Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Early Birds Get the Worm

Jake and I signed the lease on an apartment on Sunday. We're still waiting to see if our credit is going to be approved and if we have it for sure, but I'm certain that won't be a problem. We're supposed to know tomorrow.

Anyway, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to get this apartment. We are trying to save money for the wedding and other expenses (e.g., my student loans and random trips and stuff we want to do), so looking for an apartment in the area we're currently in was pretty much ruled out. The rents keep increasing, and now that Justin will not be contributing to the rent, we are in the market for something cheaper. Jake and I looked at seven or eight larger apartment complexes a bit further out over the weekend. None were too close to where Jake works or to the Metro, really. All of them did offer shuttles to the Metro and were on buslines, so I'm sure it would have worked out fine. However, I like being able to walk and get on the Metro and it's much more convenient for Jake to be closer to work. We also would most likely not have been able to afford a place with a washer and dryer in it (only one of the apartments we considered had a washer and dryer).

Anyway, after spending all sorts of time looking at big complexes, Jake and I were trying to make a decision on Sunday afternoon. We narrowed down what we wanted to about four complexes, but none of them stood out as the best one to choose. We figured we should try to have something reserved somewhere because there weren't very many apartments coming open when we want to move (in fact, we got turned away looking at some places because they don't have any apartments available during our time frame). We were discussing which place to try to reserve when I randomly decided to take a peek on Craigslist to see if anything had been posted during the day. I came across a listing about an apartment in Old Town Alexandria not far from Jake's work. I told Jake he should get on the phone and call about it. Jake called and was able to set up an appointment to see the place an hour later. The man sounded a bit surprised because he said that he had just put the ad up on Craigslist. We showed up and were met by the landlord, Clifford. He was an older guy, maybe in his late 50s or early 60s (?) (I'm bad with people's ages sometimes...). He said that he could not believe how many phone calls he had been getting since placing the ad online. Indeed, his phone kept ringing as he showed us the place (he said, "Well, jeez, if it's my wife it's one thing, but..."). The apartment was small, but kind of cool. The building was put up in the 1930s and has hardwood floors. Clifford told us that he was planning to install central air and a washer/dryer into the apartment before people move in. Sweet! Even though the place is a little bit small and doesn't have a dishwasher, Jake and I agreed that the rent and location were too good to pass up. The neighborhood is full of little townhouses and smaller buildings, has free parking, and seems really quiet (at last, I won't have to hear the damn fire sirens all the time...right now we're down the street from the fire station). After Jake and I told Clifford that we were interested in signing a lease, we headed downstairs so he could get some papers from his truck. When we got outside, there was another couple our age waiting, wanting to see the apartment as well. Clifford had to explain to them that we had already taken it. While we went through the whole process of filling out forms, etc., we talked to Clifford and found out that it was his kids' idea to start listing apartments on Craigslist (his kids are in their twenties, and his daughter also lives in one of the apartments in the neighborhood of the apartment Jake and I got). He told us that typically he rents out his apartments through word-of-mouth. Clifford seems like an awesome guy and I think he'll be a great landlord. He owns all the apartments in the few blocks surrounding our apartment, and it seems that he knows everybody in the neighborhood. He told us about who our neighbors are (one is a woman who is a commercial airline pilot, another is a football player who is recovering from cancer). People were driving by and honking and waving at him and stuff while we were outside filling out the lease. Clifford encouraged us to get to know our neighbors and told us that sometimes the residents on the street put together a block party in August or September so that all the neighbors can meet. Man, from everything that I've read about "authentic happiness", it really seemed that this Clifford guy has the formula down pat. He told us that he feels that he's never worked a day in his life. He used to have a job with the Pentagon working on fighter jets, and he said that he would never look at the clock and the days would just fly by. Yay for a cool landlord and not having to deal with stupid management companies that just try to rip you off wherever they can!

Another cool thing about where we are going to live is that Jake's friend Brian A. lives two blocks away. Brian has a nice backyard area where he grows tomatoes and peppers and he has a grill and lawnchairs set up out there. When Jake and I found out that we were going to be Brian's neighbors, we went over and told Brian and Brian sat with us in his backyard and gave us a couple of beers to celebrate. Brian is a homebrewer, so Jake and I were teasing him and telling him that we are always going to come over and bug him to sample his beer when we move in. Hooray for beer!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow, sounds great!! It seems like sometimes the best places come up out of left field.

Lisa J is visiting and I'm going to a wedding shower that Aunt Louise is throwing on Saturday. Diana is going to the wedding, and I'm begining to think about going. I might be able to get a good deal on a ticket form my dad and then split the rest of the costs with Diana. We'll see....