The apartment hunt

by Annie Beltran

I am on a quest to find an awesome place to live. Shall I define awesome?  Awesome is a 900 sq. ft. apartment complete with spacious living room, large bedroom, updated appliances (must include a gas stove and dishwasher), a balcony and hardwood floors; and need I say linen closet, or was that common sense?

My life threw me a curve ball, right at the beginning of the semester.  It’s good, but timing is certainly an issue.  Because of it, I am kind of homeless.  Not homeless to the tune of showering in local Wal-Marts, but to the tune of staying at my friend’s house.  In the cat’s room. If karma is responsible for “life situations,” remind me not to steal bubble gum from 7/11 anymore.

“Now let’s not cry about it yet,” is a statement I often tell my mother when I can hear her start the engine to the moving truck that would ultimately take me back to Texas.

I have the roommate, I have the money and, at this moment, I have the patience.  Now I just need the rad-pad that is fitting to my 25-year-old gay, college student lifestyle.

Now we are presented with the problems of being a renter in the neighborhood of Hillcrest.  This neighborhood is in high demand for renters in San Diego.  These renters will settle for less so they can live in a neighborhood that has more.

In my experience, Hillcrest renters have very similar complaints about their landlords.  Complaints that include, “Why is your garage for rent?”; “If this building was built during the Great Depression, why is it entirely original to the era?”; or “So I can touch the stove, toilet and bedroom all while standing in one spot?”

I have to be picky about where I live. I’ve had my time where I didn’t have the funds or option to be picky.  Today is not that day; I am not living on my parents’ dime anymore.  I am young and terribly good looking, ergo I need to live in a location that matches my personality.

At the beginning of my search for the rad-pad, I advised my roommate to write a detailed list of  wants and hates.  Basically, a list of things about her current and first-ever apartment that she loved and things that she regretted having to pay out of pocket once a month for.  She lives in Pacific Beach, so I figured the “hate” list would include newly 21-year-old drunk people or vomit in the streets.  To my surprise, she is fine with street vomit, but uneasy about in-house vomit.  I’m hoping the in-house vomit will not break our friendship.

I have a list too.  It’s about five pages long.  Pets must be allowed because my live-in boyfriend is a hamster named Gerald.  The aforementioned linen closet is something I will not live without—where would we store the decorative towels?

Now for phase three: roommates must travel together.  Other advice I give for the house hunting game is to always go view potential apartments with your roommate.  You may think you guys have the same ideas, but then you end up in a two-year lease, inside a beautiful Spanish style cottage with large bedrooms and an unlit detached outhouse for a bathroom.  As a woman, I think it’s unsafe to shave legs in the dark and I refuse to place myself in danger.  Because of this, we’re traveling together to every apartment worth viewing.

The travel time also allows for some “getting to know your roommate” conversations.  Another situation I’ve dealt with while renting is a bad roommate.  A good roommate is crucial to your happiness.  A bad roommate can be a six-month sentence in hell.  It’s a fiery hell of dirty dishes, angry looks, makeup all over the bathroom sink, hair in the shower drain, too-cold air conditioning, too-hot heaters, T.V. too loud and “who keeps drinking all my milk?”  I once had a roommate who marked a thick black line on his milk carton, just to keep his own sanity.  He obviously had no regard for my sanity because I love vitamin D, and we could have been best friends had he just loosened up.

I feel like I now have all the credentials to nail an awesome place, and my re-homing issues should be that complicated.  Now I just need whoever has my awesome apartment in the 92103/92116 ZIP code to move out promptly so my roommate and I can take over.