Thursday, March 22, 2012

Moving to Philadelphia: the apartment search

This afternoon my co-worker asked me about my plans for the fall. Well, I just signed the lease for the upcoming school year. I told him that the place doesn't look too big but it is only a couple of blocks away from campus. And pretty. At least on Google Street View.

He stopped me. "Wait, you've seen this place right?" I said, "No... But I saw pictures of it online. And my roommate's seen it."

Him: "Good, you have a friend that's living in Philadelphia?" Me: "No, I met her online. I've never seen her in person."

By this point my co-worker was laughing in disbelief.

This is how my apartment search went in Philadelphia: entirely online. I spent a week monitoring Craigslist and searching apartment databases. Some real estate agents told me March was too early to start looking. Some told me every unit was gone but I could be on the waiting list. Not knowing too much about Philadelphia except that Philadelphia has a much higher living cost than Houston, I was feeling overwhelmed until I was contacted by my now-roommate. She had already found an apartment- did I want to live together?

Home is where the heart, or your favorite snuggle-buddy, is:

I found this Philadelphia County Safe Map on which was pretty useful. University of Pennsylvania is in West Philadelphia, and we all know how dangerous West Philadelphia is. According to this map, I am in the safety zone. I guess I will see in August if I need to start drawing faces on potatoes or invest in some high-tech rat traps.

Have you roomed with a "stranger"? Or seen your apartment for the first time on move-in day? How did it turn out for you?