Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let The Hunt Begin

In thirty days the lease on my apartment expires. I have no intention of renewing it because, frankly, I'd rather sleep in a tent under an overpass than continue to live in this piece of shit apartment complex. I could easily turn this into a big rant about how this place is firmly rooted in the Plane of Suck, but there's really no need to raise my blood pressure like that. No, I think I want to talk about the trials and tribulations of house hunting.

Over the last few weeks we have looked at dozens of potential houses and apartments in the Metro-Atlanta area. So many choices, not to mention trying to decide if it's more important to try to stay near where most of our friends are or close to where I work (the commute is going to kill me, I swear). It seems the first trial I house hunting around here is just getting the realtor/landlord to return a damn phone call or email. I know Roxanne called and/or emailed several places last week, but only four actually responded. So, Yesterday, we spent several hours looking at four different places. Now, before I continue I must say that, while Atlanta is not expensive as one would expect, it is still a large metro area, which undoubtedly is going to affect price. That being said, location plays a big factor in the housing market and the decision on making a decision on where to live. For example, one of the houses we looked at (number four of four) was beautiful; it was well maintained, had obviously been recently had a lot work done (new hardwood floors, paint, etc.). We loved the house itself, but it had two very major strikes against it, the first being no driveway. Parking for this house was on the street. If that had been the only thing, we probably would have been ok with it. However, strike two was that the neighborhood it surrounded it was pretty run down looking and, frankly, even in broad daylight, we didn't feel particularly safe being there. It was very unfortunate because the price was very reasonable as well.

The first house we looked at on our house hunt yesterday also failed to impress. The neighborhood was fine, the house itself was ok as far as space and the rent was reasonable. But this place had virtually no closet space. Seriously, in a three bedroom house, only one one bedroom had a closet. The only other closet in the entire house was a small coat closet in the living room. Even thought the washer and dryer were included (a very big bonus for us, since we currently spend $20-30 a week doing laundry at a laundromat), it just wasn't enough. It didn't help that, despite the size of the yard being impressive, it was also very unkempt and was pretty much all pine straw without a blade of grass to be seen.

The two best houses we looked at were the second and third houses we visited, and really out of the four we have viewed so far, are the only two I would consider worth moving into. Number two was quite impressively large, especially for the price. The neighborhood seemed decent enough. The yard was ample, parking wouldn't be problem, even if we wanted to invite people over. It needs some work, but it appeared that the owners were still in the process of fixing up a few things. The problem with having so much space though, is that we don't own enough furniture to fill it, and I really don't want to go have to buy more furniture just so my house doesn't look so empty. That aside, though, the only real problem I had with that house was the fact that it did not have central air conditioning. Really? In the middle of Georgia, there's no central AC? The rent may not be that high, but the cost of trying to cool that place with only window AC units could prove to be pretty high in a region where summer temperatures push close to 100 degrees with very high humidity.

The overall leader after this weekend's viewings is undoubtedly, for me anyway, the third place we looked at. Admittedly, it was the most expensive of the four, but when all things are considered, $900 per month is still pretty good. A very large yard that is in pretty good shape; a nice back deck; three bedrooms (only one of which didn't have a proper closet, because the water heater was in it); new hardwood floors; fresh paint; and it's a corner lot in a fairly quiet/safe neighborhood.

The hunt, of course, is not over. We've only earnestly looked at four places, and all within a few miles of where we are now. We still have a list of places we have seen online to sift through, some of which are considerably closer to where I work. But with only thirty days left to choose, and the fact that I can only look on Saturdays and Sundays because of my work schedule, the decision is going to have to be made pretty soon.

Not to mention that my readers can look forward to an “I hate moving” rant in a few weeks too. *wink*

~ JC
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