Oh, Things I Wish I Knew About : Apartment Hunting

I know that there has been a lot of talk (from me) about moving as of late. I just can’t help it though! This is my first move to a place that’s more than 20 minutes from family and friends. Juggling school and work was hard enough, but throw job hunting and then apartment hunting into the mix and you have yourself one big and very overwhelming mess. As I searched, I wish that there had been someone, somewhere who had gone through what I had, someone to look to, but alas none of my friends had looked for apartments in a faraway place, nor had anyone in my family.

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So Craigslist it was. Every hour of every day since I had secured the job, I was checking Craigslist looking for apartments. I probably sent over 150 emails and only received replies from about 15 of them. So friends and readers, here are my tips for apartment hunting. Yes it’s daunting, but it’s a completely doable task.

1. Be organized! As you comb through the hundreds of Craigslist postings and begin to contact them, it’s important to remember which ones are which. I bookmarked everything on my computer, which helped me check in with the listings that I was interested in, but hadn’t heard from yet. When it came time to setting up appointments with people, I found it easiest to enter my appointments into my phone calendar with the address as the title. However, be sure to enter in the contact phone number. I ended up having to go through my entirely recently called list as I tried to get a hold of a homeowner that I had made an appointment with.
2. Only send a message to the spaces that are within your price range. I found myself getting a little overzealous at times, thinking, “I could totally afford this,” but it the end excitement of living in a better location overshadowed the sheer truth. I was holding myself to a strict budget and no matter how hard I wished, that person’s price was not going to waver.
3. Going off of number two, only reply to the spaces that you are interested in. For a lot of the listings that I saw there was a lot of “NO KITCHEN PRIVILEGES” and “NO ACCESS TO COMMON AREAS.” You want to live in a space where you feel at home, not like you’re imprisoned.
4. Only give away information that you’re comfortable sharing. Many listings asked for more detail such as your schedule, hobbies, interests, and personality traits. The nature (and the danger) of perusing Craigslist is that you never know exactly who you’re talking to. Most of the posters I sent a message to were fine with the basic information that I provided like my age, my line of work (but not my workplace), and what my hobbies were. However, one individual I was emailing kept asking me more specific questions like where I was going to work, where I was from, and repeatedly asked me to be even more specific about my schedule, hobbies, and interests – without even inviting me to come see the space that was up for rent and an in-person meeting. I thought it was a little unsettling.
5. Of course, BEWARE OF SCAMS. The first reply that I received was from a man named Joseph who was offering an unbelievably inexpensive apartment in a prime location. I guess my red flag should have gone up then. He then responded with a message saying that he was an “honest and hardworking man” who was completing a missionary trip in the Philippines and had the keys and the documents with him there. He asked me to wire transfer money to him and then he would send over the keys. HELLO! Be smart with the people you reply to, and if you ever feel like something is fishy – go with your gut.

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