Edit: I appreciate everyone's feedback, which was generally in favor of staying, partly because leaving a satisfactory home for a new one entails unknown risks with regard to neighbors and/or the building, and partly because my hypothesis that spending more money will be motivating is suspect. Because I have real life friends who reads this website, I have removed the more identifying and/or financial specifics from the original post, and will not disclose which path I ended up taking. Thank you all again!
I have a decision due in about 14 hours, and I'm hoping to benefit from the community wisdom before then. I apologize that my thinking is a bit unstructured here, and it's very possible that I'll benefit more from critique on my thinking in general rather than feedback on the specific decision to move or stay.
[Redacted] I've been at my apartment for close to [Redacted] years now. It's a great building, I have a great unit, I pay a reasonable price, and I have virtually no complaints. Last year, they increased my rent by [Redacted]% (they originally asked for more but I negotiated it down), which I thought was very reasonable. This year, however, they are raising it by [Redacted]%, and that's after negotiating it down from a much higher original renewal offer. While this is higher than I'd like (I was hoping for something closer to the 8% inflation rate), I'm ok with this.
Spurred by the initially much higher renewal offer, though, I'd looked around and am considering upgrading to a nearby building. Moving there would actually mean my rent going up by [Redacted]% over the renewal rent, or [Redacted]% more than what I pay today. I know that sounds a bit silly given I was looking because my apartment is raising rent, but the move would be a quality upgrade. The building is [Redacted] years newer, the amenities maybe [Redacted]% fancier, and my unit will be [Redacted]% larger. There are also more intangible benefits--it's almost certainly a bit safer by virtue of the higher price point, the residents are probably fancier people (which may not be everyone's cup of tea; I think I have a moderate preference for living among neighbors who are higher socioeconomic class rather than lower), the unit will be a nicer and more convenient place for friends to gather and dates to come over. I also don't go out much and so fully enjoy my abode (as opposed to people who travel for work every other week or go out every other night, for example).
So nominally, the perks seem commensurate with a [Redacted]% premium. Two major drawbacks:
The [Redacted]% premium is after factoring in a bunch of aggressive new resident promos. Once that expires at the end of a [Redacted] month lease, rent goes up by another [Redacted]%. In case all the percentages are confusing, imagine I currently pay $100. Staying means paying $[Redacted] next year at the same apartment. Moving means paying $[Redacted] for the first [Redacted] months at the new place, and $[Redacted] thereafter. Yikes.
Moving costs money and time. Not included above is something like $[Redacted] in various one-time fees, and maybe another $[Redacted] or so in movers. Even with movers, all the packing/unpacking/cleaning/changing addresses etc. will likely lose me a week of time. One of my exes used to happily move once a year to experience new architecture and neighborhood etc., a mindset to which I cannot relate. So while I could just move again after the new resident promos run out in [Redacted] months, it'll be a substantial pain in the butt.
Note that I did look at other buildings. But because my current place is perfectly satisfactory, and because moving is a major hassle to me, none of the other buildings offered sufficiently of an upgrade or discount over my renewal to warrant a change. So I've narrowed down to just two options, pay [Redacted]% more to stay, or pay [Redacted]% more to move (and expect to pay [Redacted]% more after [Redacted] months, or else move again).
One more important factor: I am in a comfortable financial position. [Redacted]
[Redacted] I worry that by staying in my current place, I would be taking a (financially and psychologically) conservative path that allows me to remain less productive than I'd like to be. I'd like to work harder because I do like my work and would appreciate all the perks of great success--more money, prestige, fulfillment, better dating odds, meeting inspiring people etc. I wonder if by moving to the pricier place, the higher rent will light a bit of a fire under my butt and result in faster progress in my work that ends up paying more dividends on a net basis. That might even be true after the first [Redacted]-months when rent will [Redacted].
My worry however is that this is all fanciful, motivated thinking. What if I remain just as unproductive as I am today after moving? Since I won't be homeless anytime soon even after upgrading, any metaphorical fire can be easily rationalized away. And then I'd just be living larger than I need or deserve with nothing more to show for it, plus I'd be volunteering for unnecessary stress associated with moving, when I'm perfectly content with my current place. This may sound silly, but by staying, I could enjoy Black Friday deals on new furniture and appliances, whereas if I move, it wouldn't really make sense to buy stuff only to have to take it apart and move it a month later.
I know I've shared only a sliver of all the possible factors in making an optimal decision, given space and privacy constraints. But I constantly find people here surprise me with their unique perspectives, so thought there is nothing to lose and maybe a lot to learn by posting my thinking and welcoming critiques over the next 14 hours or so. Hope this wasn't too boring.