It's always a good idea to have a look at the apartment you are planning to buy before parting with the cash. Even if this guide was completethere is no substitute for seeing it yourself.
If any players feel generous enough to purchase additional apartments for me, or to hand over apartment keys they no longer want/need I will obviously not object :-)
To be honest though, if you're looking to buy one of the apartments which is used as a faction starter apartment, its probably quicker and easier to just create a new runner of the appropriate faction in order to view the apartment.
I guess the most important question is, "What apartment should I buy?" Essentially the answer will depend on why you are buying an apartment.
If you are looking for somewhere to call home in a different location, or an apartment with a specific look then, assuming the target location offers multiple sizes of apartments, it will come down to how much you want to spend to achieve that goal.
If you are looking for additional storage space then it gets a
A cabinet costs about 100,000 credits and this gives us a base cost against which to compare apartments. For about 70,000 you can buy the Sleazy Outzone (1 cabinet) or the Sleazy Pepper Park (1 cabinet) but may come with increased travel distance and risk depending on where you base yourself and if you have removed your Law Enforcer chip. Price/cabinet is the same regardless.
For about 100,000 (the price of a single cabinet) you could buy the Small Pepper Park (3 cabinets) or the Canyon apartment (3 cabinets) assuming you aren't hostile to Twilight Guardian. Unless you live out of the Canyon an apartment there is going to cost you alot in GenRep teleport fees and the Pepper Park one may come with distance and risk considerations. Price per cabinet is the same.
For around 150,000 (one and a half cabinets) you can get a Military Base apartment (3 cabinets) assuming you aren't hostile to City Mercs or a Standard Tech Haven apartment (2 cabinets) assuming you aren't hostile to Fallen Angels. Unless you live out of Military Base an apartment there is going to cost you alot in GenRep teleport fees and therefore isn't very cost effective. Tech Haven is generally more easily accessible and does look very cool! In terms or cost per cabinet the apartments around the 100,000 mark are better value.
You might be able to get away with being hostile to Fallen Angels if you purchase via a character that isn't due to the multiple entrances of Tech Haven. Military Base wins on price/cabinet. Tech Haven wins on cool.
For about 180,000 (just less than two cabinets) you can get a Normal Outzone Complex apartment (4 cabinets), a Big Pepper Park (4 cabinets) or Plaza Level 1 (2 cabinets). The first two may come with travel and risk considerations. This one is a tie between Outzone and Pepper Park. If you go with Plaza here you are a premium for location and getting less cabinets than an apartment almost half the cost!
In the 250,000 to 280,000 range (less than three cabinets) we have Normal Outzone Complex apartment (5 cabinets), Level 2 Plaza apartment (4 cabinets), Level 2 Tech Haven apartment (4 cabinets) and Via Rosso Level 1 (4 cabinets). From a pure cost per cabinet view Outzone one wins, Tech Haven wins on cool, Via Rosso on style and Plaza on accessibility. However Plaza is the only one that isn't just 100,000 more expensive than it's smaller zone apartment.
We now jump to around 460,000 (less than 5 cabinets) for either the Large Outzone Complex apartment (9 cabinets) or the Level 3 Plaza apartment (10 cabinets). Plaza is the winner here.
The remaining aparments (Level 2 Via Rosso, Level 3 Tech Haven & Level 3 Via Rosso) are all at different price points (about 560,000, 600,000 & 700,00 respectively) so there's no easy comparison.
Just a final note on unfurnished apartments. These are typically more expensive than furnished versions and will then cost you 100,000 per cabinet on top. I believe there is a limit of 20 items of furniture per apartment (and I assume existing furniture counts towards this) so an unfurnished apartment allows for far greater storage than any furnished apartment as long as you can afford it (there was an in-game explanation for the cost, I believe it was something along the lines of the fact that power had to be available everywhere so you could place equipment anywhere).
There are several locations where you can purchase apartments, depending on which one you want. I recommend using the NavRay Trader Catagory 'Real Estate' when looking for a vendor if you don't know your way around (I don't know about anyone else but I'm just hopelessly lost inside the Dome)
The only remaining Diamond Real Estate office selling apartments appears to be the one located in Plaza 1 (and they only sell Plaza apartments now)
I believe that the Via Rosso apartments are now only available from the Diamond Real Estate Faction Supply Manager (Diamond runner with 90+ sympathy).
These apartments are purchased from a Smuggler in Pepper Park 1 on the walkway above the border with Plaza 3.
Outzone Apartment Complex
These apartments are purchased from a Smuggler in Pepper Park 3 near the entrance to Industrial Area 1.
Tech Haven Administration (the old command circle) in sector 2, the vendor window is accessed via an option in the dialogue.
A vendor for Military Base apartment was added in patch 114 however he was not working until patch 117 and has changed between 117 and 168. He can be found in the North Retail area (Military Base 1) in the corridor outside Rokkware (NavRay does now work for him) and at some point has been renamed Barracks Officer (probably when he was moved into the corridor).
Canyon apartments are purchased from Apartment Quartermaster in the canyon Supply Depot area.
I do not believe it is possible to purchase apartments in the zone since the anti-city factions were moved back to Neocron City
A player who specialises in the Barter skill can give a significant reduction to the cost of a new apartment. Some Barter players charge a flat fee, some charge a percentage, while others have been known to just round the price up, it varies from player to player so be sure to check in advance. Just remember that, unlike other tradeskill players, these guys will have to come with you to the appropriate vendor to make the purchase (which may be a long way away from where you found them) so make sure you make it worth their while.
I've seen this question come up enough times in the forums to warrant a section on it (and to be fair when I bought my first one I didnt have a clue how to find it either). When you get your hands on your key you need to right click on it and Use/Activate it and you will see a little message in the chat window confirming activation. You then need to right click on the key and Use/Activate it again, this will display a window showing you the location of the apartment and the current password (which will be blank). You need to set a password and then find the appropriate elevator. Certain elevators (notably the ones inside Neocron city) can be found by using the Nav Ray (under the 'Apartment' section) but for other zones you may have to open each set of elevator doors and target the interface, the name of the interface needs to match the location listed in the key info. NOTE: I know for certain that the Tech Haven interface names are different to that listed in the key, however the numbers (1A etc) are still correct. Once you find the correct elevator, enter your password and enjoy your new apartment (check the cabinets for rubbish).