Here is my straightforward guide about living in a micro apartment in Washington. But first, an increasing number of individuals and families have been downsizing and moving towards renting smaller homes. It has now become a preferred option for many people, especially in metropolitan cities, specifically cities in Washington.
If you’re choosing to move to a micro apartment it is essential for you to know what its like. Many times people just jump into it without doing a little research first. But I will make sure I give my input so you can have a better understanding.
More and more millennials are accepting living in micro apartments because, for them, location and neighbors are the top priority. Therefore, they can live in small spaces and compromise with less square footage. I think that’s good trade off for the city life experience.
What is A Micro Apartment?
Micro apartments come in many different terms, such as: Co-living, residential suites, micro units, micro-housing, apodments, small efficiency dwelling units. All these terms mean the same thing: a small apartment with a square footage of 125-400 sq. ft. Most of these micro apartments contain their own private kitchen and bathroom within the apartment.
Furthermore, smaller micro units come with communal spaces like a community lounge, kitchen, decks, and even bathrooms. Micro units are widely popular in urban areas. They are located in walk-able areas near universities, job cores, and city centers.
In short, you will find that a micro unit apartment in Washington are located in the bigger cities. Thus, you may give up on size in order to have a private space in a great location. After all, don’t you want to experience what Washington has to offer?
Why Are Micro Units Becoming Popular?
Over the past few years, New York’s micro unit trend has been spreading outward. This new way of living has reached other metropolitan cities, including the state of Washington. Although, they have not yet become as prevalent in the housing market in Washington as it is in New York. However, micro apartments are reaching an all-time high in development in overpopulated cities in Washington.
The housing market across Washington is under massive pressure for affordable housing while rent continues to rise. Therefore, smaller living units are becoming an attractive option for developers and residents. Developers are shifting in creating more units in the same amount of space. This means more units per building. The results would mean more residents can get affordable smaller units near the city center.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the Urban Land Institute, micro-units have higher occupancy rates than regular apartment units. One out of four renters live in apartments and expressed interest in living in a micro unit. Even renters of micro units are satisfied with their decision. This is because the rent is significantly less and affordable than traditional apartments. Therefore, micro apartments have become popular among single individuals.
According to statistics posted in the Washington Post, renters in Washington are now increasingly interested in very small apartments. Thus, developers are building 45% fewer two-bedrooms in bigger cities now than in they have in the past.
Selling Points of a Micro Apartment in Washington
One of the biggest attractions for me was micro apartments offer options to vibrant communities. Living in micro units allowed me to engage with the close-knit community, especially when common areas are shared. Although, living space is limited to just a few hundred square ft., the communal aspect overshadows the small size.
Living in a micro unit allowed me to make new friends with my neighbors. I found myself hanging out with them in the common areas like the community lounges, pool, fitness center, rooftop, etc. Although, it may seem like it was a forced relationship, we still had to do laundry in the same place. It’s just natural this would happen. When you’re living in the same conditions as your neighbors, its easy to relate and communicate.
Many of the apartment complexes I looked at had plenty of amenities. Each complex usually offer a wide range of amenities to their residents. These included parking, pool, gym, laundry facilities, etc.
What I found that worked best for me was being near a local public park. I spent a lot of time there taking evening strolls in the park. This helped me mentally and physically as living in a tiny space can be daunting.
Another big hook for me was the efficient and functional floor plans. Having a carefully laid out space is key to making micro apartment living a success. I personally prefer to have the kitchen with a separation wall. So I made sure I was able to snag one like that. But if that’s no issue, the open concept kitchen that leads to the living room can be an option.
Affordability is the biggest concern for many renters these days. Finding a house in a prime location is often outside their reach because it may be to expensive. However, my micro apartment allow me to live in the most desired location. It was way more affordable than bigger properties in the area.
Nowadays, being accepting of the idea of micro living is pretty normal. Thanks to sustainability and work/life balance, more and more people are embracing a simpler lifestyle. De-cluttering, recycling, up-cycling, and buying pre-loved items have become everyday habits among millennials. Thus, it translates to accepting simple and minimalist lifestyle. Size does not matter as long as you have all the necessities of life.
I personally lived with the necessities that I needed not what I wanted. This helped me keep my unit open and uncluttered for most of the time. One tip I’d suggest is to keep your unit clean at all times. A messy unit will become suffocating if you don’t keep it clean.
Even the most “standard” apartment buildings offer a certain level of choice and flexibility. I found a community buzzing with activity but yet retained the peaceful and quiet neighborhood mood. Flexibility is extremely important so it is all about finding what works right for you.
Benefits of Living in a Micro Apartment
These are my personal benefits I experienced while living in a micro apartment in Washington:
- Low Maintenance
Washington has many cities and working professionals may not have time to spend hours cleaning their home. I surely didn’t. Since micro units are small, they are very easy to clean up. Nowadays, there are also robotic vacuums that make the job even easier! (invest in one, I have one!) So, no more mopping or cleaning the floors! Get yourself a rumba and your entire unit will be spic and span daily.
- Low Cost
Micro residences are a far more cost-effective alternative to a standard studio apartment. If you want to rent a big apartment, it can easily cost more than $2,500 per month. This, of course, is based on the city you choose. Plus, due to lower utility expenditures, the productivity of these micro-units helps offset total living expenses. More money! YAY!
- City Life
If you’re into micro apartments, you can secure a fantastic location in the heart of metropolis. It will be close to restaurants, bars, and public transportation as a result of this. Another massive advantage is that you do not have to worry about roommates. I’ve done the roommate thing, NO THANKS!
Speaking of roommates, if you have to share space, a few hundred extra square feet means nothing without privacy. So, micro units are perfect for complete privacy and peace of mind. This is especially crucial for socially active folks. A roommate making too much noise at night or morning hours can be a source of debate between housemates.
Some Downsides of Living in a Micro Apartment
When it comes to apartments most people avoid them because of the five-floor hike. Well, those types of buildings do exist but nowadays, new apartment buildings have functional elevators. The problem is that some older buildings don’t have elevators. I was able to snag a unit with a working elevator!
Storage is a huge disadvantage of living in a micro unit. There’s just not enough space to fit everything. I solved this issue by installing built-in storage units to maximize the existing space.
You may experience noise issues due to the apartments being close to one another. So, you will probably hear your neighbors TV, voice, and music. The good thing is that all units must follow the local noise ordinance laws.
If you ever find yourself next to a noisy neighbor, I’d suggest speaking to them first. This usually does the trick to resolve the issue. I’ve been able to do this myself and the noise issue is fixed immediately and swiftly.
If you have trouble with confronting people, you can write a note. Drop it in their mailbox or slide it under their door. Also, make sure to be courteous in your request. Whether its by talking or in a letter, no need to be rude.
If for some reason this doesn’t work, speak to your landlord and go from there.
As rent increases, new developments are starting to cater more to one-bedrooms and studio units. They are a great alternative to the roommate phenomenon. We see that millennials are already co-living and splitting rent in 2–3-bedroom units. Why not give them small individual micro units that they can afford and live in on their own? Hope I was able to give you an insight on what its like to live in a micro apartment in Washington.