As I’ve buried myself more and more deeply into apartment hunting (a task that requires daily effort given how quickly places are getting snapped up), it has been interesting to collect data and try to figure out the trends that I’m seeing. Sure, I’ve only been at it for about two weeks as of writing this (which is hardly a conclusive amount of data), but most of this stuff has held true throughout, to the point where I’m already making decisions based on it and seeing those assumptions pay off. Not in a huge way, unfortunately, since I still haven’t found a place to live, but in ways that are validating of my process and that make my life a bit easier (since it largely amounts to having an easier time winnowing the chaff). Now, I can get a decent scan of new apartments and an evaluation of which to contact in about fifteen minutes, across my four main sites.
Now, I’d love to share my tricks but they would all involve pinpointing where I live to a degree that I’m not comfortable with AND they would put the methods I’ve developed on the internet in a way that would enable other people in my local housing market to use them against me (assuming they already aren’t and that’s not something I’m willing to assume given how obvious half these things feel). Most of them aren’t really interesting, either. Just the sort of things that come with using any website or style of service often enough. The real trick will be to see if I can use what I’ve learned so far and what I’ve started compiling from my list of responses to create an introductory message that allows me to skip the first whole set of back-and-forth emails meant to establish bonafides and the introductory “give me basic data” questions.
Honestly, what I’ve noticed the most as I’ve been digging away in the apartment mines is that all of the shitty, overpriced stuff stays up for weeks. All of the decent, lower-priced stuff is snapped up instantly. Anything with in-unit laundry, adequate bathrooms for multiple adults, or not-terrible floor plans disappears in a day or two. All the clearly over-priced new developments are still there, each with (depending on the website) little notes about when it was listed as for rent, what it cost the last time it was listed for rent, and how much (percentage wise) the rent changed between those times. Everything with massive rent increases (15% and up) or that has stayed stable at a price of over $1.5 per square foot (which is on the low end for a lot of this places and was an unthinkable price when I first moved to the area nine years ago) is just sitting unclaimed, each one listed as “available now” as the property owner desperately tries to rent out a shitty cookie-cutter apartment in a city full of new developments that somehow didn’t do anything to lower the cost of rent. Almost like they know the area is full of people who need apartments to rent, make decent wages (but not super high ones), and are trying to force people into ridiculously overpriced shlock.
There have been rumors lately that the overpricing of rent in my city is about to break, that the whole area is about to see a reduction rather than a rise because all of these new buildings have overpriced their rentals and can’t get people to fill them. I mean, I refuse to live in any of them, even with a roommate, because they lack any kind of personality and they each feel like they’d suck my soul out while I slept. So crisp, modern, and empty of anything but sterile “housing.” I’m sure there are people that appeals to, but I like a little clutter. I like filling space and odd quirks that change the shape of a room. I also like the quiet and being able to peacefully enjoy the place I live, so there’s definitely a line, but I need a place to feel like “mine” for me to be comfortable in it. If it just feels like I’m occupying a prcedurally generated space, I’ll never really feel at home.
Still, I’ll hopefully find a place soon. Maybe even with a roommate. Maybe, and this is far less likely, for a lower rent than I’m currently paying if I don’t wind up with a roommate. I’ve got some decent leads, I’ve put in the work, and I’ve got a system [oh, how hopeful I was a mere week ago]. All I need is to figure out what the hell I’m doing by the 30th so I can tell my landlord if I’ll need an extra day or two. Or an extra month, since I doubt they’d give me just a day. If I get charged for the whole month, though, I’m using it. Gonna take my sweet time moving out and just not hurry anything ever. I do like a month of overlap if I can’t get just the three to seven days I need. I’ve never had to leave my stuff in the truck overnight, so that would be a new experience and not once I’m entirely sure I’m up for. Feels anxiety-inducing.