Today is our big apartment hunting day. We have seen 6 places so far and have one more appointment this evening. I have seen so much already today that I don’t know how I’m going to tell it all. But here’s what I can tell you: let’s call it a guide to finding an apartment (disclaimer: we haven’t actually found an apartment yet, so this may be a load of crap).
This website is awesome because it takes all the apartment listings on CraigsList and puts them on a map. You tell it what city you’re looking at, then you can filter your search results by price, number of bedrooms, etc. There are additional features that set this site above the rest. You can tell it to filter the results based on where you work (i.e. 20 minute drive to google). And you can set it so it emails you with new search results. This website is an essential tool for anyone searching for an apartment.
2. Make 1000 phone calls.
I sat at the kitchen table in my pajamas all day yesterday looking at apartments on my laptop and making phone calls. It was a chaotic, draining, phone-tag, mind-numbing process. But it had to be done. At the end of it all, I had made 6 appointments (we made a 7th appointment during the day today).
3.Wear comfortable shoes.
I know that a lot of my readers do not live in a big city, so this may be hard for you to understand. In SF, there is absolutely nowhere to park. So you can forget about driving around town looking for an apartment. Luckily, we scheduled 3 in a row right in the same area so we took a cab to the first then walked to the other two.
4. Bring lots of cash.
We had to take a taxi to 3 of our appointments because we haven’t figured out the bus system yet. And it is not cheap and they are hard to find (because you’re not always on a major road). I recommend the Magic Taxi iPhone App for situations where you’re not sure how you’re gonna get a cab.
5. Jump through their hoops!
If a property manager emails you and says you need to fill out an application, print out your credit report, make a photo copy of your driver’s license, and bring them to your appointment, do it. Then have all the applications in a folder in your purse (or briefcase?) in order of viewing. That way, you don’t look like an idiot fumbling through your bag, while the property manager taps her toes and looks at her watch.
6. Make a Pro/Con List.
I know you all know how to do this, so I won’t bore you with instructions. I love Pro/Con Lists!!! It is a great way to remind yourself of things you liked and didn’t like and then weigh which details are more important and less important. For example, we looked at an apartment today that didn’t have any 3-pronged electrical outlets. It only had the 2-pronged kind. I can name at least 12 things that I own that require the 3. So this detail went on the Con side. But then I googled it and found out that you can call an electrician and get your outlets changed. So then that becomes less of a big deal. See?
7. Go with your gut feeling.
After careful examination of your pro/con list, think about which apartment you walked in and said “Cool!” That’s important. It’s really important that you choose an apartment that you love, regardless of location, or price, or the existence of a pool.
This is the view from the living room of our favorite apartment.