Searching for an apartment is one of the worst things a young 20-something has to go through. Sure, we have to pay off our student loans with only shit-paying jobs, and sure, maybe the dating scene can be hard if you’ve watched too many 90s rom-coms, but real estate is where the real problems are.
I thought going from a small, over-crowded college town to a semi-bustling Southern metropolis would ease the pain of searching for a decently priced abode, but it really just complicates the mess further. If you find a place your wallet can handle, it’s in a part of town where you’re almost guaranteed to get robbed or shanked. If you find a safe place, they will hit you over the head with the price. If you want to search for roommates via Craigslist to find a happy medium, you have to do so with Marty, a 41-year-old man who smokes inside and has 5 cats.
When you finally decide which luxury to give up – safety or money – you have to start narrowing down your options. You have to gather the contact info for these house hustlers and make some kind of connection with a human in order to let them know you’re kind of digging what they’re putting down. You have to drive around town to survey the neighborhoods with tears streaming down your face because you’re lost and the jackass behind you JUST DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THAT THE SPEED LIMIT IS THE SPEED LIMIT! You have to tour all of the apartments because let’s be honest, even the shittiest of roach infested dens can be hidden with a shiny exterior. You have to fill out form upon form, write check upon check, and then maybe… maybe you’ve finally found your overpriced, 500-something square foot hovel to get shitfaced and sleep in for the next 12 months.
The real kick in the ass is that in the end, we love the hell out of these apartments. Yes, we can’t afford real food or alcohol, we steal our neighbor’s WiFi, and we drag our laundry to our parents’ house, but it is a space to call our own.
So here’s to the nights of PBR and ramen on the floor of a half-furnished hole-in-the-wall I will hopefully find sooner rather than later, and to those 20-somethings who are already enjoying their evenings in their post-grad lean-to’s.