Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let's Talk: Apartment Hunting

I've had to do things in my life that left me wondering if I've been living my life correctly or if I've managed to screw something up horribly.  Job hunts, for instance, manage to strip people of every sense of self-worth, leaving them wondering why the entire job market around them apparently views them as little more than waste and refuse so that they can't get a job.

However, more frustrating than my last job hunt, I must say, is the search for an apartment I'm doing.  There are so many things that I'd think would be common sense to do that the businesses in this area don't do that they just boggle my mind.

The first thing is a master list of apartment realtors and/or apartment complexes.  Maybe I'm spoiled by big cities, but on most street corners in places like Seattle, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Phoenix, and many others I've been to, they have free booklets you can take next to the machines that dispense newspapers that either list a whole bunch of houses for sale or list a lot of the currently active apartments that are either open or will open soon.

But more importantly, they provide a list of people who you might want to contact if you're interested in looking for an apartment.  Granted, a Google search can do the same thing, but think of how great it would be to have a master list that you can write in, highlight, and otherwise manipulate to be able to make your search easier?

Secondly, I get that realtors probably have families they want to get home to, and not everybody who's planning on moving out of an apartment is ready to have people stop by at seven in the evening to take a look at it, but come on people.  I have a job.  I'm still in the "new job smell" phase, and supervisors tend to want some advance notice before you take time off.

Why not keep your office open until six?  I don't necessarily want you to immediately walk me out to some apartments to show them to me, but at least I could go over with you what sorts of things are available or might be coming up.  Then perhaps I can get a list of when you're available for viewings and after I speak to my supervisor the next day, I can call you back and schedule something.

Or why not keep all of your listings in one place?  Why is it I can find your company advertising an apartment on Craigslist but not on your own website?  Or on Zillow, but on your site it's nowhere to be found?

Also, why aren't you open on weekends?  Again, I might not want you to necessarily show me places right away, but at least I can work out some places to see with you that week and it gives me time to arrange for time off.

Third, what happened to courtesy?  I contacted one place today, and before I could even just ask "hey, do you have anything in my price range" I was getting lectured about credit checks, first and last month rent, pet requirements, and all other sorts of things that might or might not apply to me.   Why don't we start with a simple "hi, my name is <insert name here>, how can I help you?"

Fourth, would someone please explain to me how a place can advertise an apartment as being "great for a student" that's near a college but charges $1300 per month for a one bedroom deal?  What college student can afford that?

Fifth, I just want to go back to that idea about having things gathered in one place.  Let me check an area and list everything being sold by all realtors.  Let them advertise to compete for my business like every other single business in the world.  If I was trying to buy a car, I'd have all the options in the world because there are sites that have this information and I'm constantly being bombarded by advertisements in print and television.

So far, my attempts at finding a new place to live has left me frustrated and angry, with many phone calls and emails going without response.  I have to wade through ads on Craigslist written by people who can't settle on a standard for how to post them (some have a city, some don't, some list a price, some don't), or browse through eight different websites that frequently list the same locations...but the realtors have no mention of them on their own sites.


On an unrelated note, let's have a follow-up to my review of Yoshi's New Island for the 3DS.

This is a game designed by people who learned all the wrong lessons from the games of yesteryear.  I cannot count how many times I found myself needing to memorize where bad guys would appear on the screen because I'd frequently get hit by one while trying to dodge another.  I would frequently get clipped by someone when trying to jump over lava or a bottomless pit and plummet helplessly.

Also, the game is designed with some of the worst control sensitivity I've seen.  The first few times I dared to let the control stick drift slightly south in either direction and Yoshi insisted on doing his butt-stomp down a pit or into a fiery death, I figured maybe it was me.  But considering how fickle the rest of the controls are, I'm starting to think it's not me.  In one area you need to jump across a wide chasm by bouncing off the backs of some flying birds.  However, you need to press the jump button to bounce each time, and if you're off by even a microsecond, you just skip off the top and plummet down.  Too early, and Yoshi starts to flail his legs to slow himself and it's impossible to release and press the button again to make it work.

It also ends with one of the easiest boss fights I've ever faced.  It was literally "walk between falling fire, grab giant enemy with tongue, throw giant egg into background."  Repeat two more times.  I was in absolutely no danger of actually being hurt.

I take back what I said before, this is a game that wants to punish players, not just by being cheap, but by then mocking them by providing handicaps  with an underlying sense of pity.


Leonard George said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sean McCrory said...

Apartment hunting can be daunting at times. You have to undergo a lot of process: from wading through the hundred properties on the list, finding good and legitimate deals that matches your needs and budget. It will really be an advantage if you have a trusted realtor on your side, to make it somehow less stressful. Anyway, that wasn’t exactly a great day for you, but I hope that didn’t stop you from searching for your dream apartment. How's the search, btw?

Sean McCrory @ Graham Commercial Real Estate

Anonymous said...

Well, hunting for an apartment is quite a feat, and I totally get your frustration regarding the matter. Some realtors should be a bit more flexible, especially if they want to score more clients. I do hope you've managed to land the perfect one by now. Also, I get what you mean about Yoshi's New Island. It's fun, but the sudden death traps can be frustrating to deal with. Hahaha! Have fun playing and all the best to you! :)

Everett Hill @ Solutions Home Buyers