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 city-data.com 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?

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