After almost a year of searching for and securing places to live every 2-3 months, Rob and I have developed a process that works like a well-oiled machine. First, Rob gets anxious that when our current location expires, we will not have something lined up. This anxiety usually starts about three days after we have moved into a place. I can convince him to hold off looking and enjoy our current place for a week, two tops, and then he’s sending me potential new homes almost daily. It’s an interesting personality swap. Normally I would be the anxious one and Rob would be coaxing me to put off looking until close to the last minute. Second, I poo poo every Craigslist post that he sends me because they are too far from lower Manhattan. Rob always says “That’s fine, we can keep looking”. And third, I agree (after a fully exhausting search of Craigslist myself for something in lower Manhattan in our price range that is not the Mouse House) to go see an apartment or two that he has picked out.
Going to see the apartments is when I shine. During our initial look back in October, I came up with a short list of must-haves. The first thing I look for in an apartment is natural light. If there aren’t a lot of windows or the windows are only at the front of the apartment (as they very often are) I immediately dismiss the place. Next I sit on (and sometimes even manage to sneakily lie down on) the bed to see how stiff it is. I need a bed to accept and welcome me and only a soft bed has the ability to do that. A hard bed is constantly reminding you with every turn that you are not welcome for any period longer than a few uncomfortable minutes. The last thing I check out is the storage situation. Will I be able to hang my clothes? Or will I be living out of my suitcase? Once these three conditions have been met, I can start visualizing how it would look as our home. “Oh, our pictures would be perfect on that table under the window. Good, there’s a lot of extra seating for hosting parties. The lighting in this bathroom is fabulous” is what I think to myself. All this time I play coy in front of our potential landlord. I want our him or her to work a bit to convince me to live in their space, I don’t want us to have to do the convincing. After a few minutes of talking logistics and asking questions about the apartment and neighborhood, Rob initiates the goodbye and promises we will be in contact soon. Normally I know within minutes of walking into a space if we will move into it or not, but I wait until we are outside of the building to let Rob know my answer. If the answer is yes (which it has been 98% of the time), we move forward with a lease (an important aspect we learned because even the nicest landlords could try to screw you over) and agreeing on the move in and move out dates.
Another stipulation that I have is that we find apartments that are inhabited by the primary renter most of the year. An apartment that is rented only to short term renters will likely feel sparse and void of personality. We’d much prefer to move into a ‘home’. We also have a max budget that includes utilities and we’ve come under that on every place we’ve lived in. As I mentioned, we have found most of our longer term homes through Craigslist, with the exception of one we found through a friend. We are by no means experts in locating temporary homes, but I am proud of the rhythm that we have going on each time we are on the hunt.