Prior to me starting my job over here, my wife and I had discussed that when her and the girls come over in December, we would like to find a 2-bedroom apartment for our family to shack up in while we take our time to find the right house. Fine and dandy...no reason to change the basic plan. But we have adjusted some of the details.
One major difference is that instead of signing a 6-month lease as we had originally planned to do, I feel that the available housing inventory would make that a waste. There are a ton of houses on the market, and I no longer think we will need multiple months to narrow down the search to acceptable neighborhood while waiting for The One House to end up on the market. Quick non-detail obsessed wife searching the last couple of days has turned up at least 8 houses that would please me. I think SWMBO would find at least one of the acceptable.
Problems from this are not all apartment complexes are very eager to go month-to-month. Those that do go month-to-month usually charge more for the convenience.
So...time to look for something a little cheaper, which adds it's own set of complexities. When all you are looking for is a dry roof over your head until you can move into your house, outdated and little tired looking is much easier to accept than $250 more a month than the hard-wood floors and vaulted 9-foot ceilings that I was looking at a few weeks ago. The pain comes in trying to tell the difference between outdated/a little tired looking and Seedy/run down.
Also, as I have been discovering, the cheaper apartments(by their nature more easily acceptable based on price for a wider range of people) are usually running closer to full capacity, and finding an availability in one of them is more difficult.
Yes...a $750/month apartment looks much different than a $1000/month apartment. Depressingly so...even when you know it is temporary. What I didn't expect was such a marked difference in the aesthetic appeal of the rental agents at the apartments. A few weeks ago, I could barely contain myself while traveling from one nice shiny apartment complex to the next, excited to see not just the vaulted 9-foot ceilings on display, but the other things being lifted and separated and displayed by the young ladies.
Not so much, yesterday. Oh...nice and polite enough females...just...well, about on par with yours truly. I'm sure I made THEIR day too when I walked in all frazzled looking from training.
The most shocking moment of the day for me occurred at one of the last complexes I visited. I heard that the place was 'Rent Controlled'. Prior to owning a house, at one point my wife and lived in a 'rent controlled' apartment complex. At that place, the average rent of all the people staying there had to fall inside a certain range for the apartment complex to qualify for whatever it qualified for with the State.
No problem...it doesn't hurt to ask, so I went and checked out this rent controlled place yesterday. The lady working the Welcome Office says that they go off of individual incomes, and that for a family of 4 to qualify to stay at their apartment complex, the family can not make more than $39,000 a year. Folks...I haven't made less than that since I made 1st Class in the Navy 10 years ago.
Luckily she blinked, so I don't think she saw my jaw bounce off the floor...I do need to work on my poker face more though. I politely thanked her, said we would keep that in mind, and left. On my way out, I did a look-see of cars in the parking lot. They looked a lot like the cars my wife and I drive...used but not decrepit.
Just shocking to me.
Anyway...nothing decided or certain yet about an apartment, other than in June, when we are still in an apartment because our house in Belfair has not sold yet, or we haven't found the One Right House, I am going to feel silly about the month-to-month vs. 6-month lease argument.