Life in a Micro-Apartment Studio
Community Amenities and Location Make Up for Smaller Living Quarters
Location, location, location is why many newly constructed micro lofts, apartments, and studios are getting lots of media attention. Remember though that these tiny amenity-rich abodes have always existed; in the form of studios and smaller one bedrooms.
A micro-apartment, or tiny apartment, or studio, is usually one room divided into kitchen and living areas by the furnishings. Typically the bathroom is separate, but in some extreme examples that area is divided off only by a curtain or other temporary means.
Usually microapartments or studios come with a great location at a lower cost then more traditionally sized apartments and condos. For urbanites going small is an affordable way to have all the benefits of a city within walking distance from your doorstep. Or if you aren’t a city mouse and the appeal of resort level amenities and location are more your thing then these same smaller apartments can be found in more recreational or retirement-focused locations.
Going small saves a lot of money…rent or mortgage, taxes, utilities, and an extreme reduction in the amount of stuff you’ll buy. It’s a common misconception that we’ll want and need a spare room for guests or activities; all the while spending almost all of our time in just a few rooms of our home. Living in the size you need on a daily basis makes much more sense than paying for and maintaining a much larger space for all the “might needs” that you imagine having.
It’s super easy to clean and maintain a small space, and that means more time for other things! Make sure your location has plenty to offer for the hours you’ll spend outside your home.
Image of micro-condo in Sarasota FL for $69,000 courtesy of Zillow
Options to Consider
Urban development, resort living, or just a tiny space in an existing building wherever you are? Do you want lots of amenities or just a small space to call your own. Density of the building is very important. You can have 100 or more micro-apartments in one large mid-rise or buy into a tiny tri-plex. The variations and options are broad. Micro-apartments can be mixed with larger units, which allow for more families and roommates in the building or community. Do you want to rent or buy? Costs will vary depending on what’s included, and where it is, just like any piece of real estate for sale or rent. A tip…if you are just looking for a tiny space with reduced expenses, the term micro-apartment is not well-known enough so don’t limit yourself. Look instead for tiny, loft, studio, efficiency and myriad options will open up.
Amenities You Might Want
Green space can be in short supply in an urban setting, and privacy could be effected by close proximity to neighbors, so be careful to stay true to what’s important to you. It’s very easy to be swayed by a gorgeous view or stylish interior and forget that you like your cup of coffee on a patio or in the garden. A washer and dryer is an extreme luxury in a micro-apartment, so shop carefully if that’s important to you. Washer dryer connections are either there, or they aren’t (without serious rehab coordinated with other units). Parking can be under the building, in a lot next door, or blocks away if the developer assumes those seeking smaller spaces also are less likely to need a parking spot. Take a careful look at the dues or membership fees and what you get in return. You’ll want to know about potential increases, outstanding repairs to the community, or if you are just renting, what a future lease might look like. Do your dues cover trash removal and access to the pool? Every place is different so check out what’s included.
Cons of Living in a Micro-Apartment
Not all micro-apartments are brilliantly kitted out or stylish, many are just dodgy renovations of a larger space into smaller ones. There are tiny apartments available at every budget level somewhere, but maybe not close to your job or kids or other interests and that can be limiting. Not all communities or buildings are divided equally and the micro-apartments or studios might be a minority with large households occupying the rest of the property. Check pricing to make sure your studio isn’t overpriced for the size compared to the next size up which might better suit. In some communities there is a shortage of studios, and many more one bedrooms so one bedrooms are priced within reach to reduce vacancy or in the case of units being sold the time on the market. Like all small spaces, storage will be minimal as well as privacy if you’re sharing the space. Socializing can be impacted as well since having large gatherings or doing your share by hosting the monthly potluck might be out of reach.
Costs of Living in a Micro-Apartment
Most micro-apartment, studio, or efficiency renting and living expenses are just like owning a small home or having a small apartment.
Micro-Apartment Purchase from $75,000 up to $500,000
Micro-Apartment Rent from $350 in a less affluent rural market to $3000 a month in a large city
Dues or HOA Fees typically tied to amenities and can range from $1200 to $6000 a year
Laundry $75 or so a month, but sometimes in the unit or offered as a perk
Image courtesy of EkoLiving Communities in Portland, OR http://ekoliving.life/property/hoyt/?_sfm_location=downtown&_sfm_size=0.5-+-1