When I came here for a weekend in August to go apartment hunting, I came prepared with a spreadsheet to use to compare apartments. Price was a factor, but I used it to rule out apartments without even looking at them if the rent was over a certain amount. The factors on my spreadsheet were:
- piano will fit in to the apartment (i.e. no long flights of stairs!)
- pets (specifically cats) are allowed
- on-site laundry (coin-operated was OK, I just don't like traveling to laundromats - which reminds me, I have to do laundry this evening!)
- natural light (I have lived in apartments with minimal to no natural light - I don't do well there)
- off-street parking (especially since I'm not using my car very much these days)
And so, after looking at a pile of places over a few days, I came up with a short-list of 4 where I could see myself living. Why did I pick this one? The character. I am renting a flat in a Victorian mansion (built in 1895 by the former mayor) - picture lovely high ceilings, crown moulding, hardwood floors. It is a bit of a commute to get to school (50-60 minutes with public transit; 20 minutes driving not at rush hour); but I found that my rent dollar goes a lot further in Dartmouth than it does in Halifax. I could have rented an apartment a few blocks away from the school for the same monthly rent, but it was maybe half the size, and with no character - your typical cube apartment in a large apartment building.
I think that I am going to be happy here. There are lovely windows with lots of sunlight all day long. My landlords are great. I have lots of space for visitors (hint, hint). I enjoy my daily commute (especially the ferry ride). And Dartmouth is smaller and less busy than Halifax, I I find it easier to get around. The downtown core is a 5-10 minute walk away, and there are lots of grocery stores etc. that are easy for me to get to.
(living room at the front of the house)
(dining room / office space in the middle of the house)
(bedroom, towards the back of the house)
(kitchen, and back door)