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First Apartment (seeking advice, long)

  1. Jul 6, 2008 #1
    So I have accepted a great job offer, and will be moving to Denver later this month to start. So this weekend I was in the city and looking for an apartment. I made a list of ten places, did a little bit of research (more on this later...), and was good to go. My top choice (walking distance from work, fantastic neighborhood, covered parking, great amenities, and with rent that is about $100 cheaper than most of the other places in the area) has a room that will be available a few days before I start work, and because of where I work, I will save almost $300 in fees/rent; sweet, everything looks great. So I check out the model (which is the same floorplan) and am shown everything the place has to offer. Everything looks awesome and this was my top choice (I thought), so I decide to do some more paperwork (never signed a lease though), and did not look at any other places (mistake!): In my defense, the trip was not all about apartment searching since I have some family in the area and had planned on visiting them before I knew I had the job.

    So once I get back home (8 hour drive later...), I am talking with a good friend of mine, and he wants to know more about the place, so I show him the website and he thinks it looks great. Then he wants to get a better idea of where it is in the city, so he goes to google maps, and I do too, and then BAM!

    After putting in the actual address, the apartment reviews come up (and they don't look pretty). You see, when I was doing my research I was paying attention to the apartment reviews, but for some reason I could not find reviews for this place (it was the only one I couldn't find reviews for out of the ten). Now if I had seen these reviews before I started looking, I probably would have never even taken a look at the apartments. However, I also realize that there is a lot of luck involved in finding the right place, and these reviews are highly subjective, but they still bug me... especially since the last four reviews are so negative.

    Link to the apartment website: http://www.bredtc.com/

    Link to the apartment reviews: http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/CO-Greenwood-Village-Pinnacle-at-DTC.html

    So now I am in a bit of a dilemma... How much weight do I put on these reviews? The speed bump issue in the garage won't be much of a problem since I'm on the first floor (parking spot and room), but the terrible appliances, thin walls (noisy), and trash issues, do not sound good. I don't want to be stuck in a crappy place for a year (I am going to ask about a shorter lease). I am planning on calling the other places and seeing what they have available and likely going back to Denver this week, but what if I can't find something? Should I just try my luck at this place? What do you all think? Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2008 #2
    Go back there and knock on some doors and ask the people actually living there what they think.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2008 #3
    I just moved to the boston area for grad school and took an apartment sight-unseen. It is a little below my hopes, but not that bad. I'd like to think in general that satisfaction with an apartment is proportional to how much energy you invest in finding something to your liking.

    In general I think people are more likely to go out of their way to complain about a place than to praise it, so internet review can be somewhat questionable.

    A more reasonable way to sample would probably be to talk to a couple random current tenants if that is possible. Its funny how when renting the landlord/property manager always wants your references, not vice-versa.

    Anyhow, thats probably not very helpful. But i saw a chance to commiserate about finding an apartment.
     
  5. Jul 6, 2008 #4

    lisab

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    First off, congrats on the job! I've heard it's a tough market out there this year, so it's great that you found something good.

    I wouldn't discount the reviews, especially since so many of them mention the thin walls. You wouldn't want to get stuck next door to someone who works the swing shift and likes to listen to death metal after work :grumpy: .

    Maybe you could ask people at your new job for advice on where to live.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2008 #5

    Evo

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    It sounds like the main complaint is noisy neighbors. One person's complaint was that there were 3 speed bumps in the parking garage. :rolleyes: There is also a very nice review near the top.

    I've seen apartments where there were tons of complaints about repairs not being made, deposits fraudulantly being witheld, really bad management. This doesn't sound too bad.
     
  7. Jul 6, 2008 #6

    Moonbear

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    Almost all apartments have paper thin walls unless you're renting a house. These sound like people who may have had incredibly unrealistic expectations. Aside from one complaining about something as stupid as speed bumps in the garage (maybe because people like him would otherwise drive too fast through the garage), another was complaining that the area where the trash is is unsightly. :rolleyes: Are dumpsters supposed to look pretty? As long as the trash is at the dumpster and not in the hallways, so what?

    And they're complaining about cheap appliances? How fancy do they expect them in apartments? If you're saying the rent is $100 less than most other places you looked, then I certainly wouldn't be expecting high end appliances...those are for the high end rents. As long as they run, that's all that's needed.

    Perhaps these are people who moved from cheaper places and didn't realize that the higher rent in the city is for living in the city, not for luxury living?

