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Building appartments in The Sims 3

Updated on September 8, 2013


In the Sims 2 series an expansion pack was released in which you were given the possibility to live in an apartment building with multiple Sims. You could choose which building you wanted to live in and with a number of trics and codes you could also have a go in building and designing your own apartment building. In The Sims 3 also the expension pack was released where you can live in an apartment building, although it is of course more fun to create your own apartment building! This article will have a step by step guide to build your very own apartment.

General information

The explanation below is meant for both players who know how to work with the cheats and mods within The Sims and for players who are not familiar with those. I recommend the advanced players to also read the explanation well before trying to build your first appartment building. When you make mistakes during building and use of the cheats and mods you not just run the risk of not being able to live properly in your newly created appartment building but you also run the risk of compromising the general gameplay of The Sims. The codes that are being used, are those that the makers of the game use for creating the game and they work very precise. This article will show you step by step how to make your own appartment building in The Sims 3. You can also make changes to an existing appartment building. With the help of the images you can see what you should be changing/adding for the appartment building to work properly. It is not difficult to do, but you need to put some attention to it.

Take the following into account

  • Make sure that your main Sim/ Sim family is currently not living on the lot that you are (re)building/re-zoning to an apartment building. This could cause errors in the game and also with your Sims!. Only move your Sim back into the lot once is is completely finished.
  • Do not forget to place the community mailboxes and garbage disposal within the apartment building and remove the garbage can and mailbox. When you would leave the garbage can and mailbox from the non-appartment lot, then this would cause errors in the game and you will get stuck when NPC’s want to pick up their mail or use the trash disposal at the same time. When you already have a functioning apartment building that you only want to bring changes to, then the needed community mailboxes and trash disposals will already be placed within the apartment building.
  • Before building and designing your own apartment within the building, build the walls and doors to the other appartments first as well as any things that should be accessible to the community. Only then do you know what to design for your own apartment and later you can add the cheats.
  • Are you planning to build a swimming pool within your building, then take into account that you cannot build anything below the pool directly as it occupies space below as well. You can build appartments around that though.
  • Make sure that you have room to place elevators (with the opening on the correct side) on each floor where NPC’s or your Sim needs to have access to.

Step 1 - the first floor

See photo below:

Before planning out everything else, think about how big the space is where you want to live and on which floor it would be. In this article the main Sim is living on the (entire) ground floor and the other residents (NPC’s) will be living in smaller appartments on the floors above. First start laying out the walls for the ground floor and include a central hall where you place the mailboxes/trash disposal as well as the elevator or some stairs to the upper floors. The trash disposal and the mailboxes will be placeable through the (?) cheat menu in the building section after placing the cheats (see later on).

Step 2 - building rooms

In the mean time the rooms on the ground floor have been divided, with two big open spaces and big windows for a lot of light, which Sims love. Also a gate has been placed for the garden but the only door leading to the garden is the one to the quarters of the main Sim, so that the other NPC’s cannot reach it. Of course you can also build a community garden instead.

Step 3 - upper floors

This is the second floor, without any flooring in it but the rooms have been divided and the doors have been placed. There is also a central hall with an elevator. It is best when you place all central halls in the same area of every floor. Also remember that an elevator should be placed against a wall so take this into account with planning the building.

And now....the needed cheats!

At this moment the building is still a house and not an appartment building. For this we still have to make some changes. Now hold Ctrl + Shift + c and you will get a typing bar above in the screen. Next type the following codes one by one followed by “Enter”:

Testingcheatsenabled true (this cheat makes sure all the other cheats work)

Buydebug (this cheat gives the “?” sign in the building menu and gives the objects that you normally don’t see in this mode).

Restrictbuildbuyinbuildings on (this cheat enables placing items within and outside of the building)

Required utilities for an appartment building

In the build/buy menu, click on the “?” and you will see a number of tabs. Choose the tab that gives you all the items to see. |

• Look for the “hidden marker” that looks like a silver round ball. Choose this marker and place it in all of the NPC rooms (including bathrooms, etc.). This marker ensures that this room is assigned to an NPC and is not viewable when in live mode.

• Now look for the “public marker”, that also looks like a silver ball. This marker should be placed in all of the community rooms, such as the central hall, the halls to the rooms, and the rest of the rooms that you want NPC’s to have access to.

• Next look for the community mailboxes and the trash disposal and place them in the central hall (s), the trash disposal can also be placed in several areas, such as one on each floor. Mailboxes only go in the main central hall.

• Last you need to mark the doors in the building that will be used by the NPC’s leading to their appartments. Hold Ctrl + shift simultaneously and click the door. Then choose “Mark as NPC door”. Do this for all NPC doors separately.

Before you start living in your appartment building

Before you close off and officially change your building into an appartment building, check the following:

• Check whether all objects both inside and outside have been placed correctly. Once you disable all cheats, you will not be able to place any items within the public areas anymore.

• Before you have your Sim live in the building it is better to test the building (after disabling the cheats) and check everything. Go back to the city view and then back to the appartment building and go into change/build mode of that building and check whether all NPC spaces are non-viewable.

• Whenever you want to make changes, you can enable the cheats again and make your changes as desired.

Do not forget to disable the cheats after making your changes!

Disabling the cheats!

Are you finished, disable the cheats”
• Testingcheatsenabled false
• Buydebug off
• Restrictbuildbuyinbuildings off


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