Damnit, I hate being so picky. For anyone who knows me, they know I am okay with just about anything. Clothes, shoes, food, TV, movies, friends, relationships, etc. I’m pretty easy-going, but there is one thing that I am notoriously picky about – where I live.
tl;dr – I am moving and on the hunt for the best apartment. I also share what features I am looking for.
Perhaps I can just say “fuck it” and live anywhere based on cost. But, for my life right now, it’s not about the lowest price. It’s about finding a place that I want to live and be social around.
First, I want to talk about why I want to move. Here goes; Gilbert blows.
I was initially hooked into my current apartments due to the favorable views of the lake outside my windows and the proximity to my work. After a few months, it became tertiary just like the trees, color of the paint and the toothpaste stains on my bathroom mirror. Initially, it was in my budget, but the strategy of the management company (Equity Apartments) is to raise the monthly rent even after consecutive lease renewals.
A final appealing perk when I signed my lease – now moot – is the fact that 20% of my monthly rent would accrue as credits if and when I become a homeowner. Well, they just pulled out of their contact with my current apartments and these credits become null and void following January. Bummer. I was counting that one day I could apply these 4000+ credits for something. Well, anything times zero is well, zero.
I also have a strong interest in going out, discovering the true Phoenix and meeting new people. I don’t want to insinuate that I am a product of my environment, but I do want to explore it. I feel ashamed I don’t even know my own city and getting around is always done via Google Maps. I want to expand my amateur photography skills with urban life. I want to go out, walk around and see culture. I want to be close to the light-rail Metro since that is a forward-thinking way of getting around.
Everything in Gilbert closes by 10 unless it’s Jack in the Box or the bar. Even Filiberto’s closes at 10 – that’s unheard of for Mexican restaurants. This city is meant for parents to raise their kids; not for people like me. Gilbert has a very high police presence, which results in excessive traffic enforcement, biased judges and overall a very “family-friendly” atmosphere which negates the life of a single bachelor who loves adventure. I’ve lost over $1,310 in fines and legal fees due to the fact the cops here have no actual crimes to crack down on.
Will there be police everywhere? Sure. Will there be traffic enforcement? Yes. It’s just the level of it in Gilbert is too excessive for me. I’ve yet to be pulled over and harassed in Tempe, Phoenix, or Scottsdale simply for obeying the law. I want cops that actually protect and serve their community, not exploit it for revenue generation.
Choosing the perfect apartment is like choosing the perfect woman. They all have their issues and use advertising to get you in and then once you want out, you can’t. Likewise, once you warm up to it, you begin to feel secure with who they are / where you live. (Too many metaphors and generalizations? I know.)
That said, I am looking for these features and assets in my next apartments.
- Budget: Under $725 monthly. Looking to get a great deal and take advantage of the ‘recession’.
- 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath. Looking to make a home-office and area for friends to crash on.
- Low crime – burglary/theft/larceny/GTA. Call me cold-hearted, but property crimes are the ones I fear most. DV, rape, murder and noise complaints aren’t a bother to me, but generally those tend to happen asynchronously with theft.
- Modern features. I would kill to find an apartment with built-in Ethernet in the walls. I’m doubtful. I desire one with a semi-modern kitchen – a decent sink or oven. Also would be great to have a digital thermostat.
- Decent reviews through social media. Scours of residents don’t lie. When you see on Foursquare a tip that says how bad the service is, there’s a reason for it. Perhaps reviews on Yelp or ApartmentRatings.com lets you know how the property and the staff treat their residents. I juxtapose this with the quality of the review itself. Good reviews = win. Bad reviews = questions for apartment staff.
- Washer/Dryer in Unit. No coin-op for me or community laundry centers. Had one too many thefts take place.
- Ability to take automated payments. I don’t write checks. It’s 2011. They better offer an easy means to pay. None of this ‘drop the rent check at the office’ games.
- Access to Highways. I like the ability to quickly access a highway. Lengthy commutes to work and stuff isn’t my thing, so the simpler and easier way I can get around, that’s a big win.
So far, there are a handful of apartments on my radar that I will be reviewing and doing my due diligence in researching. The fruits of my labor will be when I live in a bad-ass place and can enjoy going out without driving far.
My primary target is Tempe with my secondary target in Scottsdale. Either metro area offers attractive benefits, but so far Tempe just seems a little more for what I’m looking for.
Over the next week or so, I’ll share what I learn and end up choosing for apartments.