The Search

by snackface on July 26, 2012 · 37 comments

Hello, loves! I hope your weeks are going well. Mine is going swimmingly, but I’m trying not to let the stress of finding a place to live get to me. I have extremely gracious and helpful hosts right now, and I’m incredibly thankful for them.

My mornings have consisted of noshing and searching.

Garden Sabra on Udi's toast with strawberries and coffee.

Yesterday, I wrote down a schedule of listings and appointments. I haven’t searched for a place to live since college, and even then my roommate and I looked at two places total. (One was a basement, one was a house. The choice was not difficult to make.) We were not picky whatsoever, and I still feel that I’m pretty open to lots of different places. That’s one thing college dorm life was great for: After living in a box with one person, you can tolerate almost anything.

After scouring Craigslist and receiving a list of places from an agency, I took to the streets to breathe and reboot.

By the streets, I mean the beach. You tired of beachy pics yet? Because they're going to keep coming!

For lunch, I fixed up a SnackFace classic. If you’ve been reading for the whole three-plus years I’ve been blogging, this will look familiar:

Snack plate! Chips, carrots, cucumber slices and raspberries.

The dip is a new Sabra product that is a delight: not too tangy, not too overpowering on the cucumber or dill.

Recommended.

(The raspberries were eaten solo, obviously.)

Lunch and some primping done, I headed out into the LA traffic. I still don’t want to say it’s as terrible as everyone says, but…it kind of is. Eventually I made it to the two open houses I had planned to see. One of them was dead on my college house. 

OK, so it’s nicer than my college house (that one had wavy floors and needed a major facelift), but it feels exactly the same. I like that. The negative is the location and I’d need to buy a fridge.

The search continues. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes! I have faith!

Ciao for now,

Kailey

Questions: Do you have any apartment-search stories and/or tips? 

 

 


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle July 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm

My only tips are to have patience and not take the situation to seriously. It’s unfortunately a stressful pain most places. Good luck, lady love!

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2 Rachel July 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

You’ll have to buy or rent a fridge for pretty much any apartment in LA, FYI.

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3 snackface July 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Good to know, Rachel. Thanks!

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4 Allison July 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Most LA apartments don’t have refrigerators! I was totally shocked by that at first – I rent mine from Azuma for about $30/month.

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5 Cindy July 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Make sure you are taking notes about each apartment you visit, the cost, what is included, what you liked, what you didn’t and a rating. You will be surprised by how they all start mixing together after a while. When I was living at a place with a parking lot someone told me to look at the cars in the lot, how well they were taken care of etc., not sure if that really tends to show anything about your neighbors.

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6 Laura July 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I applaud you for keeping the faith! It can be a daunting task, especially when you have a million other responsibilities to keep up with. I recently did the apartment hunt in NYC and my best advice is to go with your gut! It doesn’t have to be permanent, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Finding the right place for right now is a good way to look at it. Best if luck to you!

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7 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie July 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I’ve lived in SF for 7 years now since graduating from Berkeley (a whole 20 minutes away – haha – big change) and the number one lesson I’ve learned is Location Location Location. Cliche yes, but so true. I’ve gotten apartments thinking “I work so much, I’ll never be home” but that’s not true, you need to LOVE where you’re going home to, it makes a difference in your life every single day! Just be tenacious and check Craigslist daily.

Good luck!!!

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8 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

College house = win. I have a weird nostalgia for them.

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9 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I’m in the midst of apartment hunting as well – it’s hard! So many pros and cons that have to be weighed.

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10 Brigid July 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I have LA apartment tips! I think you’re better off driving around the area where you want to live than using CL. Most places will not include a fridge, and some don’t have a stove (seriously, WTF?). Mine, luckily, includes both. Ask if they can estimate monthly bills for you, if they aren’t included. Try your damnedest to get parking. It will save your sanity and your wallet. Also, many places don’t have A/C, so ask if it’s a priority for you. I’m from a hotter climate and don’t really need it. As with hunting anywhere, ask all the questions you have and prioritize. You will have to compromise on something unless you have tons o’ money stashed away. And most importantly, once you find a place, don’t think about it — apply immediately! Places go so fast out here. I looked at my place the day it was available to show, and by the time I submitted my application the next day, I was one of five applicants. I got it because I had the best credit. Good luck!

