Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Studio Apt Furniture

April 4, 2012

John asks…

Am I paying too much for rent/utilities?

Okay, In February my boyfriend and I moved in with my mom and step-father. I’m 19, btw. There is an apartment behind the house and that is where we lived. It was one big room with a bed and some crappy furniture and a bathroom. $750 per month covered the rent, our chunk of the utilities, and food. The thing is, the mortgage for the entire house is only $740, monthly electric bills are only about $150, and neither of us eat very much. To top it all off, my uncle and aunt are moving down in a couple of weeks so my boyfriend and I have to move into the small spare bedroom inside the house, and she still expects us to pay $750 per month. I want to get her to understand how insane that is to charge for 1 bedroom. I can’t even save up enough money to put a deposit on an apartment because I spend so much on gas and picking up this and that for her every time I turn around. How much would be reasonable? COMPARISON: 2/br/2/ba house-~595/mo. Studio apt-~275/mo. (average w/in 50 miles)
I completely understand that an apartment is likely going to cost more to live in when I add in all of the expenses for electricity and whatnot. I don’t watch television, so I won’t have that expense. I don’t eat very much, so food costs will be pretty low. I will live closer to my job, therefore i won’t have to pay as much in gas. I want to move out so badly, I’m just afraid to try because my mom won’t let me save enough money to do it. She most of my money, and if she finds out that I have put any back she demands that I use it to buy groceries that she can afford herself or just pick up things for her at the store. Not to mention that my younger sister constantly begs me to give her money. I have a hard time saying no to people, obviously.

Administrator answers:

You’re paying waaaay too much. I don’t have a problem with your mother and step making some money on renting out space to anyone, including a family member, but it is outrageous to be greedy and gouge–and that it seems to me is exactly what they are doing.

You should explore some serious options:

–Negotiate strongly for reduction in rent, since they are asking you (actually forcing you to accept a reduction in accomodation). Indeed, how strongly can you press the point that they need to reduce the rent charged? Have a clear target(s) in mind before you bring the subject up.

–Determine whether, esp. With the housing and energy crisis, it is a “renter’s market” in your area. The other poster’s suggestion about explaining the situation and offering to pay deposit, etc., over time is a good one and can definitely be accomplished. As well, it will make your job of finding/getting a place to live much easier and faster.

–Have you checked into local motel prices to compare what you’re paying now to see if that would bring you in a better ability to save for your own, permanent place?

–You both may need to sacrifice here some in order to save even more aggressively so you can move. I would also seriously consider getting a part-time job or working extra hours at the jobs you already have to bulk up your savings so you can move on more of your own terms. Trust me, they’re gonna’ miss you when you’re gone, but don’t look back even for a rotten instant.

They’re charging you an exorbitant amount bc you let them get away with it. Indeed, when they told you what they wanted to charge in rent BEFORE you moved in, did you bat an eyelash? If not, you should have and donw so until your lashes fell out.

–If you can get the money together for a studio, or even negotiate your way into one, how much worse is that going to be than staying where you already are? And, it’s true, you will have more privacy–and total independence to boot. You mom and step can’t fleece you or push you around anymore.

Besides, the savings from paying $275/mo. Will help you save even more for money down a BETTER place with better furniture–there’s really no down side to this (be careful about the terms you agree to, month to month vs. Lease).

–Have you checked out housesitting and/or caretaking jobs (property care and/or personal care for the disabled or seniors) that may be available in your area to help you get out and save at the same time? Again, be careful about the terms of the agreement and get it in writing!

–Once you decide what steps you’re going to take, be careful before moving to give proper, written notice–I know it’s your mother and step, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they took you to court over more rent if you leave without 30 days’ notice.

Hopefully, you and your boyfriend have a strong relationship to help you get through this, bc you’re both going to need it. But, you just can’t keep throwing money down the drain (or down your mom’s or step’s gullets) with nothing much to show for it.

As well, once you’ve moved, make sure you have some money set aside in some serious savings effort to ensure your future independence and mobility should you need to move from your new, “temporary” living situation.

Good luck. Get moving…no pun intended…and in hindsight,…pun intended.

P.S.–Since she’s nickle and diming you, tell her that with the increase in gas, you need and/or expect her to contribute to your gas fund.

First sit and tabulate your time, mileage, and how much in gas you spend on a typical “errand” for her and name your price. Make HER negotiate it down. Laugh if she expresses shock that you would charge her, your own MOTHER!!!!

If there are any threats about your “future inheritance”, just tell her that you didn’t expect any…and then you don’t.

No matter what, you absolutely need to get off their “meat hooks”.

Nancy asks…

Is it safe for my cat to stay inside the bathroom while my studio apartment gets painted?

I recently had my cat boarded for a couple of days due to a necessary fumigation in my apt. Since I had to trash most of my furniture, I decided to set up an appt with a painter since my place hadn’t been painted in 10 years. BUT, my cat was so traumatized by her recent boarding experience that I don’t want to traumatize her again by boarding her again. There is no one who can take my cat for a few hours or for the night (since all my friends have pets and my cat likes no other living thing other than me!). Is it safe to keep her in the bathroom with the door closed (and towel under the door to keep out the fumes) while my place gets painted?
oh, and i forgot to mention — there isn’t a window in the bathroom to keep open and give her fresh air (there are a couple of windows in the rest of the apt, though).

Administrator answers:

My cat has the same type of personality. She’s a calico. (hates everything and everyone but me). But I wouldn’t risk it. But that’s just me. I tend to worry like crazy and I could never leave my cat locked in a bathroom in a possibly toxic house.

Please look around and talk to your vet. Certainly there is some way that she can be kept comfortable. Either in a specialized environment or with medication. It might cost a bit more but it would be worth it (in the long run for me) for peace of mind. They do have “pet resorts” which let them be free and not caged. Maybe talk to your local animal rescue about taking her for a bit or perhaps they have someone who can foster and who knows how to work with “cranky” cats. Sometimes you can be surprised at how helpful these people can be.
Good luck.

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