Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Apartment Hunting

So apartment hunting SUCKS.

Like seriously sucks.

Any time you're looking for a place in a large city you have to wade your way through a lot of crap to find the gems.

And if you're lucky, you can actually afford the gems.

My problem is that 1, I need my apartment to be transit accessible so I can get back and forth to work.  2, I'm on a budget so aren't willing to drop $1,400 a month on an apartment.  3, I'd rather not live in a neighborhood that will get me shot.  Oh and 4, no bugs. Or hookers.  But more to come on that later.

You'd think these would be all be reasonable requests that wouldn't be TOO hard to accommodate.

Think again.

Bed Bug Registry's infestation map
I'm wading through listings of places that are the size of a walk-in closet.

Places that are in areas of the city I wouldn't want to be in after dark.

And nice places that I'd love to live in if I could afford the staggering prices.

And what I've learned the most is that if you find a listing for a place that's in a good neighborhood, is a decent size, and is affordable there's almost ALWAYS a catch.

I mean how did people manage before the Internet.  If it weren't for things like www.myhood.ca and www.bedbugregistry.com I could have very easily already moved into a place that could have turned out to be hell.

Here are some of the funnier (or scarier, depending on your mood) things I've found in some of the posts about buildings that in theory should be GREAT meaning they are all in good/safe neighborhoods, transit accessible and seemingly well maintained buildings renting 1-bedroom units approx. 600-800 square feet at a cost anywhere from $1,100 to $1,300 a month. 
I love this.

- Security bulletins on the tenant web portal with alerts about finding needles in the stairwells and hallways
- Bed bugs, roaches, centipedes and other assorted creepy crawlies
- Management randomly shutting off the hot water and or water in general for repairs with no notice (one guy said he never knew if he was going to shower before work in the morning!)
- Bicycles in the underground parking getting tires cut and one person who noted that one of the tenants would randomly smear dog poop on the handle bars of people's bikes.
- Funky food smells (this in the grand scheme of things isn't that bad)

- Wonky elevators that are constantly down for service (in a 2 story building this is just FUN)
- People pulling fire alarms as pranks on a regular basis at 3am
- And my favorite, a building that has a known "Escort Service" operating out of 2 apartments.  Now I'm not sure if the hookers live there or the manager/pimp/creep who runs it lives there.  If push comes to shove I'd rather have hookers for neighbors than a pimp because I'm sure the hookers are perfectly nice ladies.

So this is my dilemma.  I either need to pick the lesser of a few evils that I'm willing to tolerate (no bugs!!!  I'll take the hookers over the bugs!!) Or I need to consider living in a place that is at the very top of my budget or even a bit more.  The positive thing is that I'm currently living with my parents and am able to put a decent amount of money onto my remaining student debt which means that the longer it takes me to find a place, the better a financial situation I will be in.  Not to say that I want to live with my parents for 4 months but if that's the reality then at least I'm saving up money and hopefully cutting my debt in half.  Which is an opportunity I would otherwise never have.

So in the meantime, Jasper and I are going to say no to bugs and hookers.

Can you really blame me?



Not only does this look EXACTLY like my cat Jasper, but he tends to sleep wrapped around my head and will randomly lick my forehead and hair.  It's totally creepy and I asked the Vet about it and he said that it's very common.  He sees me as his pack leader and it's common for animals to groom each other.

It's still creepy but clearly I'm not the only pet owner who's had to deal with it.


  1. I live in terror of bedbugs. We got a flea infestation once in an apartment because of a careless neighbor harboring a dog against complex rules. It took forever for the pest control people to figure out the bugs kept getting in from upstairs. Traumatized. I check every hotel we stay in for bedbugs and carry a spray bottle of repellent. It may not work, but it gives me peace of mind...

    1. They do freak me out. I almost had a heart attack a few years ago when I found out my neighbor was treated for roaches TWICE. She was a total nutcase and used to bring trash furniture home that she found in the garbage. I was terrified and sealed up all my baseboards myself.

