Friday, April 25, 2014

Apartments I have known

Yeah, I know it's been ages since I posted.  A fair bit has happened since I last wrote here - some good (new car); some bad but inevitable (my mother finally succumbed to the Alzheimer's that she had been suffering from for years), but nothing too out of this world.  I'll try and write more about the events that have occurred later.  For now, having been inspired by an old blog post from someone I read, I thought I would review the rental properties I have lived in.

1.)  Motel 391

This was my first "apartment" that wasn't a traditional motel.  Well, in fact, it was a motel, but I rented it in Hampton Beach, NH in the middle of the winter, when many of the motels turn into temporary apartments since there aren't any tourists around.  It was basically a kitchenette with a nice view of the beach.  An older property, in the midst of being renovated, the owner appreciated the income that us winter dwellers provided.  The place has a different name now but is still in business.  The owner probably would have been willing to let me stay longer if I'd needed to, but I was itching to move out and find an actual apartment.  My parents actually ended up renting the same room I had stayed in when they came to visit me later in the year. 

2.)  Cricket Brook

This was an older property about 10 miles north of where I worked, but I liked the setting and the rent was fairly cheap.  I came to discover that was because the maintenance there was awful - there were some minor things wrong with my apartment when I moved in that never got fixed the whole time I was there, and anything that did get repaired, I either did myself or, on one occasion, hired a locksmith.  Yes, the place was so cheap that they weren't willing to get me keys that worked in the deadbolt lock.  On the bright side, I did get moderately handy with fixing minor household problems, but I was definitely ready to move out when my lease expired.

3.)  Cedar Ridge

This apartment was located in Farmington, NM, where my second airline job was located.  It was a fairly nice place for the area, and was actually well-maintained.  I also had air conditioning and a dishwasher in this unit, plus as a bonus - my utilities were included so I could keep it as cool as I wanted.  The place could get a bit noisy on weekend nights if there was a party going on down by the community pool but on the whole, I really liked living there.  My time there came to an end when my company moved from Farmington to Phoenix, AZ.

4.)  Camino Tomas

One of my favorite apartments, it was very well maintained and had a leasing agent who lived on site and did a good job of keeping it up to snuff.  The maintenance guy was only so-so, but the apartment was in good shape when I moved in so I didn't need his services much.  There were some memorable events that took place here - one time we had a microburst cause some property damage and fallen trees once, and another time I called the fire department when I smelled something burning after getting off late from work.  That ended up just being a pizza that someone had put in their oven and then forgotten about (or passed out because they had been drinking.)   While I didn't have a washer/dryer, I did have a nice patio and utilities, like my place in New Mexico, were included - very nice in a hot town like Phoenix.  The apartment also had nice amenities, including a pool, hot tub, workout room, pool tables, and a lounge.  The owner did start inviting police to come use the lounge as a break room towards the end of my stay there, which I didn't appreciate much, but that only was an issue for a month or so before I found my next job in Las Vegas, NV.

5.)  Bay Breeze

One of the odder apartment names, since there was definitely no bay anywhere near unless you counted Lake Mead some 15 miles away.  This apartment, while I had a nice view of the pool, I didn't care for much.  The carpet hadn't been changed out and smelled of some previous renter's pet.  Also, as I overlooked the pool and was working a graveyard shift during my first few months on the new job, I quickly grew tired of the noise of kids screaming down by the pool which seemed to inevitably happen every day after school got out - and earlier on the weekends.  At one point, I developed a detailed fantasy about getting a tear gas grenade launcher and firing a few rounds towards the pool area from my patio, then going back inside and going to sleep.  I did have a washer/dryer of my own here for the first time, but I also had intermittent bug problems and I quickly grew tired of the place....it just wasn't managed well.  Anyhow, when my lease was up, I moved on to...

6.)  Sunset Pointe

This was probably my favorite apartment ever.  It was a 2 BD/2 BA place with decent square footage, and for the first time I had an "office" to put my computer in.  I also had a sweet view of the Strip and the Las Vegas Airport.  On a recent visit, I saw that, while the apartment is still there, my view that I had is now blocked by a motel that was built on some vacant land next to the complex.  It was kind of noisy due to aircraft noise from planes taking off, but I had a very short commute and I really liked living there.  For some reason, I found it much easier to sleep through plane noise than kids screaming by the pool noise.  Had I not bought a house, I would have stayed there for the remainder of my stay in Las Vegas, I am sure.

