Would you pay $275 more for convenience and quality?

Recently I’ve been looking into apartments and have visited numerous real estate agents. I’ve been looking at this place that would cost $825 per month and another one that is $1100 per month. You might be thinking… wow why do you need such a bling-bling expensive place Benji?.. but the truth is… these two places are the cheapest that are available within walking distance!! What a jump from the $200/month I’m used to paying when I lived in Athens, Georgia!!

St. Maarten is an expensive place to live, regardless of whether or not it is near campus. Even outside of walking distance, the cheapest I have heard anyone paying is $650/month, but that requires the price of a car.

Anyway, the cheapest place Century 21 had was $1300, and the cheapest available from Premiere Real Estate is $1250, and that is in Cote d’Azure, which doesn’t look all that appealing to me from the outside. I’ve concluded the best prices you can get around this area is through Solutions Management, which apparently has a bad rep among AUC students, because of the way they do business. But I’ve calculated even with all the extra fees they may charge, you, I’d still end up paying less overall than the other places. So I’m going with Solutions.

There are two places I’m interested in through Solutions:

Mahogany Residence

  • Two Bedrooms, Two Bathrooms, Kitchen, Living Room, Balcony, Fully Furnished, Washer, Private Gate, Second Floor.
  • Pros: $825/month
  • Cons: older, 8-10 minute walk to campus, only washer available (no dryer).

Palm Court Residence

  • One Bedroom, One Bathroom, Kitchen, Living Room, Balcony, Fully Furnished, Washer/Dryer, “Security” (who I don’t ever see), Third Floor.
  • Pros: newer, washer and dryer both available, only a 2 minute walk from campus.
  • Cons: $1100/month.

Looking at the quality and convenience, it would be nice to live in Palm Court for a year, but would I be willing to pay an extra $275/month for this convenience and quality? Will I be a better/ happier student living at Palm Court? To consider this I’ll do some calculations:

Mahogany: $825 x 12 = $9900 total for a year

Palm Court: $1100 x 12 = $13200 total for a year

I’d save $3300 for a year if I lived in Mahogany.

8 min walking (Mahogany) – 2 min walking (Palm Court) = 6 min difference in walking.

I walk to and from campus about 8 times a day. so 6 x 8 = 48 minutes walking difference per day.

I’d save 48 minutes each day if I lived in Palm Court.

(48 min/day x 365 days)/60 = 292 hours or 12 days and 4 hours.

I’d save myself 292 hours for a year if I lived in Palm Court.

Mahogany: $825/30 days = $27.50/day

Palm Court: $1100/30 days = $36.67/day

Palm Court would cost me $9.17 extra per day.

Is 48 minutes worth $9.17?

Is 292 hours worth $3300?

Can you imagine.. 292 extra hours of productive studying? If I get a better grade, is it worth $3300?

**UPDATE 10/27/2009**

I found out that Palm Court did not have internet already wired in (which cost $300 to install), so I reconsidered Aventura Inn, which is also managed by Solutions Management. I’m happy to say that I just signed my rental agreement today for Aventura. Even though it may be about 6 minutes walking away, it has a better bang for the buck. It has a swimming pool, a nice roof terrace, a laundry on each floor and a nice view. The rooms are higher quality and newer, and, I manage to get it the same price as Palm Court Housing is one less thing to worry about now!

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