    But, your idea to try to get a shorter lease might be a good one. You never really know what a place is like until you live there, so start on a shorter lease if they let you, and that gives you more time to learn the area, find more suitable places if necessary, or find out that the place is just fine and extend your lease.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2008 #7
    My neighbors were delighted about their appartement. Until I moved in :tongue2:
     
  9. Jul 6, 2008 #8
    Thanks for the quick advice everyone!

    I forgot to mention another option that I'm looking at. From craigslist, someone is subletting their place for two months, and will be moving out this Saturday. The apartment complex was one of the top choices on my list (and is less than half a mile from the other place), it looks nice from online, the rent is about $100-150 more (not a big issue, but should be considered), but the reviews are better :smile:: http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/CO-Englewood-Timber-Creek.html

    This place in particular is about 170 square feet larger, and for the next two months the rent would only be $80 more a month (however, it would likely jump up about $100-150 given the current rates). I have contacted the guy, and he told me the place was still available last Friday, but since I found what I thought was my place, I told him I would have to decline; However, I sent him another e-mail discussing the situation, and asked about possibly taking a look at it later this week.

    I think the sublet could work out great: it would give me two months to try it out before signing a longer lease, and I would feel more comfortable with the area and know a little more. Thoughts?


    Cyrus, great idea: I will try to do this if I go back up to Denver this week.

    dcarl: I think you're absolutely right: people are much more likely to post negative reviews than positive ones, but every other place had better reviews, so I am still a little concerned.

    lisab: Thanks, I was thrilled to get the offer (especially with the current market). You bring up a good point, the tough part is no matter where I'm at, I can't choose who lives next to me. Do you think it would be a bad idea to check out my neighbors before I sign the lease? Like go over to the place and just check things out?

    Evo: You're right, compared to those issues, these complaints don't seem like much: I'm probably just overreacting.

    MB: I probably have unrealistic expectations too lol You're right, though, the higher rent is really just for the location, and is the biggest selling point for me.


    Overall, it looks like these are probably silly complaints, and I am probably just overreacting. Thank you all for bringing me back to reality. However, I will strongly consider the sublet if I can get it.

    Thanks, I feel a lot better now :smile:
     
  10. Jul 6, 2008 #9
    When I visited the dewalt plant as part of our design class, they had a room that had about 3" thick foam all around the walls. When they closed the door it was nearly deaddddddddd silent. You've never heard silence like this because any movements you make dont reflect back to you, they get absorbed by the walls. And this was with a bunch of machines testing drills and saws that were LOUD just outside that room.

    So, line your walls with foam. The plus side is when your gf makes you mad and you kill her, no one will hear her scream..........:devil: (Or she could kill you in your own house)
     
  11. Jul 6, 2008 #10

    I dont think those complaints about paper thin walls are all that silly, IMO.
     
  12. Jul 6, 2008 #11
    That sorts out the neighbours on the same floor, but not up and down.

    In high school, there was this copper pipe running from one bedroom to another, I think it was the radiator system. I thought I was pretty clever, I oiled the 30 years old bed, to the point that it was not making noise anymore. 9:30 pm, all the floor was trying to work. Bing... bing... bing... bing... That was one time we got caught big times...
     
  13. Jul 6, 2008 #12
    No, even the ceillings had foam. It was like a foam cave.
     
  14. Jul 7, 2008 #13
    If it helps at all, the apartment I'm currently staying at has terrible reviews. However, I have had zero problems and have no idea what they're talking about.
     
  15. Jul 7, 2008 #14

    cristo

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    If I were you, I would ask to be shown around the actual apartment, and not the model. It seems bizarre that people would sign up to a contract for a place they haven't seen.
     
  16. Jul 7, 2008 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    It's not always possible to see the actual apartment - people might still be living in it.

    Paper thin walls can be problematic - what finally convinced me to move out of my apartment and buy a house was that the neighbor downstairs got a new boyfriend, and she had to shout out instructions, if you get my drift.
     
  17. Jul 7, 2008 #16

    Moonbear

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    If you call ahead, you should be able to see it. And it's especially because people may be still living there that you want to see it, make sure you're not moving in after complete slobs who have wrecked the place (or if you are, make sure it's stipulated in the lease that things will be fixed before you move in, such as replacing carpets that are soiled beyond cleaning, etc.) All standard leases have a clause that the landlord can get in to show the apartment if the time and date are pre-arranged, to facilitate renting it to the next tenant.