7.)  McCarthy Creek

These apartments were at a complex in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I had moved when my Las Vegas airline went out of business.  They were a new property, and fairly well constructed, but they didn't have central air conditioning so the bedrooms could get a bit warm in the summer.  They did have decent facilities though, and my apartment looked out over a large man-made lake that they stocked with small fish and you could even go swimming in if you liked (which I did a couple times.)  However their rent was also pretty high and after about 15 months here, I found a place nearby that had much better prices.

8.)  Cold Spring Villas

This was probably my second favorite apartment.  While not quite as fancy as McCarthy Creek, it did have central air conditioning, a balcony, and a good square footage.  It didn't have a pool/workout room or any amenities like that, but I had found a nearby gym at this point which did, so I wasn't worried about that.  The rent was almost $200 less than what I had been paying also, which was a nice touch, and the units were pretty well maintained, although the dryer could be a bit temperamental.  Anyhow I liked living there and I'm sure I would have stayed longer had I not finally managed to get hired by a major airline.

9.)   Allen House

I found this place through an apartment locator.  It was near downtown, where I was working.  They had a shuttle bus for residents that ran downtown, which I used a fair bit when I started since I didn't have a car for a few months after my move (it was sold along with some other items when I left Wisconsin.)  I actually rented two apartments here, the first of which didn't have a balcony and was a bit noisy being right next to the pool area.  When I was looking around for new digs, I was alerted by the office that a larger one bedroom was available that had a balcony and was in a quieter part of the complex - I was happy to make the switch as the new place also had quite a bit more square footage. I still have an "apartment tour" video of this place available on YouTube (if you're curious and want to waste a few minutes, click here for the relevant blog post) which I mainly did as an experiment to see if I could post a video taken from my phone there.  I was pretty happy living there at first, but over time all the downstairs neighbors moved out and the people who replaced them mostly had dogs - the downstairs units all had patios which was probably a selling point for pet owners.  So, it got quite a bit noisier as people would let their dogs out - I generally didn't mind this, though, unless it happened early in the morning.  One morning after a dog had been barking non stop for 20 minutes starting around 0700 I ended up pounding on one lady's door - she had let her dog out while she was getting ready for work.  As I got off work late and normally slept late I wasn't real happy about that.  Other than the dog noise, it was a nice unit, although it didn't have a washer/dryer either - but there was a laundry room on site as well as a wash/fold place nearby.  I probably would have eventually moved out after buying property, but due to airline industry mergers, that was not meant to be, and I ended up staying there until I left for the big city and moved into...

10.)  The Highrise

For my most recent move to the big city, I wanted a place with a nice view, so I rented a one bedroom place in a highrise south of work.  It was kind of pricey and looking back I should have gotten a bigger unit.  I didn't mind my stay here - they did have good maintenance - but I never really got completely unpacked either.  I quickly grew tired of the part of town the highrise was located in - things could get sketchy after dark although I never had any problems of my own - and after a few months there, I engaged the services of a realtor who found my current place, which is larger, has a washer/dryer, and is in a much safer part of town.  I didn't mind my time at the highrise - they did have some nice amenities - but I think I knew from the start I wouldn't be there long-term, a feeling only reinforced when I saw how much they wanted to raise my rent after I'd been there a year.  I was ready to leave the view behind and become a property owner again.  I do have to admit though, it was probably the nicest view I've ever had.



11.)  Where I Am Now

Although it feels like an apartment in some ways, I have a condo now - which I have written about previously here.  I like it pretty well, although anything that needs fixing in the interior of my unit has to be taken care of by me and not by a building maintenance guy.  Still, it's worth it to be building some equity again.  I have a nice (deeded) heated garage parking space, as well as an outdoor space I don't use often, along with a storage unit.  The good thing is that as I moved up to a two bedroom, I have a place to store boxes.  The bad thing is, since I can shut the door to that room, I haven't unpacked completely yet.  But I'm getting there.  Unlike my last apartment, I think I'm going to be here a while - possibly until I retire.  Which, after moving a dozen or so times in the last 15 years, would suit me just fine.  Below you can see the view from my living room, along with a local neighbor.  Not nearly as spectacular as my last view, but still very nice.