Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when we rolled into town. I really didn't think it would be so hard to find a place. I never had a hard time finding apartments and rooms to rent in FoCo, so I assumed it would be a similar experience here. We'd find a handful of listings on craigslist, we'd tootle around looking at said listings, then we'd decide on one, sign the lease and live happily ever after. Ha, silly Jessi!
The first place we almost rented was clean, in good shape and updated (there are lots of old buildings in Pitt, some of which are very charming and beautiful, some of which are quite sad). We got as far as filling out an application, signing the lease and paying the application fee. We were at the rental office, about to pay the deposit and first month's rent when we were told that because hubby is an international student on a student visa, they required that we pay not only the first month's rent, but also the second-to-last and last months of the lease. Um, what? First off, that's total BS. Secondly, who has that kind of money to drop on an apartment lease?? Certainly not a student and his dancer/writer spouse. And while nice, this place was no penthouse on 5th Avenue. Thanks but no thanks, sub-par rental management company (who has terrible online reviews, btw, which we were ignoring in our haste to find a permanent place - stupid move on our part, but we quickly learned our lesson). Moving on.
We made phone calls. Lots of them. They were largely fruitless since the majority of places we called, both private renters and rental companies, had already rented their advertised apartments. I was indignant - take your listing and/or sign down if you've rented the place, for crying out loud! One company told us that they keep their "apartment available" sign up year-round. I'm no real estate professional, but that just seems pointless. And frustrating for those of us looking for a place to live.
We made all kinds of appointments and visited all kinds of apartments. So many were rather pathetic and some were downright unlivable. At one place, I was shocked to learn a family with children had lived there before. One place after another had me more discouraged and more tired. I started to worry that I was being way too picky and maybe I should think about lowering my standards. What was I looking for, exactly? Oh, a clean space, working appliances, no insects and no mystery food smells, no fearing radon or carbon monoxide poisoning... I was quickly losing patience (and I don't have a lot to begin with, y'all).
Then hubby calls the umpteenth listing from craigslist. At this point I'd had it and didn't care anymore. Fine, we'll go look later today. Yes, I'll keep an open mind. Schmeh.
Omigosh, we walked into an apartment oasis in a desert of total dumps. It was clean! Updated! No insects! No mystery smells! It was clean! And furnished - bonus! I loved it at first sight. I also got a good vibe from the neighborhood as we drove through, which is important. Other 'hoods didn't give me good vibes. I listen to my intuition, it knows what's up.
But we didn't take it right then and there. Our experience up to that point had us apprehensive and distrusting. A few days went by, we looked at other places and made more phone calls. But I couldn't stop thinking about that lovely little third-floor apartment. After more deliberation and discussion, I convinced hubby that it was meant to be. He called the landlord, we made an appointment and we signed on the dotted line. And exhale...
We move in this Saturday! I'm really looking forward to settling into our first place and feeling at home.
Anyone else have similar harrowing house or apartment hunting experiences??
Happy Hump Day!