Renting SFH versus Apt in upscale complex


By justwantaniceplacetostay   Follow   Thu, 16 Feb 2012, 1:35am   1,199 views   9 comments
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I am noticing that the rent for a nice SFH in south bay are between 2500 to 3000. At that price one could also rent a 3BR or large 2BR apartment at one of the upscale apartment communities like Archstone or even pricier Carlyle in Santa Clara

Thoughts on pros and cons of one versus the other?

The in-house playground, gym and pool in apt. complexes is good for kids and saves around $200 on a gym/pool membership. On the other hand, the backyard in SFH is good for hosting parties and there is probably less neighbor noise. I assume maintenance at apt complex should be better managed than by individual landlords on average.

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  1. Malkovich


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    1   6:16pm Sat 18 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    drew_eckhardt says

    (until she got tired of the police visits for noise violations and had it debarked)

    My favorite thing I've read on the internet today. Thank you sir.

  2. bg


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    2   9:49pm Sat 18 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    drew_eckhardt says

    Personally I bought a decent used double wide modular home and rented ground in a nice park instead of renting anything or buying a stick built single family home in this market. $1500/month for rent/mortgage/insurance with flood and earthquake coverage and $20K down for a nice Sunnyvale location, no common walls, 1990s construction with central heat/air, 1200 square feet 3 bed/2 bath, fenced yard, and amenities like pools/hot tubs/exercise rooms.

    This was my plan for a while, but I have moved away from this. My thinking was that the trailer is a depreciating asset no matter how I slice it. Also that the rent in parks on the peninsula is pretty high. What was your thinking on depreciation and space rental?

  3. bg


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    3   9:51pm Sat 18 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    justwantaniceplacetostay says

    am noticing that the rent for a nice SFH in south bay are between 2500 to 3000. At that price one could also rent a 3BR or large 2BR apartment at one of the upscale apartment communities like Archstone or even pricier Carlyle in Santa Clara

    I looked at one of these near 280 and El Camino in San Bruno. THe thing I learned about these is that the complex lures you in with a more reasonable rent for 6 months or a year. Then once you are settled in, they jack up the rent. I liked it for all the reasons you mentioned. My hesitation is that I don't think those landlords are going to do anything to retain me. I am an interchangeable widget. They will crank up the rate once they have you moved in.

    For us, the starting rents near 2300 were as high as I was willing to go. Figured I would be pissed before the end of a year. That seemed like a no-go. The commute was a dream and so was the heated pool.

  4. justwantaniceplacetostay


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    4   1:14am Sun 19 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    bg says

    I looked at one of these near 280 and El Camino in San Bruno. THe thing I learned about these is that the complex lures you in with a more reasonable rent for 6 months or a year. Then once you are settled in, they jack up the rent.

    Some of these complexes such as archstone and carlyle have the price changing on a daily basis based on some supply/demand system they look up. I have noticed the prices dip around oct,nov, dec after the summer interns of all the tech companies leave. So it may be possible to not see a rent jack up if you get on the right time schedule.

    My coworker got a renewal notice for a 2BR for 2300 when she was paying 1700 the previous year, she then went month to month trying to look for another place. In a couple of months it came down down to 2150 because units were empty and she ended up renewing. The bigger companies like avalon, archstone etc may be better at this than complexes owned by some random rich people.

    But probably if one can find a good landlord that would be the best choice.

  5. bg


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    5   7:16am Sun 19 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)   Protected  

    justwantaniceplacetostay says

    Some of these complexes such as archstone and carlyle have the price changing on a daily basis based on some supply/demand system they look up.

    I was thinking it might be a mix of supply and demand AND jack up the rent on the captive audience.

    justwantaniceplacetostay says

    In a couple of months it came down down to 2150 because units were empty and she ended up renewing.

    See the problem for me there is that I am pretty unwilling to tolerate a jump even from 1700 to 2150. I say WTF to that. No way. So, I rent from a small privately owned complex where my rent has gone up 50 dollars in like 4 years. 100 dollars in last eight years. Still like the pool :-)

  6. Aus1


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    6   3:32am Thu 16 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I faced a similar decision not so long ago. One of the factors in that sort of decision is time. SFH always require maintenance. Some people like it, some people hate it. In my humble opinion if you do 80 hour weeks get an apartment if you have a bit more time and like mowing lawns and gardening, clearing leaves out of gutters, etc etc get a SFH.

  7. drew_eckhardt


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    7   12:05pm Thu 16 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    With a single family home you have no common walls or ceilings with neighbors.

    With an apartment you're connected and likely to hear at least impact noise and maybe more. After a year living with a psychopath, her dog left home alone to bark four hours straight (until she got tired of the police visits for noise violations and had it debarked), and her hyperactive child running around with its shoes on and bouncing balls on the hardwood floor over your bedroom at any time between 6am and 11pm you'll grow to hate people.

    Meth users are bad too with the pacing and off-hours guests when they turn to dealing to support their habit.

    Personally I bought a decent used double wide modular home and rented ground in a nice park instead of renting anything or buying a stick built single family home in this market. $1500/month for rent/mortgage/insurance with flood and earthquake coverage and $20K down for a nice Sunnyvale location, no common walls, 1990s construction with central heat/air, 1200 square feet 3 bed/2 bath, fenced yard, and amenities like pools/hot tubs/exercise rooms.

    You can spend more and get a nicer larger trailer with 1800 square feet, 2x6 framing, high ceilings, whirlpool tubs, walk-in closets but then your exposure to price drops and cash flow smell more like buying a ranch house in an adjacent neighborhood.

    You're responsible for maintenance, but you can xeriscape, run a drip irrigation system so your plants are watered automatically, and find a competent reasonably priced handyman for exterior work. They can be somewhat more motivated to resolve problems than landlords since they don't get paid until they take care of what needs fixing.

  8. toothfairy


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    8   10:10am Fri 17 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    im sorry but neither option sounds especially appealing. If I were you I'd bite the bullet and probably buy a nice house for 800k or so.

    worst that could happen is prices crash and you walk away and go back to renting.

  9. FunTime


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    9   12:49pm Fri 17 Feb 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  

    When I was last shopping, I looked at an apartment complex. I rented a house instead, for a lot of reasons but here are some of my thoughts.
    Apt pros:outside BBQ patio that can be scheduled, rock climbing wall, exercise classes at extra cost but held in the complex, central location, modern design-big closets, newer appliances, private parking, security at entrance
    Apt cons:cost more and I was sure I wouldn't use some of the pros very much, noisy, shared outdoor space, lots of close neighbors,smells, cookie cutter design,annoying management and complex rules
    I'm surprised at one response here. My landlord cleans gutters and performs almost all other maintenance. Find a landlord who used to live in the home.

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