First Person: Should You Live in a Micro-Apartment?

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In some areas where there is simply no space left to build, landlords are looking for a new way to increase their income - by converting buildings into micro-apartments. These apartments are small, readily available, modern in design, and most importantly of all - cheap. But is saving a few bucks on rent worth the hassle of living in such a small space? Here is what you should consider before you sign up.

Space

Mico-apartments aren't just another word for studios. These apartments are the smallest space you can rent. For example, in New Orleans I recently toured a micro-apartment that was only 256 square feet. The apartment had one large room that acted as both the bedroom and the living room, similar to most studio apartments. However the space wasn't large enough to hold a bed and sofa at the same time, so each folded into the wall separately. The kitchen area had shelves stretching from floor to ceiling to make up for the lack of counter space, and only included a small sized dishwasher, a single sink, and a miniature refrigerator.

These incredibly small spaces won't work well if you own a lot of personal belongings, or need space to feel comfortable in your living environment. However, if you're new to an area and don't own much, or don't plan on spending a lot of time at home, you can adjust to the size.

Neighbors

Since micro-apartments are smaller than typical rental units, the developer can fit more apartments on one floor, ultimately meaning you'll have more neighbors. For example, I toured two similar-sized apartment buildings. The building with traditional one and two bedroom apartments had 24 units. The building with the micro-apartments had 55 units.

More neighbors can mean more noise, fewer places to park, longer wait times in the laundry center, and a whole host of other headaches. However, it can also mean an opportunity to meet more people in a new city.

Price

The one upside to a micro-apartment is finding an affordable place in a hot area. In my city, most of the micro-apartments exist in the Warehouse District or downtown. Since they're smaller, they're more affordable than other apartments in the same areas. The cost of utilities is also lower on smaller and newly-built apartments, and those savings will add up over the course of a lease.

However, most micro-apartments won't have the space for a washer and dryer, so you'll need to factor in the cost of doing your laundry at the local Laundromat.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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