Looking for a D.C. apartment has been torturous. For the past month, I’ve been obsessing about making appointments, getting to open houses and trying to find a good deal — and a space suitable for me, A. and baby. I haven’t paid (personally) more than $925 a month ever. So to see that rents for a two-bedroom in the neighborhoods we want (near a Metro) have been going for $2,600-$3,000 (and up) has been disheartening. We would like to save money to eventually buy a place that we’re excited about.
A few weekends ago, after going to at least six open houses, we found an apartment we liked in Adams Morgan on Adams Mill Road. It was in a 28-unit condo building that burned down four years ago, so each condo is completely redone. After walking through the unit on two levels, A. looked at me eagerly and said, “Can’t we apply?” “Yes! Of course!” I said. It was $2,600. Not ideal, but doable.
The couple renting it out was personable — the woman held her 6-month-old baby on her hip and had tips for me when she noticed I was pregnant. We came to the open house prepared — we brought our credit reports and pay stubs. And we thought we made a good impression (we’re actually darn good renters). At least 15 people (probably more) applied, but we figured that we’d be more desirable than recent college graduates. Wrong.
We sent a follow-up email that afternoon saying how interested we were. They wrote back Sunday night and said that they’d let people know by Tuesday. On Tuesday, we got the rejection email saying the space had been rented and a “couple of people” offered “more than the asking price” and they gave it to one of them.
Seriously? People do this? They sneakily offer more money — driving up rental prices? One leasing agent later told us he could lose his license if he accepted unfair practices.
Anyway, we moved on. I obsessed some more. I refreshed Craig’s List every 10 seconds. And it exhausted me.
Then I found a posting in the Washington City Paper — a good price for an apartment in a row-house on 17th Street, a block from my yoga studio and a grocery store and several good restaurants. And a mile-and-a-half from work (walkable). I was skeptical because the price was good and there were no photos. The open house was from 1-3. We arrived at about 1:45. And we both quickly agreed we wanted to apply. Turns out, we were the fourth people to apply. But this time, we were dealing with someone who was fair. She smiled with kind eyes and wore a cute hat and we liked her immediately. She said she was going to look at batches of four — first come-first serve. I was kicking myself for arriving late.
We forked over $80 for credit checks and then pretended as if we wouldn’t get it. I continued to obsess. Refresh, refresh, refresh.
The woman renting the space said she’d let us know by Wednesday. On Wednesday, she sent us a note: Her mom was sick and so she was behind on making calls, but we had excellent credit and were we still interested? Yes, yes! But the next day came and went, and no word. We knew we had lost the space. At midnight that night, she sent us a note saying it was only fair to offer it to another couple because they applied before we did. I was crestfallen. I couldn’t get the place out of my head — I was dreaming about it.
But then, the next afternoon, she called to find out if we would really be willing to sign a two-year lease (we had said we would at the open house — with a newborn, where are we going to go?) “OK,” she said. “I’ll call you right back.” In a half hour, she called, saying the apartment was ours and do we have a deal? Yes, yes, yes! We have a deal!
We emailed the signed lease today.
I can’t tell if I’m more excited that the process is over, or if it’s the right place for us, but my gut says it’s both. I can’t wait to move in, put photos on the walls and plants on the deck (morning coffees outside!) and start thinking about the baby’s room. I can’t wait to make a new home for the three of us.
Maybe now I can relax a little bit — and take the time to really enjoy my pregnancy.