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Apartment Living/NOLA.com Article

In the past, choosing to own versus renting a home wasn’t really a question. But with shifting dynamics and a changing workforce, apartments have come to be seen as a top-rate choice for more than just those waiting to buy. From baby boomers looking for a better location in retirement, to on-the-go workers, many in the area are finding that there’s an apartment option for almost everyone.

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“With the increasing growth of The Port of Orleans and the additional number of direct and international flights from [Louis Armstrong International Airport], we are expecting to see a surge of individuals coming to our area for employment and business travel,” Michelle Shane L’Hoste of 1ST LAKE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT said.

New Orleans and the surrounding areas are seeing increasing numbers of professionals that are either beginning the transition to New Orleans and the surrounding region, or are employed on multi-month contracts. Many will choose apartment living for locations that are either too expensive to buy, or are simply not available for purchase. When being at the heart of it all—whether the “heart” is for work, play or both—rentals can often get residents there, and for a lower price than purchasing in the same region.

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“On the one hand this allows the renter to be able to stretch their dollars and afford to live in an area that they otherwise perhaps wouldn’t be able to afford if the only other way in was to buy,” Joe Pappalardo Jr. , Vice-President and In-House Counsel with LATTER & BLUM PROPERTY MANAGEMENT said. “Conversely, it can also allow the renter to save their money while they figure out where they want to put down roots.”

Apartment managers are growing and adapting with this change. With the need for flexibility, many are turning to the digital realm to simplify things for renters—everything from maintenance requests to lease payments are starting to come available to renters online.

“This allows the resident the flexibility to handle their apartment business online after normal business hours, if they so choose, while at the same time avoiding unnecessary trips and or phone calls to the management office,” Pappalardo said.

Many management companies have diversified what they offer as part of the lease, to accommodate the increasingly varied needs of its tenants. L’Hoste said many of her properties have begun to offer “concierge-like” features, such as dry cleaning pickup, pet care, or even personal assistant and trainers. She also said many apartments are being upgraded beyond the traditional materials, to include wood flooring, granite counters and more.

“Many improvements have been made to apartment communities over the years,” she said. “So do your homework and know what amenities are important to you–some of newer amenities could be the addition of sunroom or home office space.”

For many, the advantages don’t just stop inside the apartment. Shared spaces not only offer convenient services, like a pool or fitness center, but also create a built-in sense of community. Larger developments allow for socialization in common areas—a particular benefit for people with limited social time.

“Most residents find it easier to network and socialize with their neighbors in communal areas such as the community pool, fitness center, playground, media room and BBQ areas,” Pappalardo said. “This is especially true for those who are new to the area and don’t know many people outside of their work.”

At the end of the day, whether the apartment is a temporary solution or a permanent change, everyone benefits from shared management and maintenance. Everything from lawn mowing to major repairs are handled by the company, leaving tenants with more time to focus on what really matters to them. This is particularly true for retirees finding new footing in a post-commute world, to professionals on the go.

“Those people are going to want a convenient, comfortable and great place to live without all of the hassle,” L’Hoste said.