For someone who grew up in the same house for most of my life (we moved there when I was four), I have lived in a lot of spaces. Dorm rooms and on-campus apartments in college, apartments after college with interesting roommate situations, my graduate school apartment that I (at least in my opinion) transformed from an awkward one-bedroom to a functional space, and multiple apartments here in Lexington. I hate the process of moving but I love trying out new neighborhoods, making new spaces feel like home, so I tend to move a lot. My biggest fear, once I pay off enough student loans to consider buying a house, is that I'll be sick of it in about a year.
My current place, although small, is probably one of my favorites. It suits my lifestyle and checks all of my required boxes. My "must have" list grows and changes with every new place. I can tell you after living in my second apartment in Lexington that my former must have list wasn't discriminating enough.
The number one, absolutely non-negotiable, is that it's pet-friendly. That's a given I think.
After that, I get a little more picky.
When apartment hunting this last time, I knew I wanted to be as close to downtown as possible. I could move out of the city, if that's what it took, but I want to be close to the rest of my life. I work downtown, play downtown, and eat downtown. Why would I move further away? If my life is in the suburbs, I could live in the suburbs. I've done the long-distance commuting thing and it's not for me.
I really can't imagine having a roommate so I need a place that I can manage / afford without one. For all of you 20-somethings out there still sharing a place for your four best friends, good for you. I just know I couldn't do that. Living with someone is a different story of course. There's a big difference between living with someone and being a roommate.
I need quiet. Not the quiet that comes with being in the middle of nowhere - that creeps me out. I need the city noise - sirens, people on the streets, traffic - but I do not need neighbors in bands.
I will never have shared laundry again. I owned my own washer & dryer in my last place, and sold it before moving because this one had a stack-able set in the unit, which is fine. I just don't want to be washing my clothes next to the smelly neighbor or know that my underwear went in there after his. Ick.
I say that a dishwasher is non-negotiable but considering that mine hasn't worked properly in this unit since I moved in, and the last place it barely worked at all, and I didn't have one growing up, I'd add that to my "like-to-have" list instead of the "have-to-have." Same goes for outdoor space. I really like having a small balcony at this place but I don't have chairs out there yet anyway so it's not like I use it. I want a place to grow my plants but since I'm close to the farmer's market and get out and walk outside every day anyway, I honestly don't need my balcony.
These things are all pretty ridiculous and aren't going to be overly helpful when I do get around to house-hunting. (I suppose the neighborhood thing is important, but the rest aren't hard to change.) The only other thing I look for will be much more important when I buy, though. Closet space. This lady loves clothes, shoes, and purses. It all fits in my walk-in closet at my current place - along with the water heater, my suitcases, the cat carriers, etc. - but it's a tight squeeze.
All of this is to say that I think I could be pretty happy in any place, provided it has a few easy-to-find amenities. In the last three years I've lived in a relatively-modern, 2 bedroom located in a large complex complete with a fireplace and balcony. My last place was a 2 bedroom in a 130 year old house with hardwood floors, a great front porch, and noisy neighbors. I now live in a high-rise studio downtown with a fitness center, parking garage, and the homeless population in my "front yard."
For me, having my cats, my books, photos of my dear friends and family, and my big comfy bed really are enough.
Anything you couldn't live without?