Moving From a House to an Apartment – Things to Know About Downsizing

July 19, 2021Moving Tips
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

There are plenty of different reasons for downsizing your home, and they are usually intertwined with one another. Whatever your motive is, moving from a house to an apartment will call for an adjustment period, which can be shortened if you are already prepared for what lies ahead. Keep reading and find out all the pros and cons of apartment life and how it will be different from what you are used to.

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Should I Move From a House to an Apartment?

Is living in an apartment better than a house? There are no straightforward answers – it depends on your personality, preferences, needs, life goals, and more. While some characteristics of apartment living could benefit one type of person, it could be the main disadvantage for others. For example, people who love garden work will feel a void after relocating to a place that doesn’t fit their green thumb, but living in an apartment will become a blessing for those who despise it.

Are you an extrovert thriving in the urban scene or a family person who loves peace and quiet? Is the ownership of your living space important to you, or do you want the freedom to leave it whenever you want? Do you get lost in thousands of square feet or feel suffocated by small spaces? Each of your answers could determine whether leaving a house is a good option for you.

Ask yourself how much space you really need

Moving From a House to an Apartment – How to Save Your Money, Time, and Space

Every living arrangement has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a look at the following comparison and weigh your options.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Big House

No one could deny that the most significant flaw of living in a house is the amount of money needed for it to function properly. This isn’t only limited to the mortgage, but also maintenance costs, insurance, taxes, utility bills, HOA fees, and so on – it’s a pretty extensive list of expenses. The close second place is the amount of time needed to keep that big house neat and clean. If you don’t have someone to help, a simple house-related chore can ruin your weekend, whether it is mowing the grass, fixing the stairs, or something else.

However, things are not always that bad – for starters, houses are mostly owned, not rented assets, which means you can do with it whatever you like, and there will be no neighbor drilling above your head at 4 in the morning as there would if you rented an apartment. Furthermore, with big houses, you’ll rarely have to come up with smart storage options – there is more than enough space for each of your items. And finally, most houses are located in the suburbs or more rural areas, which means that you would be enjoying a yard for your children and pets to play freely far away from city noise, the loud urban scene, and constant traffic.

Driveway entrance in front of a house
If you cherish your peace above all else, think twice before relocating to the apartment

How Is Renting an Apartment Different From Owning a House?

Most of the negatives of owning a house can be reduced if you decide to move to an apartment. On average, paying rent is more affordable than paying a mortgage, and since you are not a homeowner, you won’t be paying any HOA or property tax fees. In addition to that, if something isn’t working properly, the apartment staff will be held responsible for repairs, without additional costs. And as a cherry on top – your utility bills will be lower because of a smaller space for living.  On the downside, while the mortgage price is fixed, the rent of your next lease for the same place can go up if your landlord decides so.

Smaller space also implies fewer hours of housework – fewer surfaces to dust, floors to vacuum, and even windows to clean, which could give you enough time to devote to more important things or to something you enjoy doing. And sure, you’ll lose some room, but you can always think about some creative storage ideas to help you manage your belongings. However, you must be careful – smaller places clutter more quickly.

Apartments are usually built near the town center, which means that you’ll be closer to all events, restaurants, and bars, but also that amenities, such as fitness centers, salons, and theaters, are at your fingertips. That could also be beneficial for the majority of people whose job is in the city – it could save a lot of time and money.

Finally, if you are moving to another state alone, you’ll be glad to hear that apartment life could provide you with even more security – with neighbors living close by, security cameras, and even controlled access. And if you think that the sense of community will be lost when choosing an apartment over a house, know that apartment neighbors often have gatherings, too.

An interior of a condo
Small spaces demand less housekeeping work

Things to Do Before Moving Into an Apartment

If you think that renting a pad might be a good option for you, note that several tasks need to be done before moving. That includes some actions related to the relocation itself, such as researching relocation companies so you can avoid moving scams and find a few packing tips that will help you box up your belongings. However, before you opt for such a big step, make sure that you’ve researched all the aspects of your new living arrangement.

Explore the City and the Marketplace

One of the common relocation mistakes is not finding out all there is to know about the city you are about to move to. There is nothing worse than finding out that living in your chosen city is a dream come true – but only in the form of a nightmare.

