Strap in folks, this one is going to be a looooooong one.
After returning home from 3 months abroad I’ve been feverishly looking for a place to live. In the past, I’ve always found places to live quite easily with the exception of Newport Beach where the competition was stiff but with enough money, you could solve the problem.
In LA….it’s a fucking nightmare! Here’s a little glimpse into my daily apartment hunting life at the moment.
What I’m looking for: studio or 1 bedroom, parking, laundry in building, some upgrades inside the apartment and as safe of a neighborhood I can get for my money.
The Hunting Phase
There are plenty of properties. The problem is not that there isn’t enough inventory on the market. Actually, it’s the opposite. I have so many choices to comb through that it takes at least an hour each and every day to look at each one to see if it fits what I am looking for.
Filters are trash. The filters you can use to limit the amount of properties you see in a given search are complete garbage because those people putting up the listings either don’t give a shit or forget to include important facts like laundry, parking, amenities. Outside of limiting your search to location and budget. Everything else, leave blank or you’re going to miss out on EVERYTHING YOU WANT!
Calls/Emails go unanswered. You think, hey, I’ll just shoot them an email or give them a call to see if this property has parking and they just forgot to list it. Simple enough. No! You’re going to email and leave tons of voicemails and maybe 10% of those will get you a returned call or email – and even then, they sometimes aren’t even giving you the answer you asked for. It’s just a general blanket statement of, “Would you like to schedule a viewing appt?” And now you can’t remember what you originally asked them because you EMAILED OR CALLED THEM 5 FUCKING DAYS AGO amongst the 50 other properties you called/emailed on.
Competition is HIGH. You are not the only one searching. There are tons of you’s going online and looking for a place. If you use the most popular websites to find apartments, you are fighting against 90% of the house hunting population. If it’s listed on Apartments.com or something similar, it’s probably already got like 10 applications on it and not even worth all the trouble it takes to get an appointment, view it then fill out the paperwork.
The Getting Catfished By Agents Phase
The property gets rented before your appointment. This doesn’t even need to be explained. You’re just shit out of luck. Fucker was just added to the market, you thought you had first dibs and boom, it’s gone in less then a day. Fuck!
Getting Stood Up. Ok, so you find the place that ticks all the boxes, you make the appointment and you show up to the property when…..the agent never shows or cancels just before! Just kill me now. I much prefer the new systems where you get a code before your appointment to view the property yourself and then lock the key back up in the box and move on.
The apartment looks nothing like the photos online. Yup, happens all the time. They used the photos from a completely different unit that has all the upgrades. When you walk into the unit available, it looks like you’ve gone through a time warp and landed in the 80s – pink fucking carpet, yellow dirty grout filled tile in the kitchen and a tub that looks like it should be condemned instead of enjoyed. If looks could kill, you’d be dead.
Bars on the window – RUN! Seriously though. When you are hunting online and you see any types of bars on the windows or doors, skip that fucking property. That neighborhood is going to be a damn nightmare. I don’t care WHAT it looks like on google or how beautiful the inside is with upgrades. Just no!
Ok so you finally find a place, everything checks out and it’s time to move on to what I like to call:
The ENDLESS Application Phase
The paper application – I don’t know about anyone else but I haven’t actually filled out a paper application since fucking high school when I filled out the dreadfully long FAFSA application. I forgot what it was like to get a hand cramp. I much prefer the electronic apps because then I don’t have to go hunt down a printer at Kinkos and wait in line behind someone who looks like they’ve never used anything electronic in their entire life! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET OUT OF THE WAY AND JUST LET ME DO IT!!!!
Fees for everything. You’re going to pay anywhere from $35 – $45 per application you submit for smaller, independently owned apartments. I can’t afford the fancy apartment complexes with all the amenities. I have to go to much smaller, typically property managed by an outside company, type units.
Waiting in Line. There are likely other applicants ahead of you on any given property. This creates a sense of anxiety that I can’t even begin to explain. When you find a place that looks good, you want to submit an application before even physically looking at the place, but you’ve been burned but the ugly apartments you’ve seen that didn’t match the photos. The struggle is real!
Property gets rented before you. All this work only to find out someone who was in line in front of you got approved and rented the apartment. So you paid money, weren’t even considered and you have a choice to try for another apartment on their website OR bug them for a refund (some places don’t offer refunds, others do if they didn’t run your credit or consider your application). But be careful because if you piss them off, you’re probably never gonna get your application looked at. Catch 22.
The Application is Being Considered Phase
Credit Score is Everything. Are you going to pay a low deposit or double deposit. This stage hurts the wallet if you have bad credit, like me. I’ve had a rough go at life and my credit got damaged because of it, nothing I can do about it except bend over, grab my ankles and take it.
Pre-Qualification. This is where they send you an email or call you and get you all amped up thinking you are for sure getting the place only to be presented with the option of bringing them money or waiting for the full qualification process while someone else snatches the property out from under you. So you give them money and hope for the best.
At the end of the day, can we just stop the madness already!!!
Oh yea, I got a place and I move in next month. So there’s that hahaha.