Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Garage Two Bedroom Apartment Plans

June 8, 2012

Ken asks…

Buying a small house or condo versus renting an apartment?

This summer, I will be moving out of my parents house to attend college (3 years to go) in another city.

The city where I plan on moving isn’t known for low rents, however it has fairly low entry-level housing costs. Therefore, I’m in a bit of a predicament.

For about $525/month, I can get a decent one bedroom apartment with heat and water paid. As that is rent, it’s money I’m never going to see again.

For about $600/month, including condo association fees, I can get a newly updated condo that also includes heat and water. It’s a two-bedroom unit with a garage (something I wouldn’t get with the apartment). I understand the condo association fees aren’t much different than rent, but its a small fee ($150).

With such a small difference in price, I’m a bit unsure of which route I should take. I’m open to suggestions or other people’s experiences in this matter. Any advice would be great. Thanks!

Administrator answers:

The condo may only be a better deal if you think it is going to appreciate. If condo prices are going down, you could lose your down payment. And you also have to consider the time it might take to sell a condo.

Susan asks…

Are thier just too many problems with the apartment?

Ok, I just got a new job that trippled what I was making a month and I decided to upgrade my apartment. I searched around considering location, space, and price until I found this great deal. I found a two bedroom apartment on top of a garage for 450 a month in.luding city utilities. I said I”ll take it! Well we just went up this weekend to sweep the floors before we move in all of our stuff next weekend and we found that the previous owner had a pet and you can imagine what was on the carpet. We rented a carpet cleaner and cleaned all the rugs. But this was only one of many problems.
1. The foundation has some issues. The apartment sits on top of a double garage and the foundation that is sitting on the garage is rotted and falling apart (we spoke to the landlord who said he was fixing that asap)
2. Plug outlets in the house are loose and need replaced.
3. The back porch looks like its welting (another thing the landlord says he is going to fix)
4. My mother complained about a light in the shower and a wall that looked like it was leaning in the kitchen and how the floors were uneven.
There is no lease, We plan on buying rental insurance to protect our things. There are harsh winters in my area.
We decided that we arent buying the place and we can leave if the landlord does not fix things or the place falls apart so we are going to take it day by day.
QUESTION: Would you move in? Are their an legal issues you can think of? Should I type up a sort of lease and have both parties sign (what should I include in the lease?)

Administrator answers:

Just imagine what its going to take to replace a foundation and a porch. He is only saying he’s going to fix it asap so that you move in. Its not going to be fixed. Personally i wouldn’t move in for my own safety’s sake. Rotted floors mean mold and bugs. Im sure you can find something better.

Lisa asks…

Does this business sound like a good investment? What do you think?

husband and i found a building for sale for $90,000 its a bowling alley and a cafe it does not have a liquor license. it has a 3 bedroom apartment above it and a three stall garage in the back, also it has a lot of off street parking and the place was remodeled about three years ago.
all equipment is included for the kitchen and the bowling alley.

my husband has a two year accounting degree and he has a degree as an automotive tech and a degree as a diesel tech
he is currently working as a forklift tech making $30,000 a year
he would keep his job and income and the bar would be my income and my job. :)
we live in an apartment right now.

our plan is to buy this place and run the bowling alley and also run a restaurant and a bar as well.
we will live in the apartment above.
the people that currently own it will train.

so we will put a bar along with a small dance floor in
there is nothing like this for about 70 miles. although it is a small town of about 800 ppl there a many towns about 8 to 15 miles away.

we also have a good friend that could help manage (as an employee not a partner) she managed a bar for a while. i also worked at a bar for a few years.

i know that there will need to be a lot more research done but i want to know if this seems like a good business idea? what do you think?

we want to call it the Back Alley Bar
with this deal even if we don’t run a business we will still be able to live here because of the apartment and maybe eventually renovate the lower level to make our living space larger.

so yes we would have a business loan but no mortgage.
and right now $90,000 would be our budget for a mortgage.

my husband WILL keep his job.
it’s still in business, family decided they want to move

Administrator answers:

Well….. I guess you could make a go of it….BUT….WHY did the bowling alley and restaurant stop operation in the first place?…… I think might be a mistake unless you do research on the history (did a factory close) and future (is a Wall Mart going to be built, etc) of your area and suit your business to fit the changes that took and will take place.