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11 mary July 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

I agree with Brigid…location is key and driving around the area(s) where you think you may enjoy living is helpful. apartments can go pretty quick in LA and you will have to keep your eyes and ears open each day.

where are you looking? if you are looking more inland (re: west hollywood, brentwood, downtown, etc.), a/c may be more of a want given it is much hotter than living on the coast. if you are looking in santa monica, venice, pacific palisades, hermosa, etc. you can easily get away without a/c given the temp is much lower than say downtown. plus, there is always a nice ocean breeze.

i transferred to la for work and basically had no clue when i first moved. i ended up living in santa monica (worked downtown) and am happy to help you with any questions.

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12 Charlotte July 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Brigid is totally right! Wander the areas you want to live in by foot or car. I was using Westside Rentals and Craigslist, looked at tons of places and ended up finding my place in Los Feliz by randomly walking into a building when hanging out with a friend. The unit was being renovated, not even listed yet, had a fridge, awesome area, got it that day! The worst about going by appointment is when you go, love the place and then 30 people have already applied… total bummer.

Good luck!!!

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13 Brigid July 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Hey, sorta neighbor! I live in Hollywood and lust after the idea of buying a place in Los Feliz someday. :)

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14 hippierunner July 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Hey- don’t forget that LA has a subway you can use if you get tired of traffic! :)

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15 Floey July 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

Yep! I always take the bus or ride my bike (if I can). Saves a lot of money, time, and gas. LA traffic is the worst!

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16 Martha July 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Use padmapper.com instead of Craigslist.

I’ve used it for the last two places I’ve rented in WA. It pulls all of the Craigslist ads as well as ones from other sites, but actually maps all listings and gives you the ability to set a price/bedroom/location range. You can also get email alerts every couple of hours when something matching your criteria is posted. WAY better.

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17 erica July 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm

LA rental tips, some of which reinforce comments above:
1. padmapper.com (it’s a google maps based app that searches craigslist and a few other sites, but you can click on ads based on the street address! no more misleading titles!). you can set up alerts that email you when a listing that matches your criteria is posted, and you can specify the area by selecting areas on the map.
2. DEFINITELY apply as soon as you find something. i got left behind on 3 places when i moved a few months ago, and literally had to sit down and fill out an app right then and there at my current apt so the other girl wouldn’t get it first!
3. i’ve been able to negotiate either keeping or being supplied with a fridge/stove with the landlord in my last 3 places; it’s worth a shot!
4. if you have a car, and you’re living in a crowded area, do NOT settle for a place without a dedicated parking spot. serious nightmare.
5. go for location over anything else. seriously. location first. make sure it’s safe and where you want to be.

good luck!!

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18 erica July 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

also, sign up with therentalgirl.com!

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19 Christina @ The Beautiful Balance July 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Locate a realtor who specializes in leasing apartments/condos/anything. You will be able to give them your price range and the guidelines of what you are hoping to find. They will search their MLS and set up everything for you. Trust me, especially in LA, you want a realtor.

The plus? Most of these leasing realtors do not charge.

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20 Gina @ Health Love and Chocolate July 26, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Good luck with the search! I just got done apartment hunting myself and was so relieved when I finally found a place.

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21 Sarah July 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I’m currently apartment hunting in Milwaukee….and needless to say, it’s rough. There is a very fine line between a college-type shithole and something way over my budget. I’m 24, therefore I’m ready to make a place feel more ‘homey’….so a 300 sq foot studio with a 3 foot kitchen ‘nook’ and some busted up carpet isn’t ideal. Have to start somewhere though….we’ll see how long my apartment hunting patience lasts!

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22 Laura @ Backstage Balance July 27, 2012 at 12:18 am

Sarah – I’m a fellow Milwaukeean! A word of advice; I assume you’re looking for a place on the East Side. I used to live on Knapp St between Astor and Farwell, on the lower East. Loved that neighborhood! Avoid Katz Properties, they are cheap and I encountered many issues while renting from them.
If I can recommend one place, it’s the Astor Hotel apartments. They include all utilities and also cable, and the building is historic yet well maintained! And their studios are HUGE.

