5 Tips To Avoiding The Apartment Hunting Blues

^^ But where is all the traffic? ^^

When Charles Dickens wrote “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” I believe he was apartment hunting in Los Angeles. After a month of commuting from Orange County to Playa Vista, I decided it was time to bit the bullet and make the move north.  I had talked about moving to Los Angeles to “live the writing dream” for months, but when it really came down to it, LA seemed like a million miles away from the comfortable life I had created in Orange. The hunt was long and stressful and time consuming, but in the end, I found a wonderful place to build my new home. And in the hope of making your L.A. apartment hunt a bit easier than mine, here are five remedies to curing your apartment hunting blues.

1. Make appointments with realtors instead of just dropping by.

I can’t tell you how many times I stood outside an apartment with a for rent sign in the window and listened to the realtor’s phone ring on and on. Just like normal people, it turns out realtors aren’t sitting at their desks at all hours waiting for our calls. They have families and dog shows and roller derby races to attend. An appointment takes away the stress on both ends, and also gives the realtor a clearer idea of what you’re looking for. While this unit may not be the apartment for you, the realtor can take your information and let you know if they have anything else coming up on a later date.

2. Set a realistic price limit and stick to it.

Naturally, it was a bit of a shock to find out that a cramped studio apartment in Los Angeles was going for way more than a spacious one bedroom back in the OC. At first I wanted to hold firm on the idea that I would find the perfect studio, in the perfect area, for the perfect price, but it quickly became clear that I was going to have to set some realistic expectations if I wanted to live anywhere other than a box. Make a budget and stick to it.

3. Utilize online listings.

As the end of my OC lease grew closer and the fear of homelessness set in, I became an avid follower of apartment listings on Padmapper and Westside Rentals. While Padmapper is a completely free site, Westside Rentals does require a subscription — that is completely worth it. The benefit to using Westside Rentals is that all the ads are current, and once the apartment is rented, the ad is quickly taken down. This will help you organize your appointments and avoid hearing those soul crushing words, “Oh, that unit has already been rented. Good bye!”

4. Search around the neighborhood for hidden treasure.

In an effort to bring us back to a simpler time, some realtors post one tiny for rent sign in an apartment window instead of listing the unit online. Take the time to walk around the neighborhood you’re interested in inhabiting. This will not only give you a better sense of the area, but will also allow you to find any hidden apartments you might have missed before.

5. Always trust your gut.

When a place just doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and stand firm on your decision. Realtors and landlords can often be fast talking and question avoiding when you bring problems or concerns to their attention. But stand firm. The gut is always right, so trust it, and after a long day apartment hunting, reward it with a large ice tea and some animal style fries.

^^ Charliesissocoollike has become a favorite among my coworkers and I because of his hilarious and thoughtful videos. He’s also unbelievably adorable and has my same glasses so I say he’s definitely a winner. ^^

^^ And coming in second as Charlie’s alter ego, the foul mouthed and talented Bo Burnham. ^^


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