Chaos Attraction

Apartment Hunting Sucks.

2006-03-26, 3:16 p.m.

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Apartment hunting sucks and I wanna cry.

Today, I did the walkabout. Canvassed pretty much every complex in the area I want to live in (i.e. this neighborhood), and some neighborhoods I don't even want to live in for good measure. (Alas, the nicest complexes I found weren't even close to the grocery store, so that's out.) Walked around checking out what each place had to offer, writing down business hours for the weekdays, etc.

I was not happy. I had the bad vibes pretty much everywhere.

I found a ton of mini-complexes that, while they didn't look too bad, had no way to contact anyone about moving in. Shame, really. How the hell do they get tenants? Oh, wait, they have contacts. Which I do not have.

My second-choice complex, which is not-so-coincidentally next door to the first-choice complex that didn't work out...well, I walked through there twice today. The first time, it looked all right. The second time, I found the lobby area and went on through, and it just gave me a weird vibe. I'd heard it was an "adult" complex, but I'm guessing "adult" translates into "senior citizen" or something. I found fliers for the Senior Center all over the place. There were rooms that were empty but for random items left about. It just seemed...strange. And some areas are kinda ratty. (Course, that applies here too.)

Most other complexes seemed kinda ratty. (One down the block from me had scary rednecks hanging around and having a lawn sale. I steered clear.) Or I couldn't find stuff such as the laundry room. Or if they HAD a laundry room, they had a tiny little closet with one washer and one dryer in them. What the hell kind of thinking is that? What happens when one breaks? That's crazy. (Note: I also did laundry at home today and I used 3 washers and 2 dryers so I could get it all done within a couple of hours.)

I'd like to think that I'm fairly easy to please. I'd like a first floor apartment. Patio and pool would be nice. Needs a laundry room with more than one w/d in it. Near to bus line, grocery store, and within a half hour's walk of campus. Location is essential.

And yet...argh.

There is, so far, ONE hope. One place that gave me some good vibe, or at least didn't seem as iffy as everywhere else. It's a block or two from where I live now. Has a pool, spa, free Internet, and patio area. (Current complex has all of that but the spa.) It seems pretty well kept up as far as I could tell on the outside. The pricing I found so far is reasonable. The only not-great thing is the bus lines aren't as close to the complex as I'd like- more of a walk to get to the closest 2. No more last-minute running back to get something I forgot.

But even THAT one probably has some issues. I've found a few good reviews online of the apartment complex itself, but mostly godawful ones about the property management company that owns the joint- claims that they don't do any maintenance and are just terrible and don't care about who lives there. Not to mention a lovely comment I found about how speaking to these people is "like entering every steretypical English-as-a-second-or-third-language experience you can imagine." Yeah, that's all I need, trying to communicate with people who apparently don't speak English too well.

The thing is, it seems like every website that has reviews of apartment complexes (that someone has commented on, anyway) has nasty comments about every single complex's management. Some of them have some good and some bad comments, some are just bad. But everywhere, without an exception as far as I can tell, has at least "OMG this person is SO AWFUL do NOT deal with them OMG SO BAD they screwed me over!" comment. Usually there's more than one of those.

I don't really know how to interpret that. I don't know anyone who's been happy with their apartment management in this town that isn't me. Well, I used to be happiER with mine, but they are really slacking with repairs of late. (Ian tells me the onsite manager has a full-time job AND a very very active social life. That explains why you can hardly find him and it takes him weeks to fix the sink, I guess. I don't begrudge the man a social life, but I do think things ran smoother when grad students ran the joint. They seem to have more free time.) So there is a certain level of "Anywhere you go, the management is going to suck, piss you off, and screw you over" attached to everywhere as a matter of course. I don't have high expectations of THAT improving much.

But when as far as I can tell, everywhere else has even worse problems with management than I do... and the only places I can find with overall good recs are the ones that are in a bad location for me... I can't help but think, if I can't find anything BETTER than what I've got, why go to all of this work and time and money to change it?

I just feel like no matter what choice I make, it's going to be BAD in some way. I mean, really bad. Like trading in one not-great management situation for an even WORSE management situation. I know that's my inner Taurus coming out big time (inner Taurus is sick to her stomach and miserable about the very idea of moving so much as down the hall, should I just get a single in this complex), but if I'm going to take an action of change, I want it to be for the better, not just putting myself in a same-or-shittier situation with a whole lot more effort put into it. I don't want to change just for the sake of change, dammit.

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