the apartment search

View of the kitchen and living room. This is the staging furniture, not ours.

This story (luckily) has a happy ending.

Immediately upon finding out we were moving to San Francisco, we were warned about housing.
  • It's expensive.
  • It's competitive.
  • It's usually small.
  • It's usually old. 
  • Location is everything.
  • You'll pay through the nose for location.
  • You need a blood sample and your last 17 addresses to even qualify.
  • You'll stand in lines at open houses that last for 15 minutes. 
  • But surely you won't be homeless so long as you're willing to cough up the dough. 
I started doing a little online browsing months ago and was a bit distressed. Our list of requirements was quite specific given our circumstances:
  • Dog Friendly
  • Washer/Dryer in-unit (I'm not trekking to a sketchy basement every day to wash onesies)
  • Minimal stairs (hi, double stroller)
  • Parking (hi, twins in carseats)
  • At least 1,000 sqft (2BR)
  • Walking distance to helpful amenities
For those of you not living in cities, this may seem like a reasonable list. In SF, it was laughable. Each time I filtered for more of our criteria in Craiglist, less and less apartments met the search requirements. And the best ones, were upwards of $8k-$10k/month (I am not exaggerating).

By some miracle, we were able to find a few contenders and I spent a good portion of our drive out here on the phone making appointments to see available units. Then I would cross my fingers that the place we still be available in 2-3 days when we arrived.

When we got in on Friday, we hit the ground running and saw 4 different places. It was great to get started quickly and get a feel for what was out there. We saw something that was in a less desirable location but brand new with an elevator and parking. We saw something in a good location but it was too small. We saw another unit that was big, old and in the ideal location but not ideal parking. And this became the theme. Every place had lots of pros but then one or two key cons.

In our desperation to make sure we wouldn't be homeless, we ended up filling out 3 applications and by Monday night, I was sitting on 3 leases. The process didn't turn out to be as competitive as we thought but we ended up changing out mind a lot which was interesting. And then of course, we couldn't stop browsing Craigslist just ONE more time to make sure we hadn't missed anything.

In the end, we chose conveniences like parking and an elevator (hello, double stroller) over a few extra square feet. The location is amazing, literally steps from an awesome park where dogs can be off leash and a huge playground. It's brand spanking new which if course if lovely. We definitely plan to get creative with storage but the other cool thing about SF is all the neat companies that make life easier like storage places that pick up your stuff, catalogue it, and store it. Then you can request single items to be delivered at any time. So cool!

Meanwhile, the status of our moving truck is another story for another day...

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