I arrived in the Really Large City, Texas, headquarters of the Really Large Airline that just hired me, on Monday afternoon. I chose to stay at a hotel adjacent to my new employer's headquarters for two reasons: 1) I needed to do some last-minute paperwork with my new employer and 2) They gave a nice room rate based on who my new employer is going to be. Additionally, I was able to get my boarding pass in the lobby prior to heading back out to the airport, always a plus.
After I arrived, I only had a couple hours of apartment touring time remaining, so I decided to check out a place that was close to where I was staying. There are lots of apartment high-rises near there, most of which are priced rather extravagantly. The one I looked at wasn't, but it was also built two years before I was born. While it was well-maintained, it also lacked some modern amenities, and to borrow one of my friend's phrases, I just wasn't wild about the taste.
I resumed my search the following morning after calling around to a few more places. I used a really helpful (and free) apartment locator service called Apartment World. I also checked Craigslist but I didn't have enough time to check a bunch of private apartments and I got no response from the few emails I did send out, pre-trip. (AJ had similar issues when he relocated to LA.)
I was trying to keep my apartment fairly close to where I live. (The Really Big City where I'll be moving has notoriously Really Bad Traffic.) The second place I looked at was within walking distance to work, but it was also in an area that has become very fashionable in recent years as a hip place to live. Therefore, the only apartment I could afford was rather small. Not quite an efficiency, but call it a mini one bedroom. "You'll really like living at Yuppie Village!" the leasing agent gushed...but I had my doubts. Don't get me wrong, it did seem like a nice place, just overpriced. Additionally, I've heard that the local area nightlife can make things noisy on the weekends, and the apartment I was looking at was both street-side AND ground level. I was also approached by panhandlers four times that night when I went out to eat in that area, and I discovered some non-remodeled areas near there that were less than picturesque.
My next stop after Yuppie Village was at a CVS Pharmacy to buy an umbrella (since it had started raining, great timing) and then back to my hotel. I caught a cab from there out to my next destination (I didn't rent a car this trip) which was about three miles away. The leasing agent at this property was very friendly...he even showed me his own apartment, since they had no models available with that floorplan and the one they had coming available was getting the carpet replaced. While this was an older place, it seemed fairly well maintained with decent amenities.
Since the next place I wanted to look at was rather close, I opted to walk rather than call another cab and wait. This may have been a mistake since it was still raining. I did have my umbrella but by the time I made it to the next property, I was kind of soaked. "You really need to have a car in this town," the next leasing agent informed me. Duh, tell me something I *don't* know, dude. This property seemed nice but not as convenient as the one I'd just looked at...perhaps due to its location right next to a one-way busy street. At one point, I waited about ten minutes to look at a unit while the leasing agent went to fetch the keys. He came back rather apologetic saying he couldn't find the keys. OK, thanks, next property, please...
While I was waiting for the keyless agent to return, I got a call from the place I'd just visited (with the nice leasing agent) who told me that they had a floorplan I'd been interested in available. (When I was there earlier, he didn't think they had any of that plan ready to move in.) I made my soggy pedestrian journey back there. I came in kind of wet and the guy ran to get me a towel to dry off.
In my experience with apartments over the years (and working in the airline industry, I've seen my share of apartments) I have never had a good experience where I toured a model and then moved into an apartment with the same floorplan. There's always something not quite right...carpet that needs replacing, broken shelves, etc. Conversely, if I've seen the actual apartment where I'd be living, I've never been unhappy. Therefore, when I went back and saw the large, reasonably priced one bedroom I'd be living in, ready to move into, I was pretty much hooked.
In addition to the reasonable rent (less than a dollar per square foot per month) and convenient location, they property offers a free Monday through Friday shuttle service downtown. The agent even gave me a ride back downtown. So, I guess you know which apartment I ended up choosing, and I just found out today my application was approved. Yay!
As an epilogue to this day, it finally stopped raining and the sun came out about 4:30 that afternoon, right after I'd finished looking at my last property of the day (Yuppie Village Plus, even more expensive than the first one I'd seen in the morning.) However, by then, I just felt like taking a nap.
Now, I just have to pack, and find a way to pay for the move! But I'll figure out something. My new employer, the RLA, is paying for many of the move-associated expenses (including lodging and per diem for this apartment hunting trip) but not for the movers themselves. In the airline industry, this is not at all uncommon. Actually, it's common to receive no moving assistance whatsoever. I have had one paid move from the five different places I've worked in this industry. So I'm not complaining.
More relocation adventures as they occur, internet access permitting...