This is only week 2 of earnest apartment searching, and I am already fatigued! I feel like the hunt is consuming my life at the moment. I guess that I have always really lucked out when searching for apartments. I’ve never had to look for more than a week before I found exactly what I was looking for. Of course, I’ve never looked for an apartment during February in Minnesota (aka, “coldest month of the year,” aka, “no, seriously, if you move right now your face and hands will freeze off before you get the first box in the door”). People don’t move in Minnesota during February. That means that there is not as much stuff available as there will be in April. Although, most landlords require 60 days notice from tenants prior to their move-out dates. Which means that I’m not totally out of my mind looking for an apartment now when I want to move by April 1 (which is still kind of chilly, but certainly isn’t the dead of winter!).
So far we have only physically looked at four apartments. The first one was a bad apartment in a good neighborhood. The second one was a great apartment in a bad neighborhood. The third one was a near-perfect apartment in a borderline neighborhood, and the fourth one was a really great apartment in really bad neighborhood. *Sigh* So, really we have only spent a grand total of about three hours actually running around and looking. The extremely time consuming part is trying to find places to look at. Scouring craigslist and other rental sites like a crazy woman. Calling and emailing prospective landlords. Trying to keep them all straight so I know which ones I’ve already called. Looking at various properties on Google maps to rule out any that are obviously in neighborhoods we don’t want to live in. It takes a lot of time and head-space.
The lack of desirable properties in our price range also makes me wonder if we need to lower our expectations. Maybe we can’t really afford a 2-bedroom, that allows dogs, in a decent neighborhood. Or, maybe we are carrying around incorrect perceptions of what constitutes a descent neighborhood. On that front, I have set out to create a crime report that compares the number and types of crime, per capita, in each neighborhood. I want to know what neighborhoods are actually “good” or “bad.” I’m also comparing it with crime, per capita, in each of the south suburbs. My aim in doing so is to settle a long-standing argument with my dad that his idea of safe (ie., suburbs only) isn’t actually any safer than where we choose to live. Reports?! How nerdy is that?! Apparently, though I’ve never been a numbers person, working in a stats department is having some kind of effect on my brain!
Another angle is that maybe we really can afford more, but don’t want to. We’re really not ready to think about buying a house. But, another part of me feels pain at the idea of paying the same amount as a mortgage in rent each month. Maybe I just have to tell myself that Minneapolis property tax is notoriously high, and that I don’t have to pay for (or complete) any repairs or maintenance as a renter. Maybe that will make it seem more worth the cost.
Anyhow, in the off chance that anyone who reads this knows of an apartment that might fit our profile, here it is: 2 bedrooms, dog friendly, decent-sized kitchen, a yard (communal outdoor space is totally fine!). Neighborhoods currently up for consideration are in South Minneapolis, preferably on the east side of 35W (but not necessarily). If you have any suggestions, please shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org!