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23 Sarah July 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm

WOO! Thanks :) I would prefer to live downtown…but parking is kind of important to me. I work til 10pm…so especially in the winter, having to park 4 blocks away and walk home in the dark is not ideal. I appreciate your tip though! I’ll check those out! :)

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24 Emily July 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Apartment searching in LA is always an adventure. I’m actually on the hunt for a new apartment as well and it’s been stressful, to say the least. My only advice is to be patient and trust that you’ll find the right place eventually. The literally stumbled upon the apartment I’m in now and it has been absolutely perfect for the past two years. I’m wishing you the best of luck!
I met up with Lynn (the actors diet) today and she mentioned that you two and elise were hoping to have lunch on monday. We should all plan a get together sometime soon! (:

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25 amy July 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm

good luck with the search! hope your enjoying LA!!

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26 Jessie July 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

I know searching can be hard and completely stressed. Try to remain calm and patient though (treating yourself to froyo is definitely a must in between showings).

Hope you find something over the weekend girl :)

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27 Lindsay Simone July 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

It’s nice that you have great friends who will let you couch surf while you continue to work on project: find Kailey a home! I have faith in the fact that you’ll be able to find yourself a perfect apartment/Snack-Face headquarters.

Good luck!

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28 Emily @ I'd Rather Walk July 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

Apartment searching in Manhattan is possibly the worst experience ever, second only to dating in Manhattan. Everything is $100 minimum and 10x10feet maximum.

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29 Hannah July 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

For me, the biggest thing is not to settle. I was antsy to get into my own place and ended up signing a lease on the apartment where I currently live. It’s fine, but it’s by no means great and I think if I had been a little more patient and dug a little deeper, I could have found a better place for less money…and now I have 9 months left. Lesson learned!

Good luck!

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30 Gillian July 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm

You could always buy a mini fridge then allow other items to sit out pantry style?

When searching through dozens of apartments last year I printed out several copies of a form I made for myself with stuff like the following (PRICE/LOCATION/UTILITIES/EXTRA COSTS/PARKING/VIEW/GYM ect.). I brought a form to every apartment and filled in the notes. This made comparing price and details really easy later! Along with lots of photos!

Good luck, can’t wait to hear more!

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31 Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola July 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Ya, the traffic in LA does suck. But you’ll learn ways to get around it, ie if you are going to WeHo from the Westside, cut through Culver city instead of jumping on the freeway– it will save you so much time. Also, I agree with the above and say that location is probably the most important when it comes to living in LA. Pick a location you like and the amenities that are important to you. There’s not much walking in LA (unless you live in Venice) but make sure you are on the side of town where you will be working/going out/etc that way you don’t have to take multiple freeways to get there- trust me, the commutes are not worth it!

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32 Lisa July 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Good luck with the search lady! I have confidence you will find something good for you at this moment:)
Your lucky you have such awesome hosts
Apartments can definitely be a brutal search.

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33 A. Lip July 28, 2012 at 9:53 am

Hey sweets! Enjoy the search! After me and Rome changed our minds on our last apartment we were left with like A WEEK to find a place before August 1st. And WE DID and its the cutest most perfect little house in the world! I’m sure if you just try not to stress too much and keep an open mind, you will find the perfect casa de Kailey!

Love you!

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34 Queen July 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

We have a house in your old college town!! My best advice is that you can negotiate with the landlord. Bring up the fact that you won’t be trashing his house and maybe improving it. Maybe he or she would be amendable to buying you a fridge which you would not trash either. It would be a plus for them to rent WITH a fridge to the next tenant. I wonder why they rent without appliances…

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35 emily (a nutritionist eats) July 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Sorry to say that apartment searching for me in LA took a lot longer than I expected! But my husband is really picky so that didn’t help…
I think all of the neighborhoods and things being cool on one block and sketchy on another can make it harder than when I’ve looked in other cities!

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36 RunEatRepeat July 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Hey hey! I am just catching up on our life. Welcome to SoCal! I’m in Orange County. You should def hit up Actor’s Diet if you haven’t yet, she’s got the scoop in LA :)

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37 snackface August 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

YAY MONICA! We will finally get to meet after how many years of blogging?! :)

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