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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Monday (9/26/11) 1:55pm - ... wherein Peter decides to move.

I've decided to move.

So my apartment lease finishes up on 11/28/11 -- two days before I finish up at NI.  This seems like a good time to move.

That said, it's a pricey proposition.  My current rent is low -- $780/month.  There are nice one-bedrooms out there for $600 or $650, though most of those lack washer/dryer connections.  (I guess single people don't do laundry at home?)  Still, it seems reasonable to think I could find a nice place for maybe $80-$100 less per month in rent.

But the moving costs are shall-we-say significant.  Even if I packed everything myself, movers would charge at least $400 to get my stuff from place A to place B.  And as Kareem's pointed out, there are hidden fees to moving -- my electricity and Internet connections would hit me with cancel/reconnect fees, and there would be some overlap period in which I'd get charged double rent.  Plus there's a new deposit to put down, and administrative move-in fees on top of that.[1]

So that's at least six months before this breaks even financially.

On the other hand, I'd like to get out of this place.  My aparment has vaulted ceilings, which makes it pricey to keep warm and flat-out impossible to keep cool.  The place has worse rusty-water issues than anywhere I've seen.  The new management kind of sucks, and has been unresponsive to maintenance problems.

Plus, the location bites.  Granted, up to this point the location has been *great* -- it's five minutes from NI, so that's meant 'no commute'.  But now that advantage is going away, and I'm left with an apartment in a dreary suburb of apartment-plexes and tech-campuses.  It's far-enough north to make it inconvenient to everything.  Even the green belt it sits beside -- one of the main things I liked about the place -- has been carved up to make room for ever-more apartment complexes.

But mainly, I've been living in the same place for *eleven years*.  It's time for a change.  And something feels right about having a new place to live for this radically different stretch of my life.

The troublesome thing is that my current complex requires a sixty-day notice for not renewing my lease, which meant I had to come to this decision last week and notify my complex *today*.  This, even though I have no idea where I'm moving to, and even though there's probably a financial hit involved.  Also, it'll be hell trying to sort out moving at the same time I'm handling everything else in my life.  Also also, I doubt many people could help me move over the Thanksgiving weekend.

But in any case, the die is cast.  It feels oddly parallel to my workplace situation, where I told them two months ahead of time that I was quitting, with no idea what job I was going to next, and only a vague notion of how much it would torpedo my savings.

I'm not sure this is a pattern of behavior I should be proud of, but it is what it is.

--

Anyway, that leaves me making plans for finding a new apartment.

Here are the things I need:
* 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
* 700 square feet
* non-stacked-washer/dryer connections
* quiet

Here are the things I want:
* a patio/balcony
* convenient to grocery/library
* convenient to SVT/Hideout/dancing
* a windowless bedroom would be sooooo awesome
* trees

Here are some things I have no use for:
* business center
* fitness center
* media center
* pool
* vaulted ceilings

The weird thing is I don't have strong preferences about neighborhoods.  It would be nice to live in a neighborhood that really is a neighborhood -- pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, fostering social interaction -- but it could be nearly anywhere in Austin.  Even being convenient to my improv and dancing haunts isn't so important.  I'm going to spend almost all my time puttering at home, so I care more about whether the apartment itself is nice.

I'll at least try using an apartment locator.  There has to be some catch/fee to it, but I just don't have time to scour through every Craiglist listing and every apartmentplex website to find what I'm looking for.  Surely I can just give a professional a big list of what I'm looking for, get a list of available apartments that satisfy those conditions, and go on my little tours.

I'll probably contact Greenlight, which has the best reviews on yelp.  They also have access to all the smaller rental properties.  Then again, they might be unwilling to do anything for the minuscule rent I'm looking to pay, and they might only want to put me in giant McComplexes that I don't want to live in.

________
[1] Of course, it's possible I'll get my current deposit back when I move out -- this would be the point where I break into spontaneous, bitter laughter.  Apartment managers are notorious for cheating renters out of deposits, and I have no reason to believe my complex's current management is any more scrupulous than legally necessary.

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Comments:

[User Picture]
From:racingpenguins
Date:Monday (9/26/11) 5:13pm
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Out of curiosity, why specifically non-stacked washer and dryer?

I've used apartment locators before. The apartment complexes pay them commission, so it really isn't any cost to you -- at least, that's the way it's been when I've used them. Besides, most of the ads on craigslist are placed by locators, anyway.

Good luck!!
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[User Picture]
From:hujhax
Date:Monday (9/26/11) 6:52pm
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Oh, because I already have a full-size (non-stacked) washer and dryer.  Some apartments have the w/d connections in a little closet specifically designed for stacked units.

I'll see what Greenlight can do for me.
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[User Picture]
From:shadyglenn
Date:Thursday (9/29/11) 12:04am
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It's obviously been years since I last looked, but it used to be that apartment rents in south Austin took a big downward spike once you were south of Ben White, because they were outside the direct routes of the buses that stopped near UT. There's probably also an equivalent point in north Austin.
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