Finding your dream apartment is a full-time job. You're weighing your budget trying to get the most bang for your buck in terms of size and location, all while brooding over secondary issues of varying importance: Can I manage without a parking space? Will I like the neighbors? Do I even like the backsplash? But while you're figuring all that out, I think there's one more question that you need to ask yourself when you're hunting for a new place to live...
Does this apartment support the life I want?
It's a big, kind of existential question, but if you take some time to think on it and uncover a genuine answer, it just might make the difference in finding a place you can truly call home.
Here's what it boils down to: How do you like to spend your time? Someone who likes to eat dinner out most nights will likely be happier in a neighborhood close to lots of restaurants. On the other hand, if cooking at home is a favorite pastime, you'll want look for an apartment close to the farmer's market or a reliable grocery. It's not just about dinner. A gym rat might look for an apartment with a community gym (or at least close to one). If you like spending time outdoors, a big patio might be a priority for you, or maybe having a walking trail nearby would be a big boon.
The point here is to look past the usual considerations–square footage, the garbage disposal, that questionable carpet–and start to think about what really matters to living a happy life at home.
I gave a few examples, but I'd love to hear your experiences: What parts of your lifestyle factor into choosing an apartment?