Remember too that to borrow $90k will take a down payment……and is there money to remodel (new sign, hiring employees, buying food stock, taxes….and by the way, liqueur licenses are not transferable)
I am not saying this is a bad deal….but from my experience, it always costs more than you plan.
In fact, if the location is good buy it for the land…..demolish the bowling alley….keep the living space and restaurant (which you can run without employees) and hold the land for a high price later to something like a strip mall developer…etc…..

Mary asks…

Which floorplan would you pick (details) and which do you think has the better deal? I will award 12 points.?

All of the floorplans have washer/dryer, dishwasher, reserved parking, storage, patio, and high speed internet. Garage will cost $30 a month (is this worth?.)

Ground/first floor? First floor has two access from back and front. It has fireplace and other floor plans do not.

Comment – I dislike to have outdoor storage, because people could easily walk on patio ground floor and try to break into the storage.

Second floor? The ceiling height is shorter than 3rd floor, because it is about three inches above the door frame. It has baloney and storage. I won’t worry as much as first floor, because on second floor, people would need to climb up the ladders and try to break in the storage… No matter what, I would still have the lock on for the storage. There are not many thefts and it could happen anywhere…

Third floor? Third floor has additional room called sunroom (skylight light windows) and it could be good for an office/study room… With the sunroom, the apartment will cost $80 more. But… the two bedroom apartment (with no skylight windows) will cost $60 more than one bedroom apartment… It also has the baloney and storage, similar to second floorplan, but the third floor storage is a little smaller than second floor…
I am looking for 1 BR apartment. I just wonder if you think that 2 BR or 1 BR with sunroom have better value than 1 BR.

The garage sounds pretty good for $30 a month, but I hope that remotes do not have same freq. as other apartment nearby. If they do, then they open up with their remotes. I won’t leave anything value inside, but a car. I will talk with the manager about this issue.

Administrator answers:

Are you specifically looking for a one or two bedroom? If you’re only looking for a 1 bed and no extra space then I’d go first floor. Yeah, it may be easy to break into the storage space cause it’s on the ground floor but no theif is going to go for an apartment complex anyway – too many possible witnesses. If you are looking for a 2 bed so you can have extra space I would go for the 3rd floor, that sun room sounds nice. A garage for $30 a month! Are you kidding that’s cheap as H—! I was paying $75 per month for a garage when I had an apartment in 2003. If you even remotely think you might use the garage – go for it, it’s worth it.

David asks…

Moving cats into our new house?

My two kitties (Mimzy McMegaClaws and Charles Windsor) are strictly indoor only cats. Why? Because we live in the country and they will get eaten by coyotes, wild dogs, mountain lions or other wildlife.

I’m stressing because my babies have only ever known the apartment they live in now. They are very loving, but shy around strangers. We plan to put the litter box in the garage…. So, here’s my plan. Please offer any additional advice to make this transition easier!

I plan to keep the cats holed up in their bedroom (AKA the guest bedroom) at the apartment while we move all the large furniture. Over the next week, I’ll be moving all the little stuff in my Honda over to the new house so it doesn’t take long. Once the furniture is moved, I plans to load up the cats, litter boxes (we have two. Two cats = two litter boxes), and take them to the new house. I’ll run in and place their litter boxes in the garage. Where should I open their cage? Do I start them out in the garage where the litter box is? Do I start them out in the upstairs master suite (which will be their “safe room” that doesn’t get traffic besides my husband and myself)? Do I put one litter box upstairs for now and the other one in the garage? I don’t want them to be too terrified and I don’t want them to poop on the brand new carpet, either.

The move isn’t stressing me out. The only thing that’s stressing me out is making sure my beloved babies are happy, healthy and calm.
I like JCK’s idea. I’m buying a dog kennel gate to attach to the sides of the garage door so there will be a three foot gate in case we need to open the garage for ventilation. Like I said, I have two litter boxes (one resembles a potted plant with a hollow “pot” so I can use that one upstairs). I’ll scoop twice a day, I guess. It’s bizarre that I’m so calm about everything else, but STRESSED about the cats, lol! I love them more than anything! This house is good for them as it’s about five times the size of the apartment we’re in now.

Administrator answers:

Put the cat box down so the cats the food and water and the box

Jenny asks…

Roommate leaves space heater on…?

Sorry this is so long, but I feel that you need all the details!

