Location, location, location: Renters just wanna live centrally (this one does, anyway)

It’s funny how different people’s priorities can be when house hunting.

The only negative about our current place, in my eyes, is how freezing cold it is. That and the fact it doesn’t have a full stove. The cold issue, however, is the one that might prompt me to move sooner rather than later. (It’s so cold I’ve actually been keeping half an eye on listings, but there just aren’t that many options out there, certainly none that are overall better than this.)

My MIL, however, seems to think it’s a bit of a dungeon, due to the small size and the fact all the windows have dark tints, for whatever reason. Apparently there’s a two-bedroom house available for rent she knows of and suggested to T, but I can tell you right now that we would not take it. Why?

That house is in Te Atatu, which is further out than where we currently live. That would increase the cost of my bus pass, and I can guarantee the commute would only be worse. Right now, we live literally a minute away from the bus stop, not to mention a few minutes from the local hub with mall, train station, multiple supermarkets, butchers, grocers, Asian stores and organics shop. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’d happily sacrifice a degree of convenience to live in Te Atatu if we were buying a house there, but not for a rental.

For me, as a renter, location is the first thing I look at. I know I won’t be able to afford to live as centrally when we buy, so I’m making the most of it. Even if I had a car of my own, I couldn’t/wouldn’t drive to work, so access to public transport is paramount.

I can’t do much about cold and damp because that’s the default for New Zealand rentals, so onto the next thing on the list…

Next, I stand my ground on mixer taps in the bathroom and kitchen. I will not live somewhere where hot and cold water pour out of separate taps (yes, this is still common in a lot of rentals). That is barbaric; it’s 2014 and any landlords who haven’t updated their plumbing need to get with the programme.

Having lots of space comes last for me. But I guess it comes first for my MIL, and if T was single I think it might be his top criteria, too. Me, I grew up in a fairly small house. I hate cleaning. And I’m not big on entertaining at home. Home is where I go to escape from the world.

What do you look for when choosing somewhere to live?

18 thoughts on “Location, location, location: Renters just wanna live centrally (this one does, anyway)

  1. You’ve got that right!

    Central location is not a negotiable for me. I’ve never been able to figure out the appeal to driving some unholy distance to go to work (or to plays, or to music, or to sporting events) every darned day of your life. That applies to buying as well as renting: I’m sure I could afford a newer, fancier house for what my present shack is worth, if I were willing to live elbow-to-elbow with the neighbors in a faceless tract halfway to Timbuktu. But thank you, the old houses (that don’t look alike) and the performing burglars suit me just fine.

    We’re getting a lightrail on the main drag that divides our middle-class ‘hood from the burglar borough. Ha!

  2. I dream of an affordable, insulated house in Mt Eden with central heating and air and a fenced yard that allows dogs. These simply do not exist here, yet it is the only thing I want!

    Let the housing rants continue til these exist!

  3. Location is so important – it has such a bearing on your lifestyle in a current place. Even if the flat isn’t up to standard, at least a good location means you can get out of it and go enjoy your surroundings more easily.

    But mixer taps…? I know they’re more convenient, but I didn’t realise that was such a big thing! Are separate taps really so backward?! Each to their own, I guess…

  4. (I can’t remember the last time I used separate taps)

    But I think when it comes to renting OR buying I’d want All The Things. We always have to give up a few but I like to start out with the most comprehensive list of things I want. Central locations are less enticing than a location that’s relatively close to things and with any luck, some people I’d like to be close to. There are too many compromises with really good central locations that I don’t want (like losing good FREE parking, or having no room to walk the dog, etc.)

    1. Yeah, ‘central’ for me is definitely not what ‘central’ probably means for a lot of people in my demographic – we live on the border of what used to be Auckland ‘city’ before the various areas amalgamated. Don’t want to live in the CBD or immediate surrounding suburbs but still within Zone A for public transport, and in close proximity to at least one route and ideally supermarkets etc too.

  5. A house near at hospitals, schools, and office is the most ideal every family wants. It kinda cost expensive, but in the long run, computing transportation and among others, it still worth to get the best location and house you’ve dreamt of. By the way, does the separate taps still exist? I can’t remember the last time I used it.

  6. In Portugal they still have taps that don’t mix the water. Even in more modern abodes.

    WTF was my first reaction when I encountered them. How do you get warm water!? Apparently you put a bucket down and turn on both at once.

    Me:… OMG

  7. Living centrally is important…having an easy commute is very important and being close to things like the supermarket is also important. I have a long commute to work, but my wife is only a few train stops away which is very convenient. Plus we can go out to the supermarket, restaurant, pretty anything else just by walking. Living in NYC (though not Manhattan), we’re used to small spaces too…we’re still in a one-bedroom with a baby. Although we’ll be moving to a slightly bigger apartment soon. Location is more important in my book.

  8. When my DH and I were looking for our apartment we definitely had a list of things that we wouldn’t compromise on. I call my fortunate that our current apartment has every thing we had on our must have list save one item; reserved parking/building parking lot. We have to park our cars on the street and that makes me a little nervous.

  9. for a rental, we looked for affordability and commute, and then when we had more money we looked for things we wanted (space, a backyard for our dog, a washer/dryer inside the house, and we lucked out big time by having a garage).

    as a potential home buyer tho, we really want a space to entertain since we love having family adn friends over and wish we could do it more often except we have a small place. DOn’t know if that will be a possibility simply bc of our budget, but heck we’re gonna try

  10. I think this depends somewhat on what metro area you live in. In the Twin Cities metro it’s both expensive to own OR rent in good locations to the point of being un-affordable for most people. We did purchase an older house that needs work so that we could live in a more central location, so I’d say location is our biggest priority.

  11. A central location is super important to me, as well. I was lucky to snag my inner-city house five years ago before the neighborhood started to become unaffordable. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, so I vowed to always try to live in the city, if possible. Luckily, Nashville is a lot more affordable that many other places. Being within walking distance of places I like to hang out is key.

  12. We live in the suburbs but location is still huge to me. We live within walking distance of the school and so close to the store, parks, etc. I don’t drive that often and I don’t like wasting a bunch of time sitting in traffic either.

  13. I think you’re right, location is king. We bought a house in the city primarily for the location. We could’ve had something larger, newer, and with a yard out in the suburbs, but we love our short commutes to work. I really wouldn’t trade them for more space! And, I totally agree–a bigger house is more to clean, more to care for, etc. Good luck to you!

  14. location is super important to us. When we bought our place we sacrificed some of the things we really wanted to be close to the train. We hoped for a parking space, washer and dryer in our unit, and outdoor area, but didn’t get any of those things. We did however get a 5 minute walk to the train which is really important to us, especially in the dead of winter and heat of summer.

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