I was lucky enough to buy my first apartment by the age of 26 (some say the term I should use is crazy, not lucky, but nevermind). It is bought with a mortgage, of course, and I still have like a gazillion more years to pay the bank, but I don’t mind, because it was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.
So, when you get to that point in life when you can afford to buy an apartment, never rush into it. It is a process that can take years sometimes… but if you do it right, and follow the steps below(as many as possible), you’ll find your perfect one.
Now let’s get straight to business:
1. Location, location, location
If you would have to buy an apartment based on a single principle it would be this one. You have to always remember, even if you plan to live there for the rest of your life, first and foremost when you buy property, you’re making an investment.
Every city has its best neighborhoods, narrow it down to 2-3 possible choices and try to buy there. (extra tip: if you have a neighborhood up a hill, 10-15 minutes from the city center, I highly advise you to buy there, the views from up the hill are always the best ones – more on point 4).
Be aware of being as close to the city center as possible, close to a bus station, metro station, university, school, hospital, stores, restaurants, banks …any of this elements will bring value to your investment over the years.
I know that most of the properties in these areas are expensive, but try to find a cheaper option, try to downsize if possible.
The suburbs are a lower price option, but they cost you a LOT of time over the years. Think about it: if your commute to work is maybe 1 hour/way, in two weeks that totals 20 hours (almost a day of your life!!!) every two weeks, spent commuting in a traffic jam. If possible, listen to me and buy property in the city.
2. Orientation – the light
It’s crazy to me that so few people know about this: when buying an apartment you should always choose a good orientation because this means more light, that equals more happiness and comfort.
We spend 87% of our lives in indoor spaces, your home is more than half of that time, and light is the most important factor of your space.
Your living room, kitchen, dining – your “day spaces” should always be oriented south, east or south-east, and the rest of the spaces can be oriented differently. Me personally, I like even the bedroom to be on the east side, to have the light wake you up in the morning, but that’s not a general choice. The bathrooms, closet spaces, storage spaces can be oriented even north (which means the least amount of light), and if you have a terrace it’s also nice to be on the west side because that’s where you’ll get the sunsets and the sunset light.
So please, when you’re checking out floor plans of the buildings you’re interested in, always, ALWAYS, ask where the north side is because the constructors usually don’t put it on the plans(they wanna sell also the north apartments, obviously). But now you know about this trick and will never buy a north-oriented apartment, deal? 🙂
(extra tip: the quantity of light varies also from floor to floor: on the bottom floor you have the least amount of light, while the highest floor has the most light. So my advice is to go as high as possible, you only carry that couch up the stairs once. 🙂 )
3. Outdoor space
This is a non-negotiable aspect when buying property. You should have outdoor space, even if it’s so small you can only fit a chair. That space will be so worth it when you’re tired and stressed out: you just step out on your chair with a hot cup of tea and let the wind touch your face – the best therapy … aaand is also free.
If you’re one of the lucky ones and have options when choosing the outdoor space: the view of the city and having a portion of the terrace covered so you can sit there when it rains or hide from the sun, would be my two best pieces of advice.
4. The view
For me personally, this was also non-negotiable. A beautiful view from the living room, maybe it’s the city (ideally) or a nice street, or maybe it’s some nature… anything that is beautiful for you. If this is not possible, just try not to have the nearby apartment building to be so close that they can see in your house.
Up the hill, facing the city are the best views, and also, in this case, you can see more sky in the overall image of the view. Trust me, that is the most amazing factorof the view because the sky is changing its colors all day – every single day.
5. Naturally ventilated bathroom/storage space
I would say a bathroom with a window is a very good feature to have in an apartment, but I know that in most of the big cities this one is almost impossible to reach, so I also added storage space as a good tip. Constructors nowadays almost always leave the storage space out of the floorplans, so be sneaky and check for an option that has some.
Well, that sums up my top 5 tips to follow when buying an apartment.
Let us know what was the most important aspect of your apartment when you bought it/rented it in the comments section!
And always remember:
Design life. To the fullest!