It's official. I found an apartment in Portland. I'm moving July 25.
This is a miracle because let me tell you, the renting market in Portland is fierce. I have been trolling Craigslist, OregonLive, Padmapper, and every apartment on the first 8 pages of a "Portland, OR apartments" Google search for a month and a half, trying to find a quality place to live within my budget. When I first began searching, I thought this apt hunt would be a breeze. I found some viable options in a good price range, and it seemed like all I had to do was pick one. And all my dreams would come true.
And then came the magical townhouse letdown of the century.
My brother (hi roomie!), found an amazing townhouse on Craigslist. Wood floors. Two levels. NE Portland. Across the street from the Beverly Clearly School (!). In our price range. Magic. So, my brother called management to schedule a viewing. They didn't answer, so he left a message. They called him back and left a message saying there was an open house on Tuesday at 2:00pm. Perfect.
Now, you probably think that this story ends with a Craigslist-killer style murder. Or a non-existent apartment. Or a stolen identity. Or something. Because it all seems too good to be true. And it was. But the real ending is much more painful because it was so very anti-climactic. The townhouse does exist. And (from what we could tell from peering into the windows), it is magical. But no one showed up for the open house. No management. No other prospective tenants. We knocked. We called. We checked the voicemail to confirm the date and time. We knocked again. Nothing. We called multiple times later in the week to follow up to no avail.
Turns out that finding an online listing that seems appealing and actually nailing down a place to live are two very different things. And this is when I began to seriously distrust this Portland renting business. I needed my A game for this.
Since now I understood that some apartments could be ruled out simply by determining if I could get management to respond to my inquiries, I started to email every apartment I had any interest in. I kept a detailed list of apartment links, important info about the apartments, and notes on my contact history. Places I didn't hear back from in a reasonable amount of time got nixed from the list.
I emailed places. I called places. I scheduled viewings. I called to confirm viewings. I made an exhaustive list of questions. And I kept track of all the information I gathered. I was totally nailing it. But after some disappointing viewings (my friend described one place as "the type of place you take someone to kill them"), I was feeling discouraged.
I was running out of options, and, while I still had some time (my brother's lease isn't up until the end of July), it felt like it was absolutely hopeless. Hopeless, I say! One of our last options was a N. Portland duplex. The pictures seemed really promising, and we both liked the location. We showed up for the viewing (and so did management!), and the place seemed fairly decent. Three bedrooms. Two levels. Washer/Dryer.
We were viewing the place with two other groups of prospective tenants. At the end of the tour, the management guy explained the application process, letting us know that it was a first come, first serve system. And right then and there, one of the guys touring the apartment pulled out his application. Of course. That little monster. Knowing that we were second in line at best, we half-heartedly took an application and decided to submit it that evening on the off chance that the first guy's application wasn't accepted.
Now, we knew that if we were serious about a place, we needed to come prepared so that next time we could be the jerks pretentiously pulling out our applications at the end of a viewing. We found another place to look at. It was a really cute house. Cute rooms. An arched kitchen doorway. A yard. No upstairs or downstairs neighbors. Not an ideal location, but the pictures were pretty great. We showed up to the viewing, application in hand, ready to annihilate the competition. And we did it. #1 on the list. They began processing our application.
And then, as I was driving home from viewing this house, the N. Duplex called. The pretentious I'm-bringing-my-application-to-the-viewing guy's application didn't go through, and we were next in line! I called my brother. Do we want them to process our application, or do we want to wait and see what happens with the house? Worst case scenario, we would be out an application fee and might have two places to choose from. We told them to process it.
And all of the sudden, we potentially had two different places to live. And all of the sudden we both desperately wanted the N. Duplex.
For the next four days, I could barely sleep. Would we get the house? Would we get the duplex? Would we get the house and the duplex? Then on Sunday we got a call. We got the house. We had 24 hours to make a decision. We didn't want to give up the house in case we didn't get the duplex. But we didn't want to commit to the house in case we got the duplex. So all we could do was wait and hope we heard back from the duplex.
And then (get prepared because this is the most exciting part of this story) right before the 24 hours were up, I called the duplex to see if they could tell me the status of my application. They transfered me to Sarah, head of processing. I explained who I was and why I was calling. And Sarah, bless her heart, said "Kristin, I'm glad you called! Your application is sitting in my approved pile, I just haven't had a moment to call yet." And I may have squealed.
So, there you have it. After 26 years as a Washingtonian (with a brief 7-year stint as an I'm-just-here-for-school-so-I'll-never-claim-this-state-as-my-own Utahan), I'm moving to Oregon.
Look how amazing my apt is!
(Note the time stamp of 2006. So, add 6 years of wear and tear. Also, the blue carpet is no longer there. I'm devastated about this.)