Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Here's to having potential!

the money pit
Originally uploaded by MookieLuv.

I have decided to look for a one-bedroom apartment for myself from 1 August and for the past few days, I've been searching a myriad of rental websites, as well as browsing the rental ads on my favourite Craigslist Chicago.

Fortunately for me I've already narrowed things down to the fact that I want to find a place in either Boystown, where I currently live, or neighbouring Lincoln Park, close to the Zoo (and closer to the city). I'm not a fan of high-rise apartments, preferring instead to look at properties in vintage walk-ups, or (at the very most) mid-rises. I know my budget, I know what amenities I'm 100% set on and which ones I would let go of (at a pinch). And preliminary searches suggest that the rental market in these areas are flush with options.

Tonight I have got two places to see and, on the way home, I called in to see the first. When I called in response to her online ad, the building manager at the first site said that if I wanted to get floorboards put into the apartment (to get rid of yucky carpet and even yuckier vacuuming), it would only jack up my rent by an extra $100 or so per month.

The building that featured my first apartment was very cute - a mid-rise that was deceptively large; the building manager said there were 61 apartments inside. But she took me up one small flight of stairs (just off the lobby) and voila - the front door of "my" apartment. When she opened the door, the fresh paint smell hit me like a freight train, but at least that's ultimately a good smell because it means a clean slate. The carpet was plain- coloured but really gunky (fixable, naturally). The apartment was quite sizeable but the fridge was enormous and took up most of the kitchen's width so you couldn't be cooking something AND go into the fridge at the same time. And two people in the kitchen at the same time? Forget it.

The closet space was good - the bedroom was a generous size and the bathroom had TWO entrances (which every female KNOWS is a winner). The place had potential.

But the thing that really clinched it for me as a no-go zone? The many windows that let in so much wonderful sunlight gave a terribly ugly view of a barbed wire fence from the property behind. Chain-link, barbed wire fence. I mean, seriously.

So I may have been tempted to run a mile but I did not. It's not the building manager's fault that the yobs next door have erected a barbed wire monstrosity to obscure any views the apartment might have had. I guess if the barbed wire wasn't there, the apartment might simply just look out on a brick building next door - which if you think about it, is equally unappetising.

But at least I can say that the search has begun, and at least I now have a control group - a subject to compare all future apartments to. I'll keep you posted on how the search pans out.

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