Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why finding the apartment of your dreams is harder than it seems

I drove down to my parents' house in Maryland last Friday to look at apartments in DC. August 1st is ever more rapidly approaching, and I wanted to to get my living arrangements settled as soon as possible. I figured I would look at a few places on Saturday, lock something down on Sunday, and be back on my merry way by Monday. 

Ha! Ha ha!

As it turns out, I am still here, with no clear departure date in sight. And not only am I itching (literally! mosquito bites everywhere!) to get out of my parents' house, but I don't know if you realize, but it is summer right now in Mythaca, a rare blink-and-you'll-miss-it event, and Internet, I am missing it. We do have four seasons there, sure--winter, early winter, late winter, and summer; and summer, as far as I am concerned, is the only reason worth sticking out the other three. I have put in more than my fair share of winters, and now I am ready for some sweet, sweet Mythaca summer, dammit! I only have--gulp--sixteen days left on my lease there, and instead of actually being there and hiking and swimming in waterfalls, I am stuck in the soul-sucking suburbs of Maryland going bleary-eyed from all the Craigslist searching. 

I've seen a dozen or so apartments over the last few days--two three two more on the docket for today. So far none has fulfilled the trifecta of apartment perfection--the perfect apartment at the perfect location at the perfect price. I am hesitant to settle (perfectionist much?) but my dogged persistence at apartment-hunting in the past has paid off in spades, and I am finding it hard to go backwards, as far as standard of living is concerned. One apartment is practically perfect, with plenty of room, perfect neighborhood--but there's no laundry, and the price is my upper limit for rent--utilities not included. Another is similarly gorgeous, large, with washer and dryer and the price is right--but it's a couple miles too far north, in the hinterlands of DC. Two miles to my school (and I really wanted easy walking distance), and I definitely couldn't walk out my door and stroll to restaurants and bars like I could in the other place, but there are buses that go past regularly, at all hours of the day and night. Maybe it wouldn't be that bad? So, keep looking, and risk losing what's already there? Or settle for slightly less than perfect? 

The other problem being, of course, that even once I decide on an apartment there are no guarantees I'll actually get it. Nearly every apartment I've seen so far has been an open house type of situation. It generally goes like this: I'll arrive five or more minutes early and walk in to find there are already ten or more people there, milling about the tiny space, and more pouring in every minute. It is quite literally insane. I've even started recognizing some of the same people over and over (Orphan Annie, Dreadlocks Guy). It's a ridiculously competitive market, and apparently my soon-to-be-employed-as-a-French-teacher gig is not winning any contests. I put in an application on the nearly-perfect, expensive-but-no-laundry apartment and did the obligatory interview-to-prove-I-am-not-crazy with the landlord, who said she would try to make a decision by Tuesday. Given that it is now Thursday, and as far as I can tell she has not even called my references, I am afraid that it's not looking good.

I am hoping my luck is about to turn. It is Bastille Day, after all. How could it not be lucky? So here's to le quatorze juillet, et l'appartement de mes rĂªves! (And my swift and triumphant return to Mythaca!)  


  1. Oh, don't worry. If you don't find the perfect apartment, you can just stay with your parents for a few months.


  2. Dawn--FUNNY! Because that is exactly what they keep saying! Ha! Ha ha! Heh...Sigh.

  3. I have my perfect apartment as well. I think that's the main reason I haven't started looking for a new job outside of Chicago, even though I would want to leave someday. Good luck.

  4. Aw, it sucks doesn't it! Good luck, it'll be out there. Probably. No, no It will!

  5. Are you looking actually in DC? My sister lives in Alexandria but I have nothing of value to add.

  6. Didn't you blast me one time about a post that you found lacking in um excitement... and then you give me this about apt. hunting. I'm coming to DC to get you raging drunk so you have some tales to tell, and not just about man-trubble, no need to thank me, i'm just a sweetheart like that.

  7. Chrys--Yup, in DC.

    Kono--I have no recollection of that. Also, shut up. Or I'll write about my floors again.

  8. Don't know where the school is, whether it is near Metro or whether you are determined on a city apartment, but Silver Spring-Bethesda also are options for walkabout fun and transportation. Of course everything here is expensive, so it's all relative to other needs, I suppose. (Do you really need clean clothes regularly?)

    Also, 14th Street NW, 15th Street NW and 16th Street NW are hot spots these days. Close to fun, but not many food store options--Whole Foods at 15th and P.)

    And mom and dad can drop by every weekend!