I highly recommend, should you be apartment hunting, using the site apartmentratings.com. A very handy little site, let me tell you.
Nothing speaks so clearly as the postings of current and former tenants.
I've been looking since before Christmas; more seriously looking since May, and am now facing a deadline-1st August-I'm REALLY SERIOUSLY searching!
So, I stumble onto rent.com back in May, engage my own personal search engine by keying parameters, and viola! A gajillion 'suitable' properties appear, and I am invited to join the cyber-hunt for new digs.
A couple of truly nice tools make the hunt a bit easier-'save as favorite' and 'remove'-at rent.com, but a feature that incorporates the ability to make notes with each saved favorite would be a help. My eyeballs feel twisted from all the online searching; my brain is fogged over from f2f viewings.
You should know that when I left the house this morning I had over ten properties saved as a potential. Within 20 minutes of returning this afternoon, I'd clicked 'remove' over nine times.
It is a great help to test my impressions against the comments found at apartmentratings.com-one property in particular made the A list inspite of my initial misgivings during a ride through back in early May because the manager seemed so great and she was willing to give me a really fabulous deal on a one bedroom. But then Roomie suffered a temporary setback, and my move was postponed.
Might be a 'just as well' because whoa, the comments on the rating site rang true and were truly scary.
This morning I looked at three properties, two potential A listers and one I went to 'cause I felt I should give the place a chance, and because I was hoping in their desperation for a fantastically desirable tenant like myself they would give me a fabulous deal, a move-in special, CRIKEYS, a break on the dog deposit-SOMETHING!
By the time I got half-way through the second viewing I couldn't recall the details the rental agent had just finished spewing because the property was so gobsmackingly decayed I was paying more attention to the potential for a wall collapse.
Safety first, kids...
On leaving the office to view a model we were assaulted by sirens, careening golf carts driven by maniac maintenance men, and (hey, I'm sorry, but this is the truth) several tenants fleeing INS, the police, or both, and several other tenants who made bizarre hand motions at me when they thought the agent wasn't looking-finger down throat followed by a sweeping hand wave to indicate they are gagged by the property and or staff-type stuff.
All of which didn't surprise me because I'd arrived while the agent was showing an apartment; while I waited for her return on the bench in front of the office a tenant came by and we got to talking-her mostly-about how wretched (her words) and ghetto the complex is. She strongly recommended I research the complex at apartmentratings.com. (Which I'd been planning on anyhow, but it was nice to hear my thoughts are still spot-on:)
She and several other passing tenants strongly recommended I get my innocent, sweet little grandmotherly type self back in the Kia and run while I could-they were trapped but maybe they could save their souls by warning me off.
Someone who thought I couldn't possibly speak Spanish said to his compadre that this was no place for a lady, and that I was "crazy or desperate to even think about moving here!"
The first place I looked at today is way overpriced for square footage nearly half what the same amount would get me in the 'loco zone' and will double my commute. No pools, tennis court or even a club house, either.
The third place I looked is the place I'd been stupid (or was I? Stay with me here...) enough to let a fabulous price slip by back in May.
Second and third places have comments at apartmentratings.com with headers like "RUN!" "HELL NO!" "NEVER AGAIN IN THIS OR ANY LIFETIME!!!!" "Roaches and Rats and Snakes-OH MY!" "Horrible Utilities Bills here!!!!!" "Hell on Earth-Management and Maintenance Suck Big Time!!!!!!!!!"
The posters favor lots of exclamation points and all caps.
'Member the above where I mention that at the second apartment complex I'd been more focused on the potential wall collapse than I was on the agent's spiel?
According to the comments on apartmentratings.com, I am a smart cookie. Not only have the walls collapsed there, entire roofs have, too.
Naturally the apartment I technically can afford (if I stand on a street corner and beg passersby for the truly stupendous deposits-dog, electric, water/sewer/trash, and first month's rent-too) but in reality need a real-live miracle to get into (aforementioned deposits-OUCH-do I ever get to eat? Rot in Hell Crusty!) has great ratings from former and current tenants. And the place doesn't even have a pool, tennis court, or furnish washers and dryers as do the other two marginally acceptable (until seen and heard about) properties.
I'll know something by Friday as to what I am going to do.
Damn, dammit, I knew I should have insisted on an RV in the divorce!