Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pretty Pictures

So the whole moving concept is now in full swing. We spent all of last weekend apartment hunting, complete with my handy and very obsessive spreadsheet that has been honed to perfection complete with scoring (100 possible points) based on all kinds of things that matter to me, like having a pantry (5 points). No washer/dryer in unit is minus 200 points, as is ridiculous rent or having to start each morning with a bad left turn out from the complex on a busy road without a signal. Or balconies that are not covered because they supposedly look classy (but are completely useless unless you like wet stuff). That eliminated a bunch off the bat.

What really irritates me, though, is when you go to apartment websites to look at some pictures, and they insist on proudly displaying about 5 showing how gorgeous their "clubhouse"/rental office is. Unless something goes terribly wrong, we're not planning on living in the "clubhouse." The other 5 pictures are usually outside shots of the complex. Again, while it's good to see if it looks decent from the outside, we're not planning to live on the lawn unless they also jack our rent up $200. Oh, and then the pool - always lots of pictures of that, too. A pool is basically a pool, and if we stay 5 years, I might get in it twice, so frankly I don't care what it looks like (unless there are green floaties, in which case they wouldn't likely show any picture of it).

Apartment marketing people, listen up. Here's what I want to see on your site and all of the places you advertise: current rates, detailed floor plans, and copious amounts of pictures of the *inside* so that I can *see* where I might actually be *living*. After that, include one or two of the outside. Anything beyond that is just "interesting" but not even remotely helpful.

After all of the eliminations on paper and just the "short list" of places worth our time to actually visit, we set out on our hunt and fell in love with the first place we saw (not perfect, but no apartment could actually score 100/100 with my strict criteria). In the spirit of due diligence, we then went to about 15 more, and we met some odd people, like the chick at the place with a 1 cat limit who said she has 8 cats and tried to encourage me to take in foster cats if we move in. Or the place where the chick walked so fast we could barely keep up and talked even faster - I have a page of scribbled notes with no recollection of what the place even looked like inside. By day 2, we got smart and just started calling to see if places even had available in our time frame what we actually wanted - that eliminated a bunch, too. No point taking the time to sit in a place that smells like air freshener (coconut seems popular) to find out that even if it meets our criteria and is wonderful, we can't have it.

Turns out we could have just stopped looking after the first place because that's the one we are taking. Still, it's good to know that as I drive by all of the other places every day, I don't have to wonder if one of those would have been better. Either they are not better, not within budget or they weren't available.

Oh, and ours did have some decent pictures of the inside of the place, so they get some extra points right there. Plus now I can keep looking at the pictures to imagine where I'll put things and how nice it will be in our new home - when I'm not packing and weeding out years of crap, that is.

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