Mike in Long Beach 2010

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Apartment Hunting in Long Beach
My sad story about hunting for an apartment. If you're on a budget, stay in Cleveland.

May 1, 2010
Apartment Hunting in Long Beach

I finally have a stable address. I've been here a month and I've been trying to find something better than the apartment that I'm in now. My apartment has a one month opt-out clause if a tennant isn't happy with the place and I'm not happy at all so I was planning on taking them up on the offer and moving out in the first month. But I've had no luck finding another place so it looks like I'm stuck here for a full year.

The apartment I'm in is nice, but tiny and in a claustrophobic corner of the compound, and any time I'm home I'm just itching to get out. I haven't even unpacked yet because I was expecting to move soon, and the only thing I've unboxed is clothes. Real estate is mighty expensive here so anything in my price range is tiny. When I left Colorado I had to downsize from a 3-bedroom place to a 2-bedroom place because Portland was so much more expensive, and now I'm downsizing to a 1-bedroom place. I left nearly all of my furniture back in my Portland condo for the new tenants just because there was no way I'd rent a place big enought to fit it all. The good news is, regardless of where I move next it won't be more expensive than here.

This is a long sad story but basically, I spent a huge amount of time surfing the web for apartments in Long Beach (mostly through Google Maps) and casing my favorite neighborhoods, but I was getting nowhere. The first (and obvious) problem was that anything in my price range was a dump, so there were very few places to even look at. The second problem was when I found a place I couldn't get hold of the realtor.

About half of the places that I called on I never got an answer. I called one place eight times over three days and even left a message, but I never heard from the guy. One of the best prospects I found was a large 1-bed next to the beach and downtown. I called a few times and got no answer, then a few days later I called just as I was getting off work and finaly got the realtor. I asked if I could see the place and he said it's getting too late to show but he could squeeze it in in the next ten minutes. I said I couldn't get there until after 5, and he said his office is only open from 8 till 4:30! He's got to be kidding - does he expect clients to take a day of vacation to look at his houses???

That explains why I can't get hold of these clowns, and they don't pick up their phones on Saturday either. And as best as I can remember, every one that I did get hold of has either lived in the building or was the owner. The apartment described above was the best prospect I'd seen yet, but there's no way I'm calling back those idiots (Pabst-Kinney). It's not that I'm being obstinate, it's just that there is no way he can show it to me - I work late every day.

One place that I did get hold of was a medium-nice 9-plex on Second Street, a so-so building in a great location. This was the first day I was in town and before I signed my current lease. But the problem was the application was way too invasive. They wanted to know names addresses and phone numbers of references, employers, rentals and bank accounts, and it said don't turn it in unless it's 100% filled out. There's no way I'm giving them that kind of info even if I knew it, and I don't. In reality, I found several apartments that I liked better than my current apartment, but not enough better to go through the trouble of moving for a second time in one month.

This is frustrating. I can't imagine staying in my apartment for another next 11 months, but now I have no option other than moving all my stuff into a U-haul and living out of a hotel indefinitely. But apartment hunting has been so disappointing that I'm not sure that would work. So I think I'll unpack my TV tomorrow, it looks like I'll be staying a while.


Click these thumbnails to popup the big pictures

My fabulous apartment. Mine is the balcony in dead center.

Here's me in my new million dollar condo. Actually, it's me fooling around with a sales flyer. The actual price was 1.3M

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