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UPDATE:  We moved from the apartment I describe below to our current apartment in June 2010.

Two years ago (summer 2007) we were looking to buy a house for the first time.  Houses in our area are very expensive, as are taxes.  So I grudgingly began looking at apartments as well.  We had one child and two careers at that time, and very little cash, at least for our area.  Gas prices had already soared, and we knew that moving further away to save on our mortgage and taxes would probably cause us to spend more on gas and require more hours of daycare for our son.

Staying in our apartment was out of the question.  It was approximately 450 square feet, but very poorly designed.  There was ONE closet, few cupboards and even fewer windows.  It was fine when I was single, it was cramped when we got married and my husband moved in.  It was overcrowded when we had the baby.  We stayed for the cheap rent, knowing that a baby would bring many new expenses but still not certain what they would be.   We lasted as long as we did only because we were rarely in the place at the same time – our kid went to daycare, and my husband worked nights.  I expected to live there for 2 years, and we were there for five.

As you might imagine, every broken-down house seemed an improvement over our tiny apartment.  But my husband was very brave and forced me to  face some facts about our situation:  We did not have the money to gut a place and pay rent while it was being fixed.  We did not have the money to gut a place, period.   Even though I could see the potential in several properties, (thanks to  watching too much HGTV) the truth was whatever the condition of a place, we’d be living with it as is for quite a while.

And so we started considering apartments.  And when I saw this one, I HAD to have it.  It seemed nicer than many of houses in our price range.  It’s in a quieter neighborhood but in our same town.  It had real rooms, and they’re pretty large, and 1 and 1/2 bathrooms, neither of which had to be reached through the kitchen.  Most importantly, it is over the laundry room rather than another apartment, and with a kid, that’s a huge relief.

My husband was not nearly as impressed: the rent was twice what it was for our tiny apartment.  But it was reasonable for an apartment this size.  He would have liked to have shopped around more, but I insisted: No one under us.  No charge for parking 2 cars.  Laundry in the building.  Heat included.  Nice neighborhood.   If we weren’t getting a house, I just wanted to get settled.  He decided to make me happy, and we took the apartment.

Can you see the hint of a rainbow in the upper right corner?  The full photo actually has a complete rainbow overhead – beautiful!