Is there an unwritten rule that says finding and living in rentals has to be one of the most frustrating experiences of adult life? Because it is. In case you haven’t made your move into the vast unknown of the rental market, let me give you a little insight into how it works.
Step 1: Realize you hate your house after saying you WEREN’T going to move for at least another year. Moving is awful. And expensive. And hard. And did I say awful?
Step 2: Commence the search for new rentals with all the optimism of a a college freshman who just moved into the dorm.
Step 3: Realize you can’t afford anything you actually want. Yet find yourself unable to stop looking at postings that exceed your price range by at least $1,000/month.
Step 4: Find a couple places you kinda think you would like to live in and find out they are available sooner than you can actually move.
Step 5: Every leasing company will continue to tell you that you’re looking too early. Call back next month.
Step 6: Panic because you would like your life (and home) to be planned out a little more than a month in advance.
Step 7: Try to regain optimism and schedule showings with a sort-of promising “leasing agent” from a local “apartment finder” company.
Step 8: Tour six apartments that you already told your “leasing agent” you are not at all interested in. Drown aggravation and visions of month-to-month with a $7 bottle of wine.
Step 9: Complain to your friends. Complain to everyone who will listen. Ask them all if they somehow own a wonderful rental property you could move into.
Step 10: Find a cool place at the top of your budget. Walk through it for five minutes and mentally place your furniture throughout. Try to ignore all the belongings of questionable taste that belong to the current tenant.
Step 11: Decide you love it and want to live there forever without remembering to ask important questions like “Does this unit have off-street parking?”
Step 12: Find out that your new sort-of dream place is no longer available because the person who saw it five minutes after you already signed a lease. Pretend you don’t care but feel physically ill when you read the email.
Step 13: Move up to $9 bottles of wine, or bourbon, while you call your mom and tell her that you’re never moving again for real after this time.
Step 14: Send another round of the same “please help me in my rental search” emails to “leasing agents” and even realtors hoping someone will take pity on your young professional soul who really can’t live without in-unit laundry.
Step 15: Find a lovely place that’s out of your budget while searching Craigslist for the 23rd time that day. Email them asking if they will lower the rent by $300/month because you have no shame at this point. Spoiler alert: They will decline.
Step 16: Receive groundbreaking email alerting you that the “five minutes later” people actually backed out of their lease, suddenly freeing up the cool place currently inhabited by the weird guy who keeps a toolbox on the kitchen counter.
Step 17: Fill out rental application at breakneck speed. Send it off with a check for a processing fee (surprise!).
Step 18: Could it be? A sixteen page PDF of a lease materializing in your inbox? Don’t believe till you see it signed, sealed, and delivered.
Step 19: Sign lease. Celebrate… how else? With wine (the good stuff this time).
Final Step: Solemnly vow to avoid moving again anytime soon. For real this time.