My best friend broke up with her boyfriend who she lived with and needed a place to stay. My husband and I agreed to let her move-in with us with one days notice in our tiny guest bedroom with a private bathroom. It’s on the other side of our house, which gives us all more privacy. She moved 5 days ago and will be paying us $300 a month for rent, cable/internet, utilities, and food (a typical 1 bedroom apartment in our area is $350-400 plus utilities). She had previously lived with us this past summer when she was between boyfriends but moved out after 2.5 weeks to live with her boyfriend of 6 days. Before she moved in this time, I warned her that the room is not well heated or insulated and can get very cold in the winter, but there is an electric blanket that she is welcome to use. She told me she had a space heater, so she would be okay.

Well, she came out on day 2 and told me that since her space heater takes a long time to heat up she’s just going to leave it on all the time. My husband and I instantly told her that was NOT okay, as they are a fire hazard and would take a lot of electricity. We asked her to not have the heater on if she wasn’t in the room and she reluctantly agreed.

Two days later I walked by and saw that it was on while she was out and unplugged it. She apologized and said she forgot about. No biggie, mistakes happen I told her, just please be more careful about it.

Last night my husband had to run an errand and the garage door wouldn’t work. She was sitting in the TV room with us, but had TWO space heaters on- one in her room and one in her bathroom. They drew so much energy that we couldn’t use our garage door. We told her she could only use one heater at a time. I could tell she was a little upset because I knew that she had just bought the second space heater, and she didn’t really agree to not having both on at the same time. She is the type of person to think that people are just being jerks or mean when they ask her to do something she doesn’t like. I am sure that she has already complained to our mutual friends how we won’t let her heat her room.

Bottom line- my husband and I do not want her to have a space heater on if she’s not in the room or if she’s sleeping, however I would be okay if she turned it on 20-30 min before planning on being in her room. We are worried about the fire hazard and the electric bill. If the electric bill goes up too much my husband wants to ask for more rent. She’s not very good with money and has only lived on her own for a few months several years ago (she’s 28), she’s always lived with her boyfriend at the time. I really do think she thinks we are just being mean jerks and doesn’t understand what it’s like to have to pay all the bills and think about electricity usage. I don’t want to lose her friendship, she’s a great friend, just being hard-headed about the whole heater thing. Any suggestions?

Administrator answers:

Just explain to her the cost of the bills will dramatically increase if she leaves it on and its her responsibility to pay the extra when it does, even show her a bill of what you two both pay on your own to what the amount has now become with her adding to it.

She doesnt sound as if she cares one bit about what you think as she went out and bought another heater! If she carries on ignoring you take out the fuse from the plug when shes not in, when she sees its not working tell her its cos she probably burned them out by leaving them on all the time!

Nancy asks…

Trying to pick the right house , found two , now which one ?!?

Ok , I need to weight some of my pros and cons here !! I thought some anonymous opinions might be cool . This is the deal , I was looking for a house to buy for my family and we found two we love . When does that ever happen ? Two houses that are perfect for us ! We even went out looking another day in hopes that we could find a tie breaker , we didn’t ! There are some major differences in these two houses and my kids are too little to give their suggestions .

The first house we saw we looked just to see it , we didn’t think it would be in good condition because of the size compared to the price . Took us completely off guard ! This house is stunning , big old white house set far off the street , mature landscaping , brand new winding walkway leads up to a front porch and then inside it is completely move in ready . Even the yard is ready to go which is nice because with two little kids unpacking is more then enough ! Its priced right but it is almost water front which in Florida means $$$ flood insurance . This house has two living areas though which is nice for a family with kids , we can have a playroom and still have a nice formal living area for holidays etc . I love this house . The two kids bedrooms are very small though , I didn’t measure but once they are teenagers I am sure I would get some flack about it . I do feel like I would live in this house FOREVER and never regret it .The neighborhood is 50/50 though , it is this gorgeous water front area in a Historic district which I love because I am a huge history buff . Some of the houses must be multi millions and have amazing history . Then the other half of the area is duplexes and run down , almost looks like a gypsy camp . Personally I like a little variety and culture BUT I have kids so safety and quality schooling are a concern .

Now for the second house , at first sight I almost didn’t even get out of the car ! I love my realtor though so just to be respectful of her time I got out . The house is bam , right on top of a very busy street , large too . Then you walk in and it has a small living area and it has this darkish feeling . However the bathroom is wide and nice , the bedrooms are very cute and spacious , one even has tons of shelving built into the wall with a low clothes hanging section perfect for my little one . The master has a 5×5 walk in closet which I love . Then instead of a garage ( which we dont use in Florida anyways) there is an apartment , 2 rooms , full bath and mini kitchen . Just perfect for my mom . The kitchen is nice , newer and open and there is a “mud room” for laundry and storage . The best part is the huge backyard . Some negatives are that there are NO appliances in the house and the house needs some cleaning , like grout ( which I have a shark so its not really a big deal ) and the carpets in the bedrooms smell like wet dog and need to be ripped up . I expected it to need work considering the price but being able to move right into the other house is a plus .

