April 15 is a wake-up call for many of us. It is a time when we re-evaluate our finances, determining where we are spending our money and how we can save more of it. Unfortunately, for those who live in a home, the “saving money” part of the equation seems elusive. Every time they feel like they are making progress on bills and savings accounts, some new expense comes along to hamper their goals. An appliance stops working. A water pipe breaks and floods the carpet or wood flooring. The sod has to be replaced after a rough winter and pressure from the HOA.
There is an endless list of unplanned-for expenses that pile up. And these are not even the regular, monthly expenses. In addition to high utility costs, homeowners are paying mortgages, property taxes, lawn and landscaping fees, and a host of other home repair and upkeep expenses. The burden of mortgages – which are still disproportionately high after the housing bubble burst – and the other expenses is what has led many homeowners to switch to apartment living.
And, as occupancy rises across America, rent is going up in some cities as well. But rental rates are only one small part of a much larger story. One cannot compare the base monthly rental rate in apartments to a home mortgage payment. There are so many other factors to consider – factors that make apartments a much more affordable lifestyle than home ownership.
First, there are the maintenance costs we mentioned earlier. Personal budget and financing expert Paula Pant estimates that homeowners need to budget at least $3,000 per year – or $250 per month – for home maintenance and repairs. If your home is several years old, is in a flood zone or is located in a cold region, those monthly costs could be much higher. When you live in an apartment community, there are no additional maintenance costs. To top it off, someone else takes care of the upkeep and repairs on your apartment home. The heat or air conditioning doesn’t seem to be working right? You simply make a call to the leasing office and a member of the maintenance staff shows up to take care of it. The dishwasher is broken? Maintenance staff fixes it, or gets you a new one, pronto. You are not only saving money on repairs and maintenance when you live in an apartment, but you have peace of mind as well.
There are several other advantages to apartment living. When you own a home, you are tied to that home – and that location – for years. If you would like to move to a different area of town, or a different state or country, you are tied to that piece of land. In many cases, homeowners have to move for a new job or to be near family members, and they are forced to sell their home at a loss. This certainly doesn’t make financial sense. In apartments, if you don’t like the community, the area of town or you simply have a change of life goals and desires, you can find a new apartment.
The proximity of many apartment communities to bus lines and other public transportation, as well as shopping and restaurants, also helps apartment dwellers save money. Many apartment residents walk to their favorite grocery store, restaurants/ bars and to the office. Or, they take the bus or train to work. Either way, they save thousands of dollars a year on gas, versus many homeowners – especially those who live in the suburbs.
If you are looking to save money and start renting an apartment – or simply want to find an apartment that better matches your lifestyle and financial goals – ApartmentSearch is here to help. Visit ApartmentSearch.com and we can help you quickly narrow your search by neighborhood, price, amenities, walkability and other factors. Plus, when you tell your new apartment community that you found your apartment through ApartmentSearch.com, you can earn up to $200 in rewards! What a nice bonus after the stress of Tax Day!