We are officially on the market for a new (rental) house. The Bay Area is a crazy place to apartment hunt – especially if you have standards (and we have quite a few of them). We’re looking for a lively safe neighborhood, 2+ bedrooms, allows adorable pups (no matter the breed or weight), spacious living quarters and reasonable rent. An important factor for me is that the place have character, charm and lots of light. Luckily, our landlord has agreed to let us go month-to-month on our current place so we can seek out the perfect place for us without feeling rushed (a month ago I was in a panic). As a person who has moved a whopping 12 times in the past 7 years, I can say I have a little bit of experience in the apartment hunting battlefield. Finding a place in a big city like San Francisco can be pretty exhausting (another reason we’ve relocated to the East Bay) but I’ve learned that with patience you can find a place without needing to compromise on any of your living desires. It’s just waiting it out that’s the tough part. While I’m still waiting for the perfect little abode to come along, here are some things I’ve learned from all my moving experiences:
1. Get the word out to your friends and family that you’re hunting – you never know when a friend of a friend of a friend is moving out of their great apartment and needs a fabulous tenant like yourself to takeover.
2. Look in places other than Craigslist, believe it or not, the newspaper still has a classifieds section! There are also great new sites like livelovely.com that are popping up to help tenants find fabulous places to live.
3. When you find a potential place, come back at different times during the day to see what the neighborhood is like. It could be a traffic-jammed during rush hour on that street or eerie and desolate at night.
4. View the apartment more than once, go back and bring a friend or your significant other to get their opinion. If you’re in a hurry to find a place, you may be overlooking something that will make your living situation uncomfortable in the long-run.
5. Make sure you ask all the necessary questions up front (i.e. pets policy, deposit, other upfront costs, parking, external storage space, communal areas).
6. Don’t submit anything unless you’re very serious about renting. It’s not worth wasting yours or the landlord’s time if you’re hesitant about renting.
7. Always get a proof of payment when dealing with money. Some renters require a holding deposit if you’re serious about a place but need a day or two to think about it. Make sure if you pay in cash that they give you a receipt.
8. Be sure the place will fit your needs. We work a lot from home so we need adequate space for 2 desks, a sewing table, craft storage, etc.
9. Get a move on if you really want a place. Landlords are mostly concerned about renting their units to the first viable person and they most likely won’t wait for you to think about it for too long. If you love it, act on it! (But do all of the above steps first)
10. Be patient! If you’re like me, you want the perfect place at a great price NOW. Keep your options open, find something you and your significant other will both be comfortable in and be able to pick your habitat, not let the habitat pick you. Give yourself plenty of time to search, schedule viewings and make the biggest decision of renting your next place.
When I do find us the perfect place, I can’t wait to settle down for a bit and make it our humblest abode yet. For now, I’ll just peruse through images of other people’s adorable living spaces wishing it were my own.