Living The High Life

Sure everyone has a lot to say about how to buy a house, where to buy a house and how to upgrade a house, but to ignore the benefit of apartment living is really to miss a trick.

Whether you’re thinking of renting an apartment, considering a move to downsize or hoping to get on the first rung of the property ladder, the time you spend now researching your ideal apartment is potentially the most important bit of research you’ll do in your life. Get it right and you’ll make sure that your deposit is money well spent. Get it wrong and you’ll wind up in the wrong building, in the wrong location at the wrong price.

It’s true that the criteria you’ll be looking at for an apartment will be very different to that of a house and it’s important to make the differentiation.  In this guide we take a look at the art of buying or renting an apartment and how to get your home sweet home.

Whether you’re hitting up a loft apartment in downtown Manhattan or checking out the rivercove residences on the hip and popular East Coast in Singapore, the basic principles remain the same. We take a look at what to watch out for and what to avoid:

Location x 3

You’re likely to be facing a choice that thousands of renters and buyers before you have faced over many years and that’s the question of budget over location. Sure you could get a great size apartment, for a great price but if it’s miles away from where you live, work or hangout then is having your dream home worth the hassle of a longer than necessary commute?

Well, the answer is that no, it probably isn’t. As a rule of thumb, though certainly not set in stone, you should generally prioritise where you want to live over the type of property you live in. In reality there is often a grey area with most buyers or renters able to find at least one property they can live with in an area they love.

So what should your dream location look like? It might be that you love the nightlife and general ambience of your preferred area. The reason might be altogether more practical with a shorter commute to work or closer proximity to friends, family or partner. Whatever the reason, it should be practical as much as idealized otherwise the cracks will begin to show pretty quickly.


If you’re looking to rent then this is going to be of a key concern for you. Aside from your monthly bills for rent and utilities, you’re going to need to find out if your apartment carries with it extra maintenance charges and how much your bills are going to mount up to. Check out if there are parking charges or other hidden items.

When it comes to buying an apartment the process can feel a lot more complex than buying a house. The reasons are generally tied up again with maintenance and who is responsible for what inside and outside the building. It is essential that are fully aware of what you are responsible for, in terms of repair work, before you sign on the dotted line. Finally, you’ll need to check if there any scheduled major works taking place because even if you’re in your apartment for a matter of days, you could be expected to take on part of the cost of a big repair or investment job.

This really is the key area for apartment buying, once you have that clear in your mind it’s just a case of looking out for the more general issues that can come along with any apartment.

Image from Pexels

The details

Everything has the ability to look better on paper than it does in reality and the same is definitely true of property. A suntrap balcony can easily turn into a small outside space hemmed in by industrial buildings or worse being overlooked by far-too-close neighbouring properties, affording you nothing in the way of privacy.

Think about the position of your living space. Will you catch the sun? When, and does that matter to you? If you’re looking at properties sandwiched between a top and bottom floor you’ll need to consider noise; noise you make and noise you’ll hear above you. Noisy neighbours or a complaining lower floor resident might offset the benefit you might receive in retaining more warmth being in the middle.

The rest of our checklist would apply to house or apartment but are still important. Check that windows are sound and free from cracking paint. Make sure they open and close properly and the keys are available and will come with the property.

Take a look at power points and make sure there are no dangling wires anywhere and that they are also free from cracks. You’ll also need to have an inspection of the plumbing and electricity, two major system that, if not functioning correctly, can make a serious dent in your budget.

If the apartment isn’t quite to your taste, do you have the necessary skills to redecorate? Could you live with it in the short term, decorating one room at a time, or would you need to have it completely repainted before you move in? These questions might seem straightforward but when faced with a well-staged apartment viewing, it can be hard to see the obvious flaws.

Your ideal apartment is out there somewhere but like every major decision in life, you mustn’t rush into it. You may think you know the area well but take a walk around to make sure you know where the nearest convenience store is, the transport links and the atm.

Make sure you look out for any hidden charges, for planned works and for all the little details that might ultimately cost you money in the long run. As boring as it sounds make a decision with your head and not your heart for your perfect home.

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