Ever the resourceful, organised individual (no, really, occasionally I can be both simultaneously), I’ve started preparing for my city move by keeping a vague eye on the rental postings to cragslist. Actually, more accurately I’ve been using the really handy housingmaps.com, since it shows you the listings all spread out on a map (albeit one from the wrong search/mapping company…)
The map is important because, after a year of getting to know SF from afar I now have a very good idea of where I would really like to live, and more importantly where I really really wouldn’t like to live.
Anyway, there are several reasons I’m doing this:
- It makes it feel like I’m actively doing something about moving
- It keeps me in touch with the rental market – prices and available places
- I can grab the details of agencies who seem to regularly have decent properties
Of course, none of this is completely reliable since adverts can lie. But at least you get a feel for how the land lies, especially with ads that feature pictures (the “lie factor” seems to be lower.)
But there’s a risk in scanning craigslist before you’re actually ready to move, and the risk is that you spot a place which wouldbe perfect.
It happened to me this week. $1250/month, low deposit, newly refurbished 1-bed place on Delmar and Frederick, right in the Haight. It’s my ideal location – close to various friends, close to Haight Street (fantastic bars and restaurants at one end, the general “Amoeba Records” Haightiness at the other, close to Muni lines, Golden Gate Park… blah blah blah.
The pictures may well have been artfully shot to make the most of the space, but it was undoubtedly cute, with wooden floors and a good kitchen (you can tell a lot about a place from the attention lavished on the kitchen.)
I almost broke and phoned the agent for a viewing, but, you see, I have a plan. And it’s a good plan. It places me at the right time (in terms of lease-ending hassle, post-Christmas destress) and the right position to move. Changing places now would be expensive and highly stressful. So I had to let it drift past, willing myself not to keep checking the ad to see if it had been taken.
It was there for three days in the end before being deleted, and I’m at once sad and glad that it’s gone.
But there’s an upside to all this. In less than a month of scanning rental listings, I’ve seen one place which would be perfect (and 5 or 6 others which have been interesting). So there are affordable, nice, well-located options out there on the market.
And I’m pretty sure now that I’ll be able to find somewhere worth living when the time comes. I’m going to curse myself, of course, if that’s not the case, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.