18 April 2012

The new Casa P: Apartment option #2

House Hunters, Team P edition continues!

Yesterday I told you about our first option, which was a giant, beautifully updated and modernized third-floor apartment in a historic mansion – with a giant price tag to boot, and the landlady as a close downstairs neighbor. It checked a lot of the boxes, but not all, and we felt very gun-shy about the price.

Our next option that ultimately made it into the top three was one we saw immediately after the #1. So next up, at 10 AM...

Apartment #2

When I was trying to schedule these appointments with the realtors, I really had no idea how long it would take for each one, nor did I know how long it would take to travel between them. I decided an hour apart was safe, even if it meant killing time in between. The day before, we knocked out two showings in under thirty minutes, so I figured we’d end up killing a lot of time.

However, our 9 AM historic-mansion-with-the-landlady appointment took most of the hour, with all the chatting! So thank goodness the next appointment at 10 AM was just down the street – which meant it, too, was in the neighborhood that would ultimately become my favorite.

This apartment is updated/modernized like the last one, and it’s also about a mile-walk from work, but that’s where the similarities end between this one and the previous apartment. This one’s a condo with an owner who leases it through a management company (and owns only this one, not all units), so no landlord nearby. It’s also in a complex of several condo buildings, with eight units per building. However, the unit we saw is on the end – so only one set of shared walls – and we would be on the upper floors, so no noise from above. Hooray for privacy and continuing my tendency to be a weird, quiet neighbor!

As far as price, this one is still above our current mortgage payment, but not nearly as much, so it felt more reasonable. And in terms of space, it has 1373 square feet, which is a bit less than we have now (1560), but not much. Essentially, it’s about the amount of space I hoped we would have, around the price I expected to pay – the Baby Bear of porridges.

So that’s the setup... let’s get on with the pictures! Again, these were pulled from a publicly available listing (which is why they’re smaller than my usual photos); I’m not sourcing them to keep the address private.

First up: the living room. There wasn’t furniture in it when we saw it, but it’s nice to see it in the photos for scale! It’s actually even set up similarly to our current living room, with a fireplace across from the couch (not shown), and the couch backed up to the stairs:

... yes, stairs. To enter the apartment, there’s a long, narrow flight of stairs up from the ground-level door. While it’s nice that there are no switchback stairs to maneuver around (which we’d face with Apartment #1), I’m not entirely sure how we’d move some things in, like our dining table. These stairs, which lead to the bedrooms and full bathroom on the upper floor of the condo, are similar:

Mr. P and I agreed, after seeing these first two apartments, that hiring movers would be money-well-spent.

Anyway! Also on the main floor is the kitchen:

This isn’t a great photo (none of these are, really); the kitchen isn’t that tiny. It’s nice without being knock-your-socks off – there are granite counters, but the exact same stove that we have now. And we could fit our things in the kitchen which is all that matters. But what you can’t see adjacent to the kitchen: IN-UNIT FULL SIZE LAUNDRY CLOSET. Essentially the same sort of set-up we have now! Ska-weeeeeeee!

In the back of the first level is a smallish room that we’d need to use as a dining room. It would be a tight fit for the table, but there isn’t really room for the table elsewhere. And finally, the main level also include a compact, but nice, half-bath tucked under the stairs.

Up the stairs (shown above) are two bedrooms, which are both essentially basic white boxes:

It was at this point that I gathered the courage to ask the realtor if we could paint, and she said YES. The owner has already given his blessing. And even though the whole place is carpeted (yay for Mr. P), I would do it in a heartbeat, because everything is WHITE WHITE WHITE. The all-white walls, plus the stuff in the photos, make it a little hard to see the potential for this place, but it’s there.

The upstairs bedrooms share a full bath with tub/shower combo:

Not quite as spacious as the bathroom we saw in the first place, but not as small as the photo suggests, either. And anyway, it’s not the only toilet in the place, which is nice for not having to negotiate who gets the bathroom first when arriving home after a long car trip.

So, there would be enough space for us here, but there is one thing it is solely lacking: storage. No separate storage, just closets. Granted, there are a lot of spacious closets throughout the place, but it would mean seriously re-thinking what we bring, and perhaps begging some long-term storage space from our parents.

There also wasn’t a formal patio, but the landing outside the front door had room for a grill (the next-door neighbor had one on the landing, as well) and any short-term outdoor projects I’d like to do (i.e. spraypainting). So while it’s not exactly private, I’ll say that yes, this checks off the box for “outdoor space”... because there’s also this...


Funny that I’m pumped about a pool, seeing as how my fair Irish skin not only skips tanning but also skips burning and heads straight for solar dermatitis, which is just as gross as it sounds. I didn’t even think to include a pool on the like-to-have list. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t slather on the SPF70 and enjoy the outdoors occasionally, though. POOL!

Other bonus to the condo unit is a gated parking lot (not garage, but still off-street) for one car. Street parking wouldn’t be quite as easy here for the other car as it’s not on a private drive, but at least it’s no meters or permits.

So! When it’s all said and done, how does Apartment #2 stack up?

Like the last place, this checks many of our boxes – it’s got enough space for us, and it’s updated and modern. As an added bonus, it’s in my favorite neighborhood that would allow me to walk to work as well as all the hip little shops and restaurants. The benefit of not having to wait on the Metro every day cannot be underestimated.

But not all the boxes are checked, and one left unchecked, “storage”, is a pretty big deal. Even if we begged some long-term storage space from our parents, we couldn’t leave everything in Tennessee. The idea that the Christmas decoration boxes would have to become a table – or better yet, be stored under the dining table – is a real possibility for this place.

Nevertheless, the price felt much more comfortable to us. Sure, it’s not as swanky as the last one, but in both cases, we’d get what we pay for. There’s one more option, of course, that I’ll tell you about tomorrow (you guys are walking through this in the same order that we did!). But in the meantime, what do you think of this place? Considering that it’s 75% the price of the last one, would you save your pennies and pick this one instead?


Christal said...

I think I would save my pennies...this isn't your forever house, and I'd put that extra money each month towards that instead! That's what I tell myself, anyway. That being said, if Hans scoots his chair too much in his "office", the tea and noodles fall on his head. And when I say "office", I mean "dining area". And by "dining area", I really mean kitchen. :-) Hmmm, maybe we SHOULD have gone for the bigger space...