Feeling Flat – Making the Transition from a House to an Apartment.
Making the shift from living in a house to a flat can seem daunting. By their very nature, houses typically offer more space and privacy than flats. There will definitely need to be some sacrifices made, and a period of adjustment.
Flats and apartments can offer multiple advantage over houses. Their smaller stature often makes flats easier to clean, while you’ll also likely save money on bills. Your rent or mortgage repayments will likely be smaller, and as smaller spaces warm up faster, you’ll reduce your energy bills. Some apartment blocks also feature in-house gyms, concierges and dedicated superintendents to fix snagging issues.
It’s perfectly possible to be happy making the move from a house to a flat. In fact, it may end being the best decision that you ever made. Just make the move with your eyes open and understand what compromises you’ll need to make.
Before committing to an apartment or flat, make sure that its location meets your needs. We are not referring to geography here, but rather the logistics of where your new home lies within a block. For example, a top floor flat offers advantages over those below. The laws of physics dictate that heat rises, so your apartment will be warmer – you can benefit from the central heating of your neighbors. You’ll likely receive more natural light through your windows. You won’t have anybody living above you, potentially minimizing noise. It’s also more secure. Unless you’re burgled by Spider-Man, nobody will be able to gain access to your property through a window.
The flip side to this is that you’ll have to make your way to and from the top floor every time you go out. Imagine that you are returning from the supermarket with several heavy shopping bags. If the lift is out of order, do you want to drag these up multiple flights of stairs? Lower-level apartments are also frequently cheaper than elevated counterparts.
Weigh up these decisions before deciding if you’d rather station yourself high or low in an apartment block.
Unless you’re moving from an exceptionally small house to a surprisingly large apartment, you’re going to be sacrificing space. You will need to treat the move as downsizing and embrace minimalism. If you try to squeeze everything from your house into a flat, you’ll live surrounded by clutter. It could be time to consider a self-storage unit.
Make sure you measure everything up before making the move. You may not have enough room for multiple furnishings, and you could need a snugger sofa than what you’re used to. Even your bed may need to be downsized from a king to a queen or double.
The biggest transition, however, will be your general living areas. Many apartments have fewer rooms than houses, especially if the flat has an open plan set-up. If you live with other people and are used to having your own space, make sure the apartment has ‘zones’ to escape to. This will prevent you from living out of each other’s pockets and driving each other crazy.
If you’re moving into a flat, you’ll potentially be living much closer to your neighbours than you are used to. Making the transition from a terraced house to an apartment will be less jarring than a detached home, but you will still need to keep things in mind.
Your primary consideration must be noise. You’ll potentially have neighbours to your left and right, above and below. This means that you’ll need to be mindful of how much noise you make. Don’t stomp around on a hardwood floor – you’ll drive the people downstairs crazy. Watch the volume of your music and your TV too, and don’t get off on the wrong foot with a loud, unannounced housewarming party!
Think about the security of communal living, too. This can be a great thing. More neighbours means more people keeping an eye on your property while you’re away. If something is out of the ordinary, a neighbour on friendly terms can keep you updated.
Just remember that there will also potentially be more strangers in the vicinity of your home. Don’t leave anything valuable, such as a bicycle or a delivery of expensive items, out in the hallway for anybody to access. You cannot control who has access to shared areas of an apartment block.
Assess the availability of parking if you’re moving into an apartment complex, especially if you have multiple cars in your household. You may have previously taken the idea of having a driveway for granted.
In an ideal world, the apartment block will have a car park. If that’s the case, learn if there are designated spaces or it’s a first-come, first-served arrangement. Think about visitors to your home, too. Hogging all the parking spaces can quickly make you unpopular with neighbours.
If there is no designated parking, look into alternatives. You may need to leave your car on a nearby road or use a public car park. In the latter case, weigh up the financial implications. If you’re spending everything you save on living costs in parking fees, it may be worth reconsidering the move.