Apartment hunting sucks, but at least there's an end.
Becky and I found an apartment.
It's funny, because even though I read Matt Yglesias, who is constantly harping on how ridiculous the rental market is in the Bay Area, I didn't really expect finding an apartment in Oakland to be hard. I mean, it's Oakland! Who wants to live there?
Lots of people, apparently. The compounding difficulty is that I hate my current apartment complex's management so much that I didn't want to live in anything with more than 4 units. We also wanted something with at least a patio for grilling and for growing my hops (by the way, I have some hop vines growing, maybe I'll post pictures later, two of them are taller than I am). Basement storage for spillover beer storage (and for aging) would be ideal. Add in a nice neighborhood, BART-accessible, and you're looking at something like a few dozen places a month, with approximately "every professional couple ever" fighting for them.
The first place we looked at we loved, even though it was non-ideal in a few ways, but then the tenant decided not to move. The next few places we looked at weren't very nice, one was basically my apartment (so built in the 70's, fine but not nice) but dirtier and with an enormous deck overlooking a creek. It would have worked, but ehhh. Another one was a really nice apartment in a ridiculously dirty building right near the freeway, spitting distance, so loud as fuck. That wouldn't work.
We had an appointment to see a place Sunday at 3, and a bit after noon the woman called and said someone took it earlier. BUT she had another place, did we want to see that? Of course we did! We actually had contacted the owner (she was just a manager or something) so we were already interested. The craigslist post didn't have pictures, but we may as well look. We asked her for a viewing at 5, she said she'd need to talk to the current tenant and get back to us.
We saw a couple other places that day, including one we liked and applied for. It was nice, a bit small, but lots of character. The problem was that there were a dozen other couples at the open house, and it seemed unlikely that we'd get it. Oh well, we applied anyway, hoping for the best. We called the woman with the other place, and she still hadn't heard from the tenants, but because of our tenacity (and Becky's lovely voice and calm demeanor, apparently) she'd make sure we were the first to see it. We said we could do any point during the week.
So yesterday we went up there. I took BART, it's like a 8-minute walk from the station (it would be faster if it weren't for some construction). The outside is very nice, none of the dinginess that is so common in Oakland. The inside even nicer, all hardwood floors, tons of windows, master bedroom has a balcony, the other bedroom is fairly big, one-and-a-half bathrooms (although they're adjacent, which is kinda weird. Oh well, no bathroom collisions ever!), dining room and living room space, enormous kitchen that was recently remodeled and actually looks nice (it seems like every time I see a recently remodeled kitchen it looks either out of place or cheap-trashy, this was neither). And it got better, there's an enormous back yard, which the rental woman and the owner both really want people to actually use (I think we can manage). There's space for my kayak on the side of the apartment, fenced in. There's basement storage for cellaring.
The only downside is that it's hot a BALLS in there. I ask about that and the current tenant quickly answers that she just likes it hot. It's significantly cooler outside than it is at my place, and breezy, and since it's on the second floor we can just leave windows open. So after hearing that I'm not worried about it.
We put down the deposit and signed the lease right then. We move in on July 14th.