19 April 2012

The new Casa P: Apartment option #3

Time for the third part of House Hunters, Team P edition!

I’ve told you about the two places we saw in the morning on our day-long apartment hunt: the large apartment in the historic mansion with a large price tag, followed by a modern condo that had a more modest price tag, but with modest amenities.

During the middle of the day we saw some older places in the neighborhoods I’d originally thought we’d prefer. Some were nice enough to almost crack the top-three, but the only one that actually made it into the final round was the very last one we saw, at 4 PM...

Apartment #3

Unlike the previous two apartments, this is the only apartment that would necessitate taking the Metro in to work. Fortunately, it’s only a 0.2-mile-walk to the Metro, and we already have friends in the neighborhood (one works in my new lab, and he uses the same Metro stop), and my job lets me ride the Metro for free! Plus, Mr. P and I could use the Metro to get to the airport without having to bum a ride or pay to park our car at the airport – and if we’re leaving town with suitcases, it’s a lot easier to walk 0.2 miles to the Metro than the mile we’d have to hoof it at the other places. So, different neighborhood, but still some good things about it.

This apartment is similar to #2 in that it’s an updated/modernized condo with an owner who leases it through a management company. I’m not sure how many units are in one building, but I do know this one is on the bottom, and seems to have at least one shared wall. But, like #1, it’s on a semi-private drive, actually on the cul-de-sac, which makes for a quiet street.

And of the three options, the price for this one is the lowest – not by a lot, as it’s similar in price to the previous one, but still, definitely on-target with what we were thinking. That comes with a trade-off, though: this place only meets my 1000-square-foot rule if you round up from 970. Yeeeesh. That’s reducing our current living space by more than a third.

Still, it wouldn’t be in the top three if we didn’t love enough other things about it, so here goes! Again, these photos were pulled from a publicly available listing; I’m not sourcing them only to keep the address private.

You’ve actually already seen the kitchen before, where I used it as a photo to demonstrate the high-end kitchens we saw. And high-end it is. Goodness!

Helloooo, granite countertops and stainless appliances and neutrals! The only downside to this kitchen is that there isn’t more of it – that’s pretty much all of it. Floor space included.

That wouldn’t be so bad, except this is the living room:

The whole living room. There are really only three walls (on the other side of the kitchen is a hallway leading to the bedrooms) and only one wall that could hold a couch. A modest couch. Please note that the couch in the photo does not have any arms. Squeeze in a chair, an coffee table, and about half of our entertainment unit and it’s full.

On the other hand, it has hardwood floors (which are hidden under a rug), which gets a big thumbs-up from me! The hardwoods continue down the previously mentioned hallway, as well as through the kitchen and back to this room:

I suppose it’s intended to be sunroom, but it would have to be our dining room, and again, you’re seeing the whole thing. I like it a lot, though, except for the faux-exposed-brick paint treatment (I am sure you long-time dear readers immediately knew I’d reject that). There are actually several paint treatments throughout this apartment that I would honestly consider just breaking the lease to paint over because I am so strongly opposed to them. I didn’t even ask if we could paint because I didn’t care; I’d paint anyway.

And while I’m on the subject of NO NO NO paint treatments, here’s the master bedroom:

Looking past the brown textured walls (I know I’m behind in showing your our master bedroom, but just trust me that our stuff doesn’t match that), it’s actually a nice room. We saw it without furniture, and it’s a reasonably-sized space considering the rest of the apartment is a little tight. Plus the second bedroom is about the same size, and they both have closets like this:

Plus, there is a huge basement storage locker! No hiding the Christmas decorations under the table!

Another ironic twist to our three options is that this one, the smallest, is the only one with two full bathrooms. There’s one in the hall with a tub/shower combo, and then this giant updated master bath (which you’ve seen before) is attached to the bedroom:

Full-o-swank! And hey, and what’s that in the mirror, hmm? Oh, just IN-UNIT LAUNDRY. Score! It’s an apartment-sized washer/dryer, not full-sized, but that’s fine considering I don’t have to carry my skivvies to a public place.

So with a little paint, the back of the apartment is fantastic, with both bedrooms and both bathrooms and even laundry. It’s just the front living area that’s a little tight. Fortunately, there’s this space off the living room:

That’s a deck as big as our current deck and it’s covered (which we don’t have now)! Outdoor living space, yay! Even better, the back deck leads into the parking lot, where we would both have a reserved parking spot. No street parking! And finally, the deck is a whole five stairs off the ground, meaning that moving in would be a breeze. Of course, ground floor does feel a little less safe, but a security system would cover that, and the neighborhood is a decent one.

Finally, there’s one more thing to know about this apartment, which isn’t an issue for #1 or #2 (though it was an issue for a few others that didn’t make the cut). Remember how Mr. P and I thought it was a bit early to be looking for a place? Well, for this one, it was. Unlike the other two places that were willing to negotiate a summer start to the lease (with deposit in hand), this landlord wants to rent it out ASAP. If we choose this one, we’d have to start paying rent in May, even though Mr. P’s school year isn’t over, and the house will surely not be sold yet. So while this was the most “budget” priced for the long term, there is an extra month’s rent involved up-front.

So let’s sum it up:

(I left “nice landlord” unchecked only because the current paint colors/treatment in many of the rooms are totally icky to me and I don’t know for sure that I’d able to change them, and also they are a bit pushy on the start date of the lease. But perhaps they are delightful and I just don’t know it yet.)

So maybe now you can see why, even though the space is tight and it’s not located in my favorite neighborhood, it still ended up in our top three. The price is lowest and it has most of the things we wanted in an apartment – including things the other two places didn’t, like hardwood floors, two full baths, all off-street parking, an easy move-in, and a covered patio.

And that’s it, dear readers! Our three top options! They could be summed up like this, I think:

Apartment #1:
right square footage, right amenities (storage, historic charm, great neighborhood), wrong price

Apartment #2:
right square footage, right price, wrong amenities (no storage, no charm, no fancy upgrades)

Apartment #3:
right amenities (storage, swanky kitchen, covered patio), right price, wrong square footage

“So, which one did they choose?” [DUN! dun-dun-DUN! dun-dun-DUN! dun-dun-DUN-DUN!]


are not telling just yet. I’m sorry! I don’t want to jinx it! We’re still working on getting the application and lease finalized, and hopefully we’ll have signed on the dotted line by next week. With any luck, I’ll spill the beans then! In the meantime... which one do you think we chose? Does it change your guess at all if I tell you that Mr. P and I were in full agreement and had the same top choice (hey, maybe we are alike sometimes!)? No really, I would love to know! And if it were you, which one would you choose?


Rachel C said...

I pick Option 1. Even though it is more expensive, I just like it! Haha! And it seems like a happy mix between the old and new that Team P wanted.

Rachel said...

I would be quite tempted to pick Option 1, but I think we would ultimately choose Option 2. Painting? Walk to work? Who could pass that up? Unless, of course, you could...

Mary Beth said...

I think you guys chose Option #2! Or maybe #1. I don't know! I think the May start-paying-rent-date on #3 was a deal-breaker.