What's too much to ask? For an apartment, that is...
home is where the heart is, I know... but I want more...
I want to move. Actually, I believe we need to move. Our current apartment is cramped. Nate's swing takes up 3/4 of a doorway. Every wall is crammed with furniture or books or something. Nate doesn't even have a room to himself: his closet is crammed with some of our stuff and there's a huge shelf in his room holding the hubby's computer and our printer.
Plenty of people live in cramped quarters and manage. But the problem I'm having is that I believe Nate's going to need room to crawl and explore and right now, that's not something we can offer him. We can barely fit his activity mat in our living room. Our bedroom basically has nearly no floor space. The center of his room is a bit of open space, but we can't spend all of our time in his room. That's really not exploration.
So we've been looking for apartments. We can't afford to buy a house (no savings) and we can't easily afford the type of place I'd love to rent.
For example, my current favorite Craigslist post is a single family home with five bedrooms, two and a half baths, a living room and family room (play room!) and fenced backyard. I.e. Everything we want. But it's $2200 a month which, while a huge bargain for this area, is significantly more than we can afford.
This is when living in north Jersey sucks. You can rent single bedroom apartments for $1500 if they're in the right town, apartments that in other states would probably be $800. Here you have apartments with fenced-in yards that then don't allow dogs, which seems really unfair. (I understand why people don't want to rent to people with dogs, but it sucks when you have the dogs.)
So, Dear Universe, here are my apartment must-haves:
- It has to be in the town my parents and sister live in (the town I grew up in, because it has better schools than any of the surrounding towns and I don't want to move again before Nate starts school)
- Two, preferably three, bedrooms (because we do plan on another kid some day and, again, I don't want to have to think about moving again for a while)
- Laundry on site (I'm tired of trekking our laundry to my parents' house once a week)
- Spacious rooms (see: room for Nate to crawl and eventually walk around)
- Dogs allowed
- Can't be more than $400-$500/mth higher than what we pay now
- Residential street (don't want to have to worry about Nate or the dogs running out the door onto a busy street)
Then, past the must-haves, are the wishlist items:
- A fourth bedroom or spare room so that we can have an office and still have another bedroom for another child
- Off-street parking: we are sick and tired of dealing with our neighbors parking in front of our home (when they have driveways and we don't!) and worrying about alternate side parking
- A basement or attic for storage (we have a lot of stuff to store)
- First floor (so I don't have to worry about Nate or the dogs bothering a downstairs neighbor)
- One and a half or two bathrooms (I dream of not having to wait for the bathroom if it's occupied)
- Fenced-in yard
This is why when you're my age, you're supposed to have saved a lot of money and have really great credit so you can buy a home. But that's not what I or the hubby have done, and so here we are, scooting around a baby swing to get from the living room to the hallway and checking Craigslist and the local multiple listing service daily for any great rental deals. We can stay in this apartment as long as we like, so it's not like we have to rush and settle on an apartment that's only almost good enough, but I just hope there is an apartment out there that truly is good enough and I'm not just holding out for something that doesn't exist.