Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Trials and Tribulations of Apartment Hunting in San Francisco.

Let me take a moment to tell you about the trials and tribulations of apartment hunting in San Francisco. Mind you, I have never experienced anything like this in my life.

Previous experiences with apartment hunts went as follows:

1. Make appointment to see apartment.
2. You see apartment.
3. You like apartment.
4. You fill out application for apartment.
5. You get apartment.

Very simple. Very straight forward. No issues.

I have quickly realized that the San Francisco process does not go as smoothly.

The San Francisco apartment hunt goes a little more like this:

1. Go to

2. Be presented with THIRTY-SEVEN different neighborhoods to choose from in the 7 sq. mile region of San Francisco.

3. After filtering out the "you-may-get-stabbed-if-you-live-here"apartments and the "are-you-kidding-me-who-could-ever-possibly-afford-to-ever-live-here-you-must-be-on-crack-craigslist-lister" apartments, you then settle on a happy medium "that-looks-decent-enough-and-it's-affordable-ish" apartment.

4. You are then given a teeny tiny window of when you can see the apartment in person. It's usually on the weekend and it's about a 30-60 minute showing. Not a minute more!

5. If you're me (or smart), you then map out your plan of action, days in advance. You find the quickest route. You prepare to leave with plