The Great Apartment Search of 2015 (GAS) had its official start April 10, when I received a cash offer on my house. The home inspection was done the following Wednesday, and by Friday all conditions were removed and the SOLD sign announced to all and sundry that this house was taken.
The GAS acronym is appropriate: three counties, 4 cities, and tons of highway driving in really crappy weather. I isolated three companies that had a good reputation and visited most of the buildings they operated.
First up was a building in Sarnia, where I presently live. They had two units available in June. One was gorgeous and the other a bit beat up. I took too long to make up my mind and lost both. Since there were no other decent apartments with vacancies in June or July, I knew for sure that I was changing city as well as abode.
So, I hit the road and visited a building located an hour away, in the largely agricultural city of Chatham. Very nice apartment and, as I discovered, smack dab in the middle of a cornfield. I thought it would make a nice retirement residence for all the farmers in the area, seeing as how it was so close to their farms.
Living among the farm folk wasn’t to be my destiny, however. The rent was high and the hydro costs were even higher. I really didn’t want to move to Chatham anyway so I wasn’t that disappointed.
If you recall, I had posted earlier that I had decided to move back to Windsor. While initially excited about the prospect, my excitement waned when I found out just how awful the apartments in Windsor really are. Most of the buildings are managed by companies with less than stellar reputations, and are woefully out of date (one building still had built-in ovens, which were all the range in the early 70’s–which tells you how old the appliances are). There was one nice little building in Windsor that was managed by one of my short-listed companies, but there were no vacancies so that was that. I wasn’t too upset by that either–moving back home required more uprooting that I was prepared for, when it came right down to it. I set my sites on London.
Cosmopolitan with tons of green space and only an hour away from Sarnia, London is the centre of education and cutting edge health care in Ontario. It’s the city with everything, but without the huge price tag compared to other major urban centres. The first building I visited was located in a pretty area known as Springbank Park. The building manager was great and the apartment was gorgeous, but it was on the ground floor and the patio faced a wood fence behind which was the building’s garbage/recycle area. I envisioned being burgled at night to the sound of people discarding their bottles and paper products.
Another apartment I visited in London came highly recommended–a friend of mine lives there. Unfortunately, the unit I was shown faced a very noisy, busy street, unlike my friend’s unit which faced the other direction and was very quiet. I also suspected that the building had some unresolved structural problems after my friend told me she fell asleep to the sound of her upstairs neighbour having his nightly wee.
Finally, a friend and I took another trip to London to view apartments in a complex called Cherryhill Village. The complex is like a little city: 13 buildings nestled in tons of green space with its own health club, indoor/outdoor pool, word-working shop, recreation centre, garden plots, and walking paths. It even has its own shopping mall which, while open to the public, caters to the unique residents of Cherryhill, most of whom are seniors.
I found a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor with a den and huge balcony, overlooking a park-like terrace right below and the outdoor pool a few hundred yards away. The complex was built in the 1960’s, judging from the charming little decorative details you don’t see in newer buildings, like a recessed nook for a telephone and shelving in the kitchen for knick knacks. The down side is that there are no window sleeves for A/C so you have to use the window opening itself.
So it’s all over but the packing. And the painting. And the purchasing of draperies, air conditioners, microwave, and maybe a portable dishwasher. 🙂