Five Things You Learn When Your Apartment Is Sold Out From Under You
Like everybody else, I hate moving. I did it a lot in my early twenties, but once my fiancee and I moved in together, that was it. We weren't moving until we bought a place, and that would be our last move ever.
Then our elderly and kindly landlord had to sell the building without warning, because the
neighborhood I live in is currently being turned entirely into condos rich guys buy their kids for college instead of renting them an apartment. And I learned that as much as moving sucks, frantic moving sucks even harder.
Everyone on Craigslist is Insane
Where I live, it's off-season for apartments, so there weren't too many to look at. It didn't help that we own a cat and a dog, either of which on their own make you an anathema to landlords, and so having both form a kind of fuzzy ball of hate which landlords instinctively shun.
We also had a lot of stuff to sell. So while I trolled Craigslist for apartments, my fiancée began selling things we didn't need. And that's when we started meeting crazy people.
First of all, we saw some apartments that were about as livable as your average highway overpass, and cost about as much as your average luxury condo, monthly. Most of these places were obviously empty, and had been for at least a year. Also fun were the people who think that you want to be their roommate. I'm sorry, fortyish “polyamory-friendly” fat guy, I can't say I want to live with you. Even living near you is kinda asking a lot.
Secondly, people who want to buy things off of Craigslist are even worse. People apparently really will drive 100 miles to buy a TV, and then have the balls to try and haggle you down when they get there.
Nobody Who Should Be a Realtor Works as One
Realtors need to be calm, focused, organized people. At least in theory. In reality, they're everything but.
Part of the problem with apartment hunting was the fact that realtors, people who only get paid for apartments when they collect their fees, just do not call you back. Ever. Under any circumstances. Even when they have specifically asked you over email to call them.
We ultimately found an apartment thanks to a realtor I'll call Pat. Pat was an exceptionally nice person, which was good because until we signed the lease, she was calling us a dozen times a day about every single thing we had already gone over. It was nice hearing from Pat, but I kinda wished she used a notepad, or something.
You Own More Stuff Than You Think
This one is kind of a chestnut, but keep in mind that when my fiancée and I moved in together, we both substantially pared down our crap. We sold books and DVDs, got rid of unneeded, cheap-ass furniture, and generally got rid of stuff.
It wasn't until we began packing that we realized that somehow we'd managed to accumulate even more piles of useless crap over the last few years. A mixture of moving yearly and being broke kept us both from piling up too much stuff. But that had changed.
Also, I'm now convinced that books can reproduce asexually, because I didn't buy that many of the damn things and yet we've got them everywhere.
Your Animals Are Smarter Than You
As mentioned, we own a cat and a dog. Generally, they're not the brightest animals in the world, but once they realized something was up, they began a coordinated campaign to ensure that we did not leave their beloved apartment. Granted, this campaign consists mostly of lying on things, sleeping in boxes and the cat destroying anything cardboard, but it's still a campaign, and it's hard not to root for them.
Animals don't really understand the concept of “homelessness," though. Which is why we are in charge.
Moving Companies Don't Understand the Concept of the Internet
I decided to book a moving company for my move. My fiancée and I took one look at a Uhaul panel van, another look at the shiny new third-floor staircase we had to walk up, and realized that we were heartily sick of hauling cardboard boxes up stairs.
We wound up booking a local company, who got back to us within hours of filing a request for an estimate. As the other estimates came in, we realized that no moving company seems to know that the Internet lets you compare prices. The moving company we booked, which had exceptional word-of-mouth and great reviews, quoted us an estimate of about a third of the price of the other quotes we're getting. Which, after a week of waiting, are still trickling in by the way.