When we first started looking the 2nd house with the apartment attached is exactly what we were looking for and then we get there and they have lowered the price another 10,000 dollars which is huge . However we are spell bound and in love with the bigger move in ready house , it is a little over 30,000 more in price but still in the budget . So are being ungrateful and greedy ? Should we take the cheaper house that is almost just what we wanted OR do with go with the amazing historic find that seems to have been waiting for us but is more money and not exactly the floor plan we desired ? Two kitchens is a nice idea ! I am sure there are so many more perplexing details but that is the general idea . I have no idea !!! My heart wants the big white house but my mind and gratefulness tell me to consider the smaller and cheaper house . I am just afraid that if we go for the smaller house that I will want to move on someday and I am really ready for my forever home . Ugh , any help ?!!
Yes Judy we can insure it !

Glenn ,I dont want to resale , I said I am looking for my forever home ! Its more then I wanted because I never dreamed I could find something like this in my price range .

Administrator answers:

I don’t think you are paying enough attention to location. Both of these that is your big complaint- and that will determine your resale years from now more than anything else.

From listening to what you said- I think you really only want the big old one. Look at the bad part of the neighborhood- do you think ten years from now it will be better or worse?
Let’s assume this will be your forever home…Do you know why location is by far the most important element in determining value of a piece of real estate? Because it is the one thing you really can’t change. Pay a lot more attention to the location!

Laura asks…

I need a rough estimate of what my home might be worth or a website that I can input my info & get an estimate?

I live in Knoxville, TN zip code 37918 in a nice suburban part of town that is pretty popular and wanted with homebuyers. I bought the house from the bank as it was a foreclosure so I bought it under its value so I’m not sure what it is worth. I am planning on selling it soon (I will get a formal apprasial in the near future) because when I bought it, I bought it so I could grow into it (for when I get married and have kids) and not have to upgrade in the future, but the longer I live here, the more I realize that it is WAY too big for me and too much for me to care for. I’m planning on selling it, purchasing a small plot of land, and putting a double wide manufactured home on it (on a side note, someone tried to convince me to do this 2 years ago because I refused to because I thought that they were trashy and I would look trashy for getting one because I had a stigma attached to them but when I went to go look at them the other day I was AMAZED and fell in love with a model that I have my heart set on). I am trying to figure out what my house is worth now before getting the whole process started because I know how much the home I want is going to be, and I want to know how much I have left to purchase land and I’m also wanting to pay my grandparents back the money I borrowed from them to buy my current home. I want to make a downpayment on the land and the home to hold it before putting my house on the market, and I don’t want a formal appraisal done until right before putting it on the market. I am not looking for anything concrete or perfect, just a round about estimate so I can know what price range I am shopping for. So here are the details of my current home:

- Bought the home in foreclosure from the bank for $101,900
- Roughly 1,800 square ft
- 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths (when I bought the home, it was listed as 3 bedrooms, but I am not sure why. From what I understand in real estate terms, a room is considered a bedroomn if it has a door, window, and closet; the 4th bedroom that the listing didn’t consider a bedroom has all these things. Granted, the closet is very small, but it does have one, and I use it as a bedroom. Any info of why it may not be considered a bedroom would be appreciated, because I plan on listing it as 4 bedrooms)
- 2 car garage (tight fit, but it will fit 2 cars)
- Upstairs has 2 full baths, 3 bedrooms, living room, dining room, and kitchen
- Fully finished basement (apartment like area) that has a half bath, 1 bedroom, and extra living/family room, that is attached to the garage (door connects) with a large closet/storage area attached to the bathroom
- All appliances included: built in stove/range/oven and microwave, refridgerator, washer/dryer
- Gas fireplace in upstairs living room
- Bay windows in living room
- Covered front porch and uncovered back deck (both newly painted/stained)
- Large lot size, decent front yard, large fenced in back yard
- Planning on recarpeting entire house before putting on the market
- Attached bathroom and large walk in closet to master bedroom
- Subdivision lot in upper middle class neighborhood (houses on the market in this neighborhood usually go VERY quickly; for example my house was on the market for TWO DAYS when we made an offer and there were five others trying to offer on it. I have never seen a house in my neighborhood on the market more than a month)
- Home in very good condition, some minor repairs needed but I will be making all those before putting on the market (planning on having the realtor that sold me the house come and make suggestions on everything I need to do before selling it so it will be in the best shape possible to bring the most for the house)
- The realtor told me at the time I bought the home that once it was fixed up it would be worth roughly $160,000 (I don’t entirely trust that; of course she would want me to think I was getting an amazing deal because she wanted to sell the house)
- The research I have done shows that based on the county tax records appraisal value for the other houses in my subdivision range from $120,000 to $200,000 (I am not sure why there is such a large gap in value because all the houses in my subdivision are very similar and most have identical floorplans; there are probably only 3-5 different floorplans for all the houses in the subdivision and all the lot sizes are same. Also, I am assuming that the tax appraisal records are a low estimate as people usually want a lower appraisal for taxes so they have to pay lower taxes)
- House is not in the Knoxville city limits, and is in Knox county. This means that the property taxes only have to be paid to the county and there are no city taxes which makes the property taxes significantly lower
- Central heat and air, gas heat, city water and sewer (no well water or septic). Energy efficient. Even with the large home, utilities usually only about $150 a month for everything in all sea
Things I forgot to add:

