Cheap Doesn’t Mean Easy

When I was getting ready to move to Colorado Springs, I was told it would be “so easy” to find an apartment to rent, because places were cheap and plentiful. After doing a few searches on Craigslist and apartments.com, it sure seemed like it. There were lots of places to rent, they were much cheaper than anything in Hawaii and most of them were dog friendly. Many of the complexes also had amenities I wasn’t used to seeing. Heated indoor swimming pool and fenced dog park? Yes, please! Things were looking good. That is, until I arrived in Colorado and seriously began looking for an apartment.

apartment
Vue 21 in Colorado Springs, from apartments.com. The complex has a salt water pool, fire pits and monthly events, including cooking classes and wine tastings.

I scheduled my first showing and a friend took me to do a drive-by of the place. The actual buildings of the complex looked greatbut the surrounding area? Not so much. The houses around it were rundown and we saw several sketchy-looking characters walking up and down the street. I couldn’t imagine walking my dog there twice a day. I canceled my showing and moved on to the next one. Unfortunately, it was just another nice building in another rough-looking area, which equaled another canceled showing.

I had one more place I wanted to check out. Third time’s a charm, right? Wrong! Before we could do a drive-by viewing, I received an email saying that the showing was canceledthe apartment had been rented. I continued my search, emailing yet another leasing office. By the time I got a reply (the next day), the apartment had been rented. They wouldn’t have another unit available until next month. What was going on?! It seemed to me that there were two types of rentals: the super cheap ones that no one actually wanted, and the average cheap ones that were getting snatched up in what seemed like minutes after they were posted. I was getting frustrated.

I moved on to searching for a room rental. It would be less of a commitment, giving me more time to find a place I REALLY wanted to live in. I set up a Starbucks meeting with a guy who had a bedroom and bathroom for rent in his three-bedroom home. Once I decided he wasn’t a psycho, I visited the place. It was in a nice neighborhood, and the bedroom/bathroom setup seemed ideal for my dog and I. The owner was OK with the short-term arrangement, so I decided to move forward. He said he’d send over a lease agreement.

Several days passed, and no word. I wondered if he’d changed his mind. Finally, I received an email from himhe wanted my information to run a credit check. Um… what? I had offered to pay two months’ rent upfront, since I was only going to stay for two or three months. Why would he need to run a credit check? I was extremely hesitant. Several years ago, my information was stolen and sold to someone in Bucharest. (Seriously. I didn’t even know where Bucharest was until it happened.) I decided not to reply right away. I had to think about whether or not I was going to cooperate with this so-called credit check.

Fortunately, a text message I received later that night made my decision easy. My best friend in Louisville, Kentucky, asked me to come visit her. “You can stay with us!” her message read. What would I do? I could (a) consent to a credit check to live with a total stranger for a few months or (b) visit my best friend and her family, while checking out a new place I’ve never been to. The decision was obvious. See ya later, Colorado!

 

 

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