    Looking at the website for the actual apartment complex (I had only looked at the complaints before), I'm not at all surprised it has paper thin walls, and not at all surprised people complain about it. We have a bunch of apartment complexes going up around here that are similar, all intended for student living here. They look very attractive to the students, pools, gyms, rec rooms, cafes, etc., all on site. Plus, catering to students, they put individual locks on each bedroom door so when they are finding roommates they don't know very well, they have that added security for their belongings. That all accounts for the higher rent they pay (there are a lot cheaper rooms for rent in houses around town, but then all you get with those is the apartment itself and nothing extra). The actual building construction, however, is as cheap as possible. I can certainly understand someone looking at that website and expecting a high end, luxury type apartment, but that's not what you're paying for there. You're still paying for a basic, run of the mill, student-like apartment, but getting lots of community amenities. Around here, they're noisy because students are living in them, not because they are any thinner walls than any other large apartment complex.

    Until you're paying absolutely exhorbitant rent, you're unlikely to have both a quiet. well-insulated apartment AND all those community amenities. So, which is more important for you? Do you just want a quiet place to sleep when you come home from work and aren't going to have time to enjoy things like pools and gyms anyway? Or do you want to live in a place where it's easy to meet new people and have things to do without having to spend extra to join gyms and drive to get to them, etc., but might be a bit noisier?

    My suggestion from a variety of experiences is, if you've been living in dorms or student apartments, and are accustomed to noise at night so you won't be sleep-deprived for the year, try a community like this one for a year since you're brand new to the area. It's the sort of place where you will have an easier time meeting new people. But, think of it as a stepping stone. When you know the neighborhoods better, and have established some local friendships, you can move out to a quieter location without so many other community features. Or, who knows, maybe you'll be starting to think about buying a house, or some such.

    On the other hand, if you're a really light sleeper, and noise is going to drive you nuts, look for a different place. You might want to avoid apartment complexes entirely if noise bothers you, and focus on finding apartments in houses (the sort of place where there are only two or three apartments in a building).
     
  18. Jul 8, 2008 #17
    I work security. THE number one complaint at ANY apartment complex is always loud neighbors. Almost all of the calls we get are about neighbors having parties, talking on the patio late, loud stereo, loud tv... One time I had some crazy woman call me three times in less than an hour to complain about her upstairs neighbor cooking and doing dishs after ten at night. You never know. The complaints may be legitimate and they may not be.
    One of the properties I work now is sandwiched between two complexs of the sort Moonie described. There are loud obnoxious parties at these places almost every single night. Then again while the place I work is much nicer we wind up with crazy things happening. Two suicides, guy almost shot his neighbor's kid who had climbed onto the roof of his unit, drunk residents hitting multiple other residents cars coming home at night, kid used me to make a false child abuse report on his father, thieves stealing catalytic converters, girl having her underwear and cheerleader uniform stolen from the laundry, trespassing teenage girls hurling insults at a guy for no apparent reason, and my favourite... the run-by assgrab which resulted in the place having a "sexual assault" on its crime history.
     
  19. Jul 30, 2008 #18

    BobG

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    Wow! How's this for an apartment review:

    It comes complete with photos of the vomited on fence and furniture. :rofl:
     
  20. Jul 30, 2008 #19

    turbo

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    For light sleepers in noisy apartment settings, there's always masking noise. You can set up a cheap fan and listen to that humming all night instead of following your neighbor's phone conversations. My wife and I lived in a lot of apartments for the first few years, and since I was chasing construction jobs, we often had to rent less-than-desirable apartments on rather short notice. A cheap box fan went with us wherever we went.
     
  21. Jul 30, 2008 #20

    Ben Niehoff

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    I lived in a BRE Properties apartment complex a few years ago, for two years. It was called the Pinnacle at Blue Ravine, in Folsom, CA. It was actually quite excellent. Decent construction (cheap, but not falling apart), good appliances, friendly, helpful managers, prompt and thorough maintenance, and quiet as a funeral.

    However, this place was mere blocks from the Intel campus (where I worked), and was populated by adults, families, and young Intel employees; no college students whatsoever. If there are college students in the place you're looking at, that would definitely affect the noise level.

    My place had plenty of complaints on Apartment Ratings, too. I don't know what any of them were talking about. It was probably the best apartment I've lived in.

    I was on the ground floor, which mitigates some issues (less noise, better AC), but exacerbates others (I got a lot of ants as soon as it got cold outside; but the exterminator was effective at getting rid of them).

    Of course, I don't know what the management is like at your place, but if my previous place was a reflection of BRE standards, then you'll be quite happy. As long as it isn't full of rowdy college students.
     
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