Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Housing decision looms July 14, 2011

Filed under: Boston,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 11:26 pm

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to decide if we’re going to renew our lease.  We’ll have lived in the same apartment for 5 years at the end of this lease.  Basically, I’ve lived here since graduation (with the exception of the summer right after graduation, when I stayed in a sublet steps away from Davis Square).

And why have I lived here this long?  Because this place pretty much rocks.  It’s convenient to Davis Square (okay, it’s a bit over a mile to walk, but not bad), and pretty close to the highway.  We have the top two floors of a multi-family house to share between 4 roommates. Rent is DIRT CHEAP, both because it’s split between 4 roommates and because it’s not really close to a T stop, nor is it in Boston.  Some roommates have moved out to go to grad school or buy a house, and we’ve found new ones through friends and Craigslist.  I’m pretty happy with this place.  Plus, the landlords are awesome!  They’ve come by whenever we needed anything, and are really nice people.  We sent them an email saying we were leaning towards moving out, and they sounded really sad about us leaving!

So, why would I move out?  One of our roommates is moving out to go to grad school.  We’re going to miss her!  And we’d need to look for someone new to replace her.

The other reason to move out?  Every year we say “we’re definitely moving out this time!”  And then we don’t.  And it feels like it’s time for a change.  My boyfriend and I have been living there all 5 years (in fact, we didn’t actually start dating until we were there almost a year!).  And it seems like we’re at the age/stage in our relationship where we should actually get our own place.  Timing being what it is, we couldn’t really buy a house/condo in time to move in before our lease ended.  So we’ll be looking at a new, smaller apartment.

And that’s part of the problem.  Anywhere we look wont seem as great at the place we have now.  It’ll be smaller, more expensive, farther from something (either public transit, friends’ places, the highway I take to work, or the highway my boyfriend takes to work).  And I’ve grown accustomed to having a dishwasher and laundry in my house (I swear I’ll never move into a place  that doesn’t have a washer/dryer, or into a place with coin-op laundry).  I’m spoiled, I guess.  But really, I know that having these sorts of things would keep me saner and keep the house cleaner.  Plus it’s a nightmare trying to look for a new place.

So what is it?  Laziness in looking for a new place?  Plus having to pack and move and everything?  It’s also the money.  Having a cheap rent has been one of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to save so much money these past 5 years.  And I want to continue to save money so I can eventually buy a house.  And do all those other important things.

Right now, we’re still leaning towards moving out.  We’re going to check out a possible new apartment next week, and have been searching online with sites like PadMapper (it searches Craigslist and other postings and filters out places that don’t match your requirements and puts the places that match your search on a nice map).  I’m thinking back on when we found our current place, and it was lots of searching, scheduling, and driving around.  And then we just happened to refresh our Craigslist search and this place was at the top of the list.

We’ll see what happens.

How have you found your current residence?  Through friends, Craigslist, a realtor?  Would you give up certain “luxuries” (dishwasher, laundry, second bathroom) to save money?  What features are non-negotiable (gotta have them), and what things would you give up?  How do you narrow down your choices and shop for the best place?  I’ll be sure to let you know what we end up doing!

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12 Responses to “Housing decision looms”

  1. I can completely relate to this post! My roommates and I decided to renew our lease more out of convenience than anything else. It’s such a hassle going through the process of looking for a new place and then moving in. I wish I had looked around a little more — my rent is far too high for what we’re getting, even for Boston!

  2. Julia Says:

    What about staying in your current apartment until you buy a house/condo? It sounds like you might be doing that soon, and if so, it would make sense to keep saving. You could even start looking now, to stave off that feeling of needing a change 🙂

    As for me, I’m staying in my current place because I don’t want to move and I have no major complaints. If I were to get a new job somewhere in Boston, I would definitely move back to the red line, and get a subletter to take my place. But for now, I’m happy where I am.

    • Stephanie Says:

      Well, we’d still have to split the rent between the two of us…or maybe 3 of us, since Mike (3rd roommate) may be thinking of buying a place as well. Plus, I’m not sure how soon we’d buy a place.

      If we didn’t have to find a new roommate, we’d probably stick around at our current place!

      I’d love it if you moved back to the red line 🙂

  3. Are you able to change from a lease to a month-to-month since you’ll be looking for a place to buy?

    • Stephanie Says:

      Not sure how soon we’d be buying…And the month-to-month would only work if the remaining 3 of us do all stay…otherwise it makes just as much sense (cost-wise) to move.

  4. The Roomie Says:

    I swear, if I weren’t going to grad school it would be awesome to stay here!

  5. eemusings Says:

    My non negotiable is mixer taps in both the bathroom and kitchen (it’s amazing how many places, especially small one-bedroom types, have ancient plumbing. The market for those kinds of properties it so tight LLs don’t feel the need to bother getting with the century, I guess.)

    • Stephanie Says:

      Yeah, I’ve noticed that some places really don’t keep up with the times. You have to pay more for a place that DOESN’T look like it’s falling apart!

  6. I just stumbled upon your blog from other PF bloggers! 🙂 Had to comment because this post is really relevant to my life. The hubs and I decided to stay at the place we currently rent for the time being – we considered moving to a larger/more expensive place because we are expecting a baby. But in the end we decided to stick to our place because of the low rent, it’s month-to-month, and it’s quiet . . . while it would be nice to have a third bedroom, a larger kitchen with a diswasher, and more closet space, we’ve made it work here for a few years and I guess, in the end, I’m kind of lazy about it too! I hate moving!


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