate for whatever reason. Yet, when it was time for a new lease, this initial discount was removed. Awesome.
To be fair, given the market, I’m not at all surprised that rent prices rose. And while I wish they’d have honored the $50 discount for longer, I guess I should be grateful that we had it at all since I still don’t even really know why we had it. Looking at the site now, it seems we should be bracing for another hike upon renewal (which will actually be in June since our first lease was 15 months long). At this point, it’s not untenable for us… but it’s definitely still a negative.
No more DirecTV
As I mentioned briefly in my post last week, our complex recently dropped the news that they’d no longer be offering complimentary DirecTV. This change will go into effect on March 1st, a mere two weeks after they emailed us about it. To say that my wife and I were pissed about this news would be an understatement — so let me try to explain why.
In their email, the complex said that they were discontinuing the service because they “want to give residents who do enjoy the service the freedom to customize their own plan and channel offering.” Are you laughing as hard as I am at this? It’s some amazing spin that really only makes the whole thing worse in my opinion. Apparently, we now have the “freedom” to spend an extra $70 or more a month to replace something we got for free.
Clearly I’m salty about this, which is kind of odd since we don’t really watch so much TV that we couldn’t replace it with our existing subscriptions. Sure we enjoy watching ABC’s comedies, but we can just stream them on Hulu the next day. Plus, thanks to Pluto TV, we still have Frasier reruns to fall asleep to. That said, since we’re occasionally tasked with recapping shows on Freeform, ABC, or FX, having those channels along with a DVR is somewhat necessary.
Honestly, even if we can find a workaround that allows us to continue on without spending more, it sucks that we’re losing a benefit and not getting anything for it. In that way, it feels like a backdoor rent hike — on top of the real rent hikes! We’ll see how this one shakes out but, for now, I’m still livid.
Pet rent, renter’s insurance, and other changes
If you’re wondering why I’m raging so much about DirecTV, it’s really because it’s the latest in a string of other negative changes we’ve experienced since the last time I wrote about living here. First, when we moved in and didn’t have a pet, the complex didn’t charge any pet rent. But, of course, by the time we got Rigby, a pet rent policy had been instated.
Also, somewhere along the way they made an update to their renters’ insurance policy that meant the one we’ve had for years didn’t qualify. Rather than argue, I now have two renters insurance policies just to appease them (I really should cancel the other one but, since it’s tied to our auto insurance, I’m not sure how it will affect that rate).
Lastly, the literal day after the DirecTV debacle was announced, we got more bad news. Previously, our complex invited residents to have their own community garden plot. My wife took advantage of this last year, really loved the experience, and very much looked forward to this year’s growing season. Well, as they noted in their email, not everyone took as much care of their gardens as she did. The solution? They’d now be charging $10 a month for the privilege to have a plot. Now, it’s not as though this fee will make or break us — yet, once again, it’s an example of how the benefits we loved about this place are being scaled back. It’s all so very frustrating… but is it enough to make us want to move?
At this very moment, my wife and I are quite annoyed with our apartment complex — or at least the management of it. With some recent changes, it really feels as though they’re trying to damper the excitement we felt when we moved here two years ago. What’s worse is that, while we could threaten to move in a bid to get some discounts, we really don’t have any leverage as the apartments are apparently still waitlisted.
Putting that recent frustration aside, there are still many things we do love about living here. For one, I can’t imagine finding another apartment in town that’s as well insulated and quiet as these ones are — not to mention other perks like the farmer’s market. On that note, the location has been perfect for Rigby, so that’s a consideration as well.
It’s also important to remember that, while our rent rose significantly to move here, our old apartment is undoubtedly not as cheap as it was back then either (it’s listed at around $950 now whereas we were paying $640 at the time). Put in that context, suddenly the equation swings back to “worth it.” Ultimately, while it will be hard to get over the nickel-and-diming we’re currently experiencing, I suppose we should count our blessings as well. Nevertheless, although we planning on staying put now, we’ll have to see what we think this time next year.