Dealing with An Unreasonable Neighbor #apartment #renting

Well, last time I blogged, I was reaping the rewards of working out an issue with my upstairs neighbor. I had written her a letter asking that she keep down the noise level at 6AM; specifically, slamming her closet door in the bedroom. She responded by being extremely apologetic and even gave me a plant. I really thought that we were going to work out wonderfully. A few days later, I was woke up at 2AM then 3 AM the following night, by numerous sounds, all inappropriate banging and slamming noises. I can’t imagine what could be happening upstairs, but I did later learn that my neighbor says she fell at 2am, which explains why I was jolted awake. She apparently has severe mobility issues and will often times, fall, very loudly. I wondered why a woman would choose to live on the second floor of an apartment with hardwood floors, alone. But, I fully believe that her daughter spends most of her time here, possibly 5 out of 7 days a week. It’s very rare that I don’t see her daughter. I fully understand that she should likely be living with someone, but her daughter isn’t on the lease, and seems to be the one who is especially noisy.

I spoke with my landlord who informed me that my upstairs neighbor wrote her a note and left her my notes; I had left another note after the 2 and 3 AM wake up calls. Which I did receive a response stating that she couldn’t possibly be any louder than the maintenance work going on, which happens to be during the day. She also said she heard my husband and I speaking very loudly and just realizes this is apartment living. So basically, she’s telling me to deal with it and get over myself. Our landlord was a bit confused as to how to proceed as she views both of us as “nice” ladies. I have rented here for over 3 years, the new tenant for less than a month. Some of the comments that my upstairs neighbor left in her note to my manager is that she felt my husband and I were fighting and using very abusive language. Granted, I do argue with my husband and I can’t specifically remember all that is said, but it’s never at an unGodly hour, like 2, 3 or 6 am. I believe the fight we had was at 3:30PM, as we have been quite stressed over his losing his job. Do I think arguing is appropriate? No, but husbands and wives talk to each other perhaps differently than what you may think you would. We’ve been together for 14 years and married for 10, there is nothing abusive about our relationship. Furthermore, I can hear her and her daughter talking all hours of the day and night, yet I’ve never complained about talking. It’s always about the loud banging and slamming noises I hear at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

My landlord spoke with my upstairs neighbor about her letter and then spoke to me the next day. I informed my landlord that I didn’t think she had spoken to my neighbor as it was as noisy as any other day and I didn’t notice any difference. She said she was very clear about noise levels and appropriate times of day, etc. I told her that I too tried to explain that I realize this is not a library and that we will hear each other, but that it was common courtesy to not be so noisy when people are trying to sleep. We decided that it’s quite possible the noise I’m hearing is the daughter cleaning after her mom goes to bed. Some of the noises sound like chairs or tables being scooted around, making a very loud squeaking sound. I hear noises of cords being dropped and the sound of a mop being banged about the apartment. One may wonder how I can possibly hear all of this? It’s loud! It’s especially loud at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

Here I write to you on a Sunday morning before 9AM with lots and lots of banging sounds above me. This morning I was woke up at 6 by, I assume,  cleaning noises. Then I was blessed with hammer noises; I have no idea what in the world that could be for. And the ever present thump, thump, thumping of their stomping feet. I’m tired and worn out. I haven’t spoken to my landlord for a few days;  I’m sure she thinks that everything is just fine as she hasn’t heard from me. I don’t know if I should just call and say, no, nothing has changed or just leave it alone and live this way. Our lease is up after our August rent and we have to give a 30 day notice. I made it clear to my landlord that we were very much leaning towards moving out. Oh, and one comment our landlord said that really bothers us is, she said she talked to the owner who said he didn’t want the new tenant to feel ganged up on, nor did he want to lose a new tenant. Seriously? What about the ones that have been here for 3 years that have never been late on our rent or ever had any complaints made about us?

I think it’s time we leave our apartment. We love it, but it’s become miserable. I realize, and fear, that wherever we move could be much, much worse. I’ve lived in 14 apartments since I moved out of my parents’ home. So, I know what a good and bad neighbor is. I know that I’ll likely never live on the ground floor of an apartment building that has hardwood floors. I know if I live on the top unit of an apartment with hardwood floors, I will put down rugs and never wear shoes inside. Of course, I’ll never wake anyone up with any kind of noise at 2, 3 or 6AM. I would even consider asking the downstairs neighbor if the noise level is bad. I will research online reviews of apartment buildings to see if there are complaints about noise levels. I don’t want to keep moving and I do want to be settled. I had hoped that my current home would be my “forever” home, but I don’t think I can live like it is. It’s difficult to work with a neighbor who doesn’t see that there is anything wrong with cleaning at an early hour. You just can’t reason with someone like that.

Thankfully, we have another month to figure out what our long term plans will be. To Be Continued…


#Renting, Now What?

So, now that we’ve decided to rent, I feel a bit of relief. To be honest, that little voice in the back of my head kept saying, this is a bad idea! I knew it was wrong, but the emotion of looking at houses and dreaming of sipping coffee from my new front porch, is very, very strong! But, let’s get real. I rarely leave my house and I would probably, rarely, if ever, sip coffee on my front porch. But a girl can dream! Now that things have settled and we’ve decided to rent, the question quickly became, should we rent a new place or stay where we’re at? Our current apartment is the best we’ve ever lived in. It has beautiful original hardwood floors, except in the dining room, where they had to put down laminate. They also put laminate tile in the bathroom and kitchen, but its a neutral gray color, so it all goes together well. It’s almost like we live in a new apartment as it was completely renovated before we moved in. Freshly painted, no carpet and some decorative features like molding were added. The big downside is that the washer and dryer hook up are in the basement. Granted, I live on the main level, of two, so I only have one flight to walk down to get to my washer/dryer, but I would much prefer them to be in my unit. Granted, the hallway is in a secured building and I don’t have to go outside to get to my basement, it’s just a pain, literally, to wash my clothes. I can still walk up and down stairs, but because of my health conditions, I don’t know that I’ll be able to do that forever.

I’ve been searching for other apartments using multiple sites and came across other updated units in my building. They are charging almost $100 more than what we are currently paying, which has me nervous that our rent was going to skyrocket. But, in closer inspection, I see that the newer units have a few more features that ours doesn’t have, like a microwave over the stove and updated tile in the bathtub; I wish we had that! We currently have that white square tile that the grout falls out of and looks black. They’re supposed to come back grout and paint again next week. Our apartment is more of a condo; I’ve lived in numerous apartments, but this one feels more like a typical condo would feel. However, with any apartment, there isn’t much of a noise barrier. Now that they’ve put in hardwood upstairs, you can hear loud walking noises when someone is wearing shoes; that’s a big negative. But, overall, every apartment has issues with noise. I’ve never lived in an apartment that I didn’t hear or get aggravated by a neighbor because of their TV or general noise.

In my search, I rarely found any apartment, in my price range, that has hardwood floors. Most apartments have carpet and from my experience, the owner doesn’t always replace it, they steam clean, which always bothered me. We currently have a two bedroom and where we live we get Uverse cable and internet, which we love. Unfortunately, Uverse isn’t available everywhere, but because my husband works from home, he has to have Uverse internet, so that’s another obstacle. We also have two cats, which some apartments either don’t allow or allow only one, or have steep monthly fees. Most apartments that we looked at that are two bedroom with a washer/dryer connection, are roughly $100 or more over what we currently pay. We also love our current location, we’re within feet of many places, including a major hospital, Walgreens, several restaurants and a grocery store. I love being so close to things and just three blocks from a major interstate; it makes travel so much easier.

I told my husband that if we can spend time decorating my current apartment, which still feels a bit like my college days of having mixed matched pieces of furniture. I’d love to get a new couch or at the very least get a couch cover for my current 12 year old couch. I think once I get a few decorations done, then I’d feel even more at home here. I’m viewing walking down the stairs to do my laundry as part of exercise and physical therapy. I suppose it’s good for me to get that exercise and keeps me mobile. So, for that, I see it as a benefit. There is probably zero chance that our apartment will get washer/dryer hookups inside the unit, so, for now, I’ll just keep walking down to the basement. It sure beats going to the laundromat! Overall, I love my apartment. It’s beautiful and the hardwood makes it easier to keep clean and is aesthetically pleasing. We get a new upstairs neighbor next Friday; keeping my fingers crossed that she she isn’t a smoker and is more of a librarian type. But, that’s the biggest negative with renting, you just never know what kind of neighbor you’ll get and neighbors come and go more quickly than they do from a house you buy.

So, our decision is that we’re going to most likely remain exactly where we are. If we move, it will be to my hometown closer to my family. But I don’t know that it will be this year; we have to decide in 3 months as that’s when our lease is up. Let the saga continue!

Going with Plan B: Sticking with Renting

If you read my first post, you would know that I’ve been grappling with the idea of both moving to a new town and buying a home. After much thought, some of which was agonizing, we’ve decided, we’re not in a position to buy. Buying would be purely an emotional decision and completely reckless, as we don’t have the money for an emergency or even enough for a respectable down payment. Sure, there are possible loans that require low to no down payments, but I’ve been in debt since I’ve been 19 and don’t want to add more to it. Granted, who isn’t in debt? But I mean debt that’s not your typical expenses, like a car or student loans, which I have almost always had during that time. I mean debt like getting behind on almost every bill, except rent. I’ve been so behind on most of my utilities at one point or other that I’ve had shut off notices and once had the gas company at my front door, giving me an additional 10 minutes to make a payment or else I was being shut off. Or the bounced checks that nearly caused me to have my income garnished. Or the numerous credit cards that I accrued early in my twenties that still aren’t paid off to this day.

I don’t know exactly how this happened, I mean I “know” that I spent more than I had, living well above my means. I always was a saver. I vividly remember having a piggy bank and enjoying putting money inside versus taking it out. I honestly don’t spend much money today, except for paying bills. In all seriousness, most of the clothes in my closet are hand me downs from my mom. Since I don’t work, I don’t worry too much about my wardrobe, so that definitely helps my budget. I don’t buy makeup and I’ve never been a shoe addict, I wear slippers at home and rotate between 3 other pairs, should I leave home. We have a new flat screen TV because my husband won it, otherwise, I still have and use my 1988 TV, yes it works! My biggest expense are medical, which include prescription and doctor fees. I recently had to cut out seeing my rheumatologist because I just couldn’t afford to see her anymore; I’m hoping that once I get medicare, that will help my expenses, so I can return to her. Most of my furniture is from donations or second hand; my couch was my grandmothers, that I’ve have for over 12 years. Granted, it still “works”, I just have to live with the floral print! We were also given a new queen bed by our neighbor, who purchased it only 6 months ago, before his mom had to live in a nursing home, so we gladly accepted it.

There are a few expenses that I suppose I could cut back on, but are pretty important to me. I have UVerse Cable and it includes expanded channels, such as HBO and Showtime. Like I posted, I’m disabled, therefore I’m home almost all the time, so TV is a big “hobby” of mine. Granted, I was a TV-aholic prior to becoming disabled, but when the couch or bed becomes the two most common places you stay, then having a TV can help get your mind off of your condition. I also have a subscription to Netflix, which I justify because I enjoy watching documentaries and TV in bed. Another expense is my iPhone. I have seriously considered dropping the iPhone and going to a messaging phone. I do love having my iPhone and the apps. One of my favorite apps is the Walgreens app, which makes reordering my prescriptions a breeze. These are just two of my “luxury” expenses. We rarely go out to eat and I enjoy cooking, when I can.

I realize that as time goes on, we are slowly, but surely, getting more and more debt paid off. My home is one of the most important things to me. I am a homebody, so having a home that is comfortable is very important. I’d love to be able to afford new furniture and decorations so that I feel more content. But, I am grateful for what I do have. I am thankful that I even have a home and even more grateful for the furniture that we have. There are so many in worse situations and I know God has blessed me in many ways. So, right now, I think it’s smarter to focus on paying off our debt, getting caught up on our fixed expenses and slowly making home purchases that will last for a long time.

On a side note. Yesterday during my indecision regarding my move and buying a home, I decided to call in the radio show to Glynis McCants, the numbers lady. I had called her several months ago to inquire if she could tell me if I would be approved for disability. She did say that I would be approved, but also said that I would heal from my fibromyalgia and help others; I’m still waiting on that cure! I called her to ask about whether it’s a good time, based on numbers. to move. Do I believe in all of that? I don’t know. But I was willing to call and have an open mind. She was a bit confusing in her answer and I think she responded based on one of my answers. She said that my life path number and the numbers to my home town are identical, therefore, based on that alone, she said it was an even match. However, she did say that I am extremely private and independent, which is extremely true. She said that she wasn’t so certain that I would like to be that close to family; which I did say I had some reservations about, only because I’ve been moved away since I was 19, I’m 38 now. I just don’t know how I would be back in the smaller town. After I said that, she said for me to look outside of my town, which technically, I am 2 hours away. She also said, that right now is not a bad time at all to move. She also said that there are a lot of good deals in real estate, so it’s not a bad time to move. We did not talk about my finances at all. I have a feeling should I call in to Suze Orman’s show, I’d hear a big fat DENIED! So, I don’t really feel like calling Glynis was helpful, although she was very nice and I’m sure that number reading has a lot of benefits, it just didn’t help me in making any decision.

So, I write all of this to say, I am going to consider looking at other apartments in July, which is about a month and a half before my lease is up. That way we can look to see if we can find our “forever” apartment, specifically one that has a washer/ dryer inside the unit! Also, I would love to have my own bathtub to be able to take epsom salt baths for my muscles. However, moving is expensive as our bigger apartments. But, it never hurts to look. Sometimes, just looking, makes you appreciate what you have so much more.

Whatever the future holds, I feel confident that I’m making the best decision, at least, the best financial decision!

Dreaming about a Dream House

My husband and I are currently renting, in fact, I’ve always rented, since I’ve lived on my own at 19. While in college, I moved out on my own and have been until I got married in 2002. I’ve rented, but, like many Americans, my dream has always been to own my own home. I’m disabled and have always been a homebody, so having a home is very important to me. By home, it’s not just walls and floors, it’s more than that.  A home is full of love and intimate surroundings. Owning can give you even more of a closer feeling of “home”. I’ve gone back and forth over the years on whether I wanted to own or to be content in renting. There are definite pros and cons on both sides and I’m never 100% convinced either way.

However, we’re at a crossroads. Our current lease is up this September 1 and we have found a house online and fell in love. We have only viewed it online, so we know we could see it in person and just as quickly, fall out of love! But, it’s two hours away from where we are, located in my home town. We’ve discussed whether we wanted to live back home, which is closer to all of my family. We still need to apply for a loan and get approved. We are definitely in the early stages of planning for what and where we’ll be in the near future. All we know now, is that we have fallen in love with a house online and I’ve been day dreaming about it.

They say, if you visualize, you can make it come true. Let’s hope!

The House I’ve been Dreaming About!