Only when you get a feeling that the city’s vibe matches your own, try researching the market. It would be wise to personally go through several apartments before you opt for the one that suits you best – there could be so much that can’t be seen on photos or via the camera.

Read the Lease Before Agreeing for Rent

Before your final decision is made, ensure that you’ve read all the fine print of your lease contract. Pay close attention to:

  • The price and the required deposit,
  • Length of the lease and options for renewal,
  • Maintenance policy,
  • Pet-friendliness.
A man signing the lease contract
Read carefully before putting your signature on the lease

How Do I Move My House Into an Apartment – Downsize Your Old Home

If you decide that renting an apartment is the right choice for you, downsizing from a house to an apartment is inevitable – not only will it help you move efficiently, but you will not overcrowd your pad with unnecessary stuff. But where do you start? There are some questions you need to ask yourself regarding each item before you decide what to do with it:

  • How often do I use it? If you haven’t used an item for more than a year, it is time to say goodbye to it. Think about your shoes – we guarantee that some of them haven’t been worn for a very long time.
  • Does it hold sentimental value? Try to be as reasonable as you can – of course, you want to save some clothing from the time your children were younger, but try to limit yourself to one piece for each kid.
  • How will it fit the apartment? A large closet or a table for eight would occupy a lot of space, so you better think about what you’ll do with them instead of how to fit them in your new home.
  • In what condition is it? Maybe you had a place in your house for the old furniture and appliances that “you will fix someday”. Small pads won’t give you that kind of luxury.
  • Can you digitalize it? Do you have an old media format containing taped best car shows or magazines talking about the best racing games? Digitalize them now and save up on space.

There are numerous benefits when you decide to downsize your old home. First of all, you can save some money and improve your relocation budget – relocation companies usually base their cost on inventory weight. With downsizing, especially concerning heavy objects, you can reduce your moving expenses. Next, with fewer items to pack, you won’t need that many packing supplies and packing materials, and you will also be left with fewer things to do after the relocation.

How to Downsize From a House to an Apartment When Moving – Toss, Sell, or Donate Unwanted Items

When you finally determine what you will relocate to an apartment, it is time to decide what to do with all the other stuff. For those items you are not sure about, consider renting a storage unit, but ensure to know how to protect items in storage beforehand. On the other hand, all your damaged goods should be thrown away – no one will need a chipped mug, rugged furniture, or broken appliances.

The rest of your unwanted belongings should be sold or donated, depending on your wishes. If you decide to donate, look for charities, schools, community centers, and animal shelters where you could send your clothes, linens, and furniture that won’t fit into the new apartment, old but working appliances, and so on. It will not steal a lot of your precious time – look, for example, through some charities that will pick up your furniture and just give them a call. However, selling your belongings will provide you with some extra money, so start making plans to organize a garage sale or post your items online and wait for the right buyer.

If you need more help in determining specific criteria for donating or selling, watch the following video:

YouTube video

Having a Car Before Relocating to an Apartment – Advantage or Disadvantage?

Many people wonder if shipping a car cross country is worth it when relocating to an apartment without your personal garage, but many other, different aspects could affect your decision. If you plan to buy one of the most expensive cars in the world or if you care about your vehicle deeply, is it really a good choice to leave it out in the open? Next, driving in New York City, for example, could be tiring and pointless, while driving in Los Angeles could be something you can’t go without – explore the best ways of transportation of your new city.

However, if you feel that nothing can top the benefits of having a car and you don’t want to part with it, get a designated parking space in front of your new home before you make a call to a USA auto transport company experienced in transporting cars from state to state and book an open trailer or if you would like, enclosed auto transport. In addition to that, you should also decide between door-to-door auto transport and terminal-to-terminal car shipping – if you are searching for the cheapest ways to ship a car, choosing the second option could benefit you. Bonus advice – ask your car shipping company for a discount if you chose their relocation services, too.

Cars parked along the way
Designated parking space is a must when living in a condo

How Do I Adjust to Apartment Living?

Rome wasn’t built in a day – it will take some time to adjust to the new lifestyle and downsized way of living. However, the wisest thing you can do is prepare yourself as well as you can – by knowing in which ways your life would be different and what you can do to facilitate the relocation process for yourself. As one of our most important relocation tips, don’t skip making friends in a new city, especially with your neighbors – it will make the transition much easier.

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