- Street the house is on (don’t know if it helps, but I know where the house is matters almost as much as the build of the house itself) is Twin Brooks Blvd. I won’t be adding the street number because I don’t want you showing up at my house :) no offense
- If you don’t know, a website where I can input this info and get a FREE, INSTANT estimate that I don’t have to talk to anyone would be just as helpful
- Please no snide comments about anything. I know I won’t get anything within probably $5,000 of the actual worth, I just want an estimate. No need for rudeness.
- Please feel free to ask me for any additional info that I may have not added because I didn’t know it mattered to the worth of the house.

Well Miss Know-It-All perhaps if you had read what I stated (which is a lot, but if you are going to take the time to comment, I think you can take the time to read) then you would know I DIDN’T want a manufactured home when I bought my home, I wanted to go with something that would be better in the long run, and I ended up with a big hassle and a big load of things I don’t need. Let’s see: I am a 22 year old single woman with no children, I have a 2 story, 4 bedroom, 3 bath home that requires work and a whole lot of cleaning that I don’t have time or desire to deal with. I spent a lot of money getting and maintaining this house that again I don’t need. I use 2 rooms: my bedroom and the kitchen. Heck, I don’t even use the living room and I am barely home! So, which makes more sense? Keeping this HUGE place that is like a ghost town that I don’t have time to upkeep, or downgrading to a manufactured home with a smaller space that is what I need, selling this place that is completel

Administrator answers:

There are only two ways that i could suggest:

1. Go to any any real estate agent in your area and discuss about selling your house and in the initial stages he will give you an estimate or your house. This is the decent and accurate way because the real estate agent knows your area better.

2. Http:// This will help your with your concerns

James asks…

What should my grandma do? Please help!?

My great grandmother has been living in the same apartment for about 14 years now. She has never missed a payment. The renter raises the rent every year by $50. Right now she is paying $700 for a two bedroom one bathroom apartment. The apartment has it’s own two car garage. It’s pretty much a tiny house. It’s on the bad side of town tho.
A guy that lives with the landowner said that they where planning on raising the rent up to $900 for January.
The landowners are not fixing anything tho. One big thing that my grandmother want fixed right away is the AC. They put a cooler in but in where we live it gets extremely hot and humid. Today is was 108 degrees. My grandmother already told the landowner to fix it and the landowner sent someone and they “fixed” it but it still doesn’t work. My grandmother recently told her again this week and the land owner said that if it didn’t work then pretty much oh well.
What can my grandmother do? She can’t be living in the heat? She is almost 89yrs old and the heat is unhealthy to her.
Can she refuse to pay rent until they fix her AC?
What can she do?
haha I live in CA. She can only afford $700. She doesn’t work and her SSIncome is only a little more than that. Houses for rent here are always over $1000.

Administrator answers:

No, she can’t withold rent in CA, AC is not even required here. She needs to sue in small claims court for breach of contract.

She has to be given a 60 day notice of the raise, so she can move elsewhere if she does not agree. You did not say what city she is in, some will not allow this high of a raise. Not many, but some.

Is she on the section 8 list? You should see about getting her on, she would be high on the list. If you need help figuring out where to go email me the city she lives in, I will help you.

Think about buying her one of those upright portable ac units at homedepot. I would buy one for any elderly in my family, just in case.

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