The Apartment Switch Challenge

Updated: 7/3/2019 for Island Living

About The Apartment Switch

The Apartment Switch is a generational challenge all about building, decorating, making money, and most of all learning about the “City Living” Expansion for The Sims 4. It was heavily inspired by the Drifter Challenge by Vihisha Tak’Nai and the Movin’ On Up challenge by ImaginingMystic. It also could be said there’s a little of a Legacy Challenge by PinStar in it as well. It requires, obviously, that you own Sims 4 Base game and the City Living expansion, but can be completed without any others. The challenge takes place exclusively in the San Myshuno neighborhood in Sims 4, although travel to the other neighborhoods is not restricted. There are also two difficulties available for The Apartment Switch, Normal and Extreme, but I’ll explain more about them later. As for other expansions, having or not having them won’t make much difference in how the Challenge plays. I know that, in particular, the Seasons expansion will make things a lot harder on other challenges, but it definitely won’t “break” The Apartment Switch, since apartments are largely indoors and you don’t have to do much in the way of “Lawn Living.” The only expansion that is expressly forbidden is Vampires, and I just restrict having vampires as a playable lifestate for the purposes of this challenge.

What’s a Switch?

A “Switch” is a single challenge inside of the Apartment Switch challenge. The Apartment Switch is made up of six of these Switches, each intended to be played over the course of a single generation. You are penalized for taking more than one generation to complete each “Switch,” but you don’t fail the challenge for taking longer. The term “Switch” came about when I needed a way to easily refer to each separate challenge within the whole The Apartment Switch challenge.

Each Switch is made up for four interlinked challenges each requiring that you build and/or decorate an apartment. In other words, each switch is four apartments long. With six individual Switches, this means that by the end of the challenge you will have built and/or decorated twenty four total apartments.. and what an achievement that will be!

At the beginning of each “Switch” your heir will be forced back to starting with 0 Simoleons. This is most definitely on purpose to make the challenge.. well, a challenge. Each Switch can be played separately with a brand new sim, but it’s meant to be played with an heir from the previous Switch. However, inside each switch you won’t be starting back from 0 for each successive apartment. In other words, feel free to save up as much money as you wish before moving onto the next apartment within a switch. Having that buffer can make the next apartment much easier.. but waiting more time before moving will make getting all your goals done before the next challenge harder.. so the two must be balanced carefully.


The rest of this page is devoted to some general information about the challenge. Be sure to read it carefully before you move on. After that, move onto Getting Started, and then through the six switch pages as you play. I separated everything out so that people who don’t want spoilers can avoid them easily. I include the links to all Apartment Switch rule pages here, that way you can get around easily, but the pages are all directly linked, as well.

Main Rules

These apply to all Switches, all of the time, so read them carefully.

  • No cheating! That means no “Kaching” or “Motherlode” cheats to help you make money. The only cheats allowed are “bb.moveobjects on” to help you decorate and “money 0” when you’re starting up a new Switch.
  • You start each Switch with nothing. Make sure to sell off anything you have in your inventory. If there’s a collectible (i.e. photo) that you simply can’t part with, you will have to pay the value of this out of your pocket BEFORE buying anything else. Things like frogs that can be bred and career reward items are not to come with you when you move to the new switch.
  • This challenge is designed to be played without mods. You may use them, however, so long as they don’t affect game play in any “cheat-y” ways. If it’s questionable, just assume it’s a no. (On MC Command Center, I know that a lot of people use to help the game’s story progression out in the background, so as long as that’s all you have it set to do, you’re welcome to use it.)
  • As mentioned in the part about creating your sim: aliens are okay, vampires are not. This determination was made because of vampires’ differences in aging. So, no moving in or playing a vampire in this challenge.
  • Heirs must be made through “try for baby” with someone living in the apartment with your sim. They do not have to be married, but they do have to be living with you.
  • No bringing in a spouse, roommate or child without them having a place to stay/sleep. This means a bed of their own (for a roommate), a double bed for a spouse to sleep in with you, and a crib for the new baby (you are also allowed to let the game provide the crib). If you adopt, the child will need a bed appropriate for their age before they move in.
  • Moving in a roommate to help make money is okay, but think hard before doing this because not only will they have to have a place to sleep, but you’re not allowed to move them back out again if you change your mind. (Again, previous household members other than your heir are not allowed to be moved in at any time.)
  • Any funds a roommate or spouse bring in must be cheated away with the “money” cheat – you have to make the money yourself not get it from moving random sims in. When a townie or NPC sim moves in with, say, the 20k starter money, you deduct that from your total cash after they move in because technically it’s not money you “earned”. Just write down your total before the sim moves in and make sure it’s the same after they’re moved in. (use the cheat code box – control-alt-c – to “testingcheats on” then “money 78” (where 78 is the total funds you had before they moved in), then “testingcheats off” and close the box.)
  • All sims in the household may be controlled! (That means they can all help (or not) and contribute to the money being made via job, collecting, or crafting.)
  • Lot Traits can be added to the list, but never taken away. The traits that the apartment came with must stay, but you’re welcome to add other traits to fill up the three slots. If you ever have a question, or think a trait got removed accidentally, just check the Switch page that you’re on for a listing of what traits your current apartment is supposed to have.
  • Each apartment must be within the target value amount before moving. Example: your very first apartment has a listed “value” of 8000-10000 simoleons. That means it needs to have a worth of at least 8000, but not be worth more than 10000. To see an accurate total, always exit out of build mode and go back in to make sure everything is depreciated and tallied. If you go over the value amount, simply delete items until you’re back to within the target amounts. This rule is so you’re leaving affordable apartments behind you.. and also so you have an idea of what quality furniture to use in your decorating. (Example: if you’re working on the first apartment on each Switch, it’s meant to be a “starter” apartment, and you’ll use low quality items to make it more affordable.)
  • When looking at your apartment to make sure it’s “done”, make sure that all the walls and floors are painted, and it generally looks like a completely decorated home.
  • Feel free to use clubs and parties as much as you wish. The story is yours to tell, if you want to!
  • No aging up sims before it’s their birthday. In other words, it has to say “0 days until ____ (age)” before you use birthday cake. This is also true for babies – wait until the game tells you in your notification window that it’s the baby’s birthday.
  • Aspirations can be changed at any time freely. Go ahead and make as many lifetime happiness points as you can, and spend them as you wish.
  • If your rent bill has come due (Every Monday at 10 AM in Sims) and you have the target value completed, you still must pay your rent BEFORE you move – no getting out of paying rent by moving to the next apartment. Keep this in mind when moving into new apartments. Sometimes it’s better to wait so you’re not caught in the red when rent comes due and you just moved in!
  • You are not required to stay at least a week in each apartment – if you have the apartment value up and are ready to move, feel free to move!

It is possible to score the Apartment Switch Challenge, but not necessary. If you’re just not into counting points, that’s perfectly fine! I added a point system just so players who want can a measure of how well they did at the challenge. (Face it, some people like using points for their challenges.) I tried to make the point categories simple so it’s easier to remember and keep track of them.

  • 20 points: Finishing a apartment within a Switch (or you can count it as 80 points for each full Switch completion).
  • -50 points: Needing another generation to complete the Switch before having an heir ready to move on. (This penalty can be applied more than once if you really take a long time.)
  • 10 points: for getting married and moving in a sim OR for  moving in a roommate.
  • 10 points: for a single baby being born and raised to at least teen.(Usually, the heir, but you can have more if you’re really into collecting points.) You also get this for alien abduction births. (Twin or triplet birth is a separate bonus, you don’t get to add extra points for them.)
  • 25 points: for a twins birth and raising them to at least teen. (That way you don’t get points for babies born but taken away by the social worker.)
  • 40 points: for a triplet birth and raised them to at least teen.
  • -10 points: for each baby taken away by social services. Naughty player!
  • -20 points: per sim death by anything other than old age.
  • -15 points: for each power or water outage due to non-payment of bills.

I have the points set up so that you get 100 points for completing a switch with a married couple and one child, their heir, at young adult stage and ready to move on.. but, there are ways (obviously) to make more or less than that. 100 points per switch is a successfully completed Switch challenge, with 600 total for the full challenge. How do you think you’ll measure up?

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure to save up enough money ahead of time to move into the next apartment. Failure to do so can make the challenge tougher. I have the minimum “move in amount” listed for each apartment so you will know if you need to save up extra to move into the next apartment.
  • Try having the heir at around 5 days before Adulthood on your main sim. Any later and you run the risk of your heir having to live on his or her own for a while before they get to Young Adult and are ready to move to the next Switch. If you don’t think you’ll have enough money to move on before your heir grows up, you can wait a bit longer to have the baby and move someone else in to take care of the child. Teens, technically, can survive on their own for a few days, but they won’t be making any money, so have that all done before your main sim passes away.
  • Even toddlers can breed frogs! It may sound silly, but the money from breeding frogs regularly on all of your sims can really add up and help you out in the challenge! (Especially those high value Whirlyflower frogs!)
  • You can use any method of gaining money and furniture that doesn’t involve cheating. i.e. Jobs, collecting, crafting, fishing, festivals.. etc.  If you can figure out a way to get a garden in your itty bitty apartments, that’s okay, too.
  • You are more than welcome to move in more people (roommates) to help you get the funds required for decorating and building, but do remember each one of them will require a place to stay and your space in each apartment is limited. (Space in the penthouses, however, is far less limited, so keep that in mind.)
  • About the household and personal inventories: to avoid your apartment value decreasing upon move out, consider purchasing duplicates of favorite specialty items for their new residence. (For example: the armchair from the author career or the fridge from the chef career.) Do remember, however, to re-check your house value before you move if you take items with you – items in your household inventory do not count towards your net worth.

Sharing Your Challenge

Part of the fun of doing a challenge is sharing what you made with other people. Obviously, you don’t have to, but I want the option to be there. There are three ways I made of sharing your content – feel free to use any or all of them!

Posting on the Forums

I will have a post on the Sims 4 forums for discussing the challenge. >> Forums Post Link <<

Using the “#apartmentswitch” hashtag

I invented the #apartmentswitch hashtag so that everyone can find items you upload to the Sims 4 Gallery. This includes any rooms, apartments, and/or sims you create while playing the Apartment Switch challenge. Of note: Apartments can not be uploaded in their entirety unless you use the trick listed on this page: You can upload separate rooms, though.

Also, if you’re interested (and don’t mind spoilers), here’s a page with links to all the testing done in the process of creating this challenge: The Apartment Switch Testing

Thanks and Links

First of all, I want to thank Vihisha for her fabulous Drifter Challenge. Without that challenge, this one never would have happened. Second, thanks for the Movin’ On Up challenge, because, again, without trying that challenge, this one would not have happened. I must also send a really big thank you to my teenage daughter, who was instrumental in helping me flesh out the challenge and wading through the craziness of the initial play testing. Those being said, I must also thank my play testers and fellow Drifters who helped in so many ways to make this challenge a reality. Special thanks go to Vihisha, Illusie, and misfit091376 who went above and beyond helping to get this challenge to get going!

Challenge Background/History

Originally, I designed the challenge to be played directly following a trip through the Drifter Challenge so as to contribute to building your own full world. Another challenge it would fit very well with is the Build Newcrest challenge, and you’re always welcome to also try building any other neighborhood the Sims 4 puts out.

Initially, I had a five round challenge in mind – hence the initial play tests on a five round challenge. But the longer I worked on it, the more it made sense to go to a six part challenge instead of the five. It just fit together better.

–> Go to Getting Started

Switch One | Switch Two | Switch Three