On Friday I went to go find myself a new apartment for when I start my job in August. In my mind, I was expecting the search to be like it was when I found an apartment for law school . . . where leasing agents are super nice and accommodating and friendly, they clearly want to lure you in as a tenant, and are willing to work with you because they see you as a person, not just a profit source. Well, I was kind of stunned by just how hostile the rental market was in my new place. That's the only word I really know to describe it . . . competitive, bureaucratic, and involving lots of dealing with people who could care less about you or whether you actually decide to live in their property. The first apartment complex I visited, in particular, left a really bad taste in my mouth. The leasing agent acted bored by even giving me a tour, and was kind of unprofessional and borderline rude. Like, I'd ask how much I could expect rent to increase upon lease renewal, and she just said, "Well, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the lease that says rent can't exceed a certain amount." Oh really. All she could talk about was how quickly the units fill up and how if I didn't get back to them by later that same day, there probably would be no vacancies available. It was so obvious that I was completely expendable as a tenant. They weren't trying to sell me anything because they just didn't care--if I wasn't interested, someone else would come along in an hour or two and sign a lease. Well, I for sure wasn't interested.
The next apartment I went to was pretty nice on the surface, but I had some major misgivings about it because it got really bad reviews online, with one of the main complaints being that they raise rent by $300 or so every time you renew your lease. None of these apartments include utilities either, and doing the math, that means in 2 years I would easily be paying up to $1900 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and utilities. This isn't New York City, and that's not acceptable to me, so I kept looking. I looked at another apartment complex that looked nice online but just looked rundown and not very attractive in real life. I walked around with the leasing agent on a tour that lasted all of ten minutes, and then he was like, "Do you want to sign a lease now?" What I felt like saying: "Why yes, I do want to sign a legally binding contract to pay you a large amount of money every month for a whole year after a few minutes of touring your underwhelming property." But I just said, "Well, I need to keep looking, but I'll let you know."
But then I also toured an apartment that had GREAT reviews online, and this one was so much more in line with what I was looking for. The property manager actually talked to me about myself and my needs and what I'm looking for in a place, and it was obvious that she actually was trying to convince me to live there, unlike anyone else that day so far. She even said, "Oh, you're going to be an attorney? Well, we really want you here!" And it didn't hurt that the model apartment she showed me was beautiful. As I walked around trying to remind myself "furniture and decor not included," I realized that it was still definitely going to meet my needs. The bedroom is small but totally functional and big enough for a queen-sized bed and a desk. The living room is a really good size and, unlike my current apartment, the walls are not plaster so I can easily put nails in the wall to hang pictures. I can even mount my TV on the wall if I want (never mind that I don't have a TV. I may get one in the fall). The kitchen was my favorite part: beautiful granite countertops, wooden cabinetry with a lot of storage space, brand-new stainless steel appliances, and a dishwasher that is probably going to change my life (never had one of those before). So, this hopefully is going to be the place I end up, provided my application gets approved and everything lines up financially. And it's exactly five minutes from my law office! And about 3 minutes from a Target and a huge mall, and across the street from a beautiful park with a bunch of running trails. And it is pet-friendly, so I'm getting a cat from a shelter in the fall. And it has a pool, a place to grill out by the pool, a decent gym (although I'll probably get a gym membership elsewhere, but it's still nice to have), and resident events every month. So I'm so happy to have found this, and I can't wait to get moved in and get it decorated at the beginning of August!
On Friday I also stopped in at the law firm, said hi to everybody, and had lunch with 3 of the associates. We had a great time, and it was really good to see all of them. They even paid for my meal because they said it qualified as an "official associate business lunch." They are the best. The first thing my soon-to-be-boss said to me was, "Shouldn't you be studying right now [for the bar]?" But I reassured them that I am working hard, just taking a day off to find a place to live! They were really encouraging and told me that I am going to make it through the bar exam and that they can't wait to have me start.
I am so, so excited about my soon-to-be new life and I can't wait to get settled in and go on all those IKEA runs to get decor and lamps and stuff and to explore my new city and get my cat and start my job (not in that order). But now it really is back to studying so that I can actually get my law license, because that would definitely help!