House Hunting

The quest for a home continues. My poor roommate-to-be must be going crazy with my constant barrage of emails, links, phone numbers, and text messages that say, “Can you go look at such-and-such a place today at 1:00?” But she’s got the patience of a saint, and so far she hasn’t complained…

Hunting for a rental home presents a number of unique challenges. For one, so many people only show their rentals between the hours of 9 and 5. Now last I checked, holding a steady job was a prerequisite (of sorts) for clearing an application to rent a place, but somehow all these things are expected to add up. Maybe it’s like magic.

At one point I called a place in Del Ray, which I had seen posted on Craigslist for a little over two weeks. Rentals in that area generally disappear quickly, so I was a bit curious already. Maybe it smells funny, or it has no dishwasher…

The woman who answered sounded like she’s been on the brink of dying from boredom since 1983 or thereabouts. I introduced myself. “I’m calling about the property you have listed for rent on Craigslist, in Alexandria,” I said in my chipper, talking-to-strangers-on-the-phone-must-make-a-favorable-impression voice. A pause.

“What property is that?”

I repeated the address on the Craigslist advertisement.

“Oh, yeah. Well now, there’s a minimum income requirement of $_xx_. Do you meet that?”  

I’m already in a state of disbelief. Seriously? The rent is clearly stated on the advertisement. If I didn’t think I qualified, I wouldn’t be calling. Do I sound poor? Is there a particular vocal timbre she’s been warned to guard against? I assure her that my roommate and I together more than qualify.

Another pause. “Well okay. And they don’t allow smoking in or near the property.”

I assure her that we don’t smoke, indoors or out.

“Ok.” She sounds less than convinced. “Now the lady who’s there isn’t home much to show it. She’ll be there today from 2:00 till 3:30, or Thursday from 1:00 until 4:00 in the afternoon. Can you stop by to see it either of those times?”

I’m so glad this woman can’t see my face at this point. “Well,” I reply after a moment, “I do work 9 to 5, and I’m pretty constrained to those hours. I can take a look at it any morning before 9:00 or 9:30, or any evening…I could see about leaving work a little early on Thursday, but…”

“Yes, see if you can do that, and give me a call if you do. Thanks. Bye-bye.” Click.

Needless to say we didn’t follow up with that place.

Then there was the home we went to look at this week, advertised as a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom townhome. The “.5” bath is actually a toilet–standing alone and proud in the basement laundry room next to the washer. The washer which might double as a place for washing one’s hands as necessary, since there was no sink anywhere in sight. While I have to admire the functional mind of the person who thought that arrangement up, I admit my strongest reaction is one of bewildered horror.

So I guess we’ll just keep looking…

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