  2. That's a hilarious picture, and even funnier since your cat seems to do that to some extent. bugs. Ugh. It's not ideal, but the more of your debt you can pay off the less stress you'll have in the future. Hang tight and get that debt down while you can. And that's my unsolicited advice for the day. ;-)

    1. Thanks hun. That's the plan. Every time I get depressed reading the listings, or bicker with my mom I just remind myself. Think of the savings. Think of the savings. And then I hide in my room like a pouty teenager. 'Cause yeah. I may be 29 but the second you move back in with your parents you revert to being a 13 year old.

  3. Ugh, I'm sorry, apartment hunting is no fun, and it sounds extra difficult right now! I do hope you find something you like, and the upside is that you can take your time finding the right place to some degree since you have a place to crash in the meantime. I'm sure the right place will come along, minus hookers AND bugs. :D

    1. Exactly. It's not like I'm homeless. In the grand scheme of things, living with your parents temporarily is a heck of a lot better than bugs and hookers. Especially when you get home from work and mom's cooked dinner and packed you a lunch. Oh and did I mention home made pancakes on the weekend? It's like living in a full service hotel ;)

  4. I used to work at a hotel - the idea of bed bugs terrrrrifies me. Bugs in general are a big no no no for me. Also, the hooker who stayed at our hotel was really nice and she would always show me the cute new shoes she was buying. And this was a Holiday Inn - a pretty classy joint for hookers and bedbugs ;-p

    I hate apartment hunting more than anything. Is your city pretty cat-friendly? I know it's hard in my town to find apartments that will allow pets of any sort, which is very very stupid.

    1. LOL exactly. I'll totally take the hookers over bugs.

      It's actually illegal here to make rentals pet-free unless that pet is a noise/safety issue for neighbours. The only time you find it is if someone is renting a basement apartment or something within their home.

    2. Ohh I'm jealous! I can't even have a goldfish in a fishbowl in my apartment!!

  5. It sounds like you're going to have to shell out a little more money monthly to not have to deal with bugs and hookers. Although, I wouldn't mind the hookers so much so long as they didn't bring their "clients" home with them all the time and were friendly. I've had neighbors who might as well have been hookers - they just didn't get paid, to my knowledge anyway. Hopefully you can save enough to offset that cost a little :/

    1. I doubt hookers would be bringing men to their own homes but sadly I think this place it's the "manager" of the hookers that lives there. Big no no. Hookers is one thing. A pimp is another.

      Apparently I used to live down the hall from a drug dealer and never knew it. I just knew he creeped me out and that I wouldn't go into the hall if his friends were outside his door.

  6. Yeah that's more or less what I was getting at: At least hookers don't bring randos home with them, whereas these girls would bring all sorts of male folk home with them on a regular basis. No way on a pimp. Nope.

    1. LOL it's awesome that we'd prefer living next to actual hookers vs slutty women. And yeah. No pimps.

  7. I think it is adorable that Jasper grooms you! Apartment hunting is hard, good luck :( It's one of those times where the decision has long-term consequences and you really have to make tradeoffs. My neighborhood has hookers and used needles on the ground, but I'm located centrally, I have a studio, and my apartment is clean. Some peole think I'm crazy and would rather live with roommates in an affluent area... to each their own!

    Also, that bed bug map is insane. What did people do before the internets?!

  8. Escort services, random needles, smeared poop--those are the things you can't really be prepared for or have on your apartment checklist right away, because it's so hard to imagine anybody actually doing those things. And then an apartment hunt proves us otherwise. Best of luck with your search! It's a challenge living with parents in the meantime, but it'll all work out--plus you get to save for what could be your dream home.

  9. Yeah, I think you should try to save until you can afford to get a good apartment- one that serves your purposes. I'd do the same before I attempt at renting a place at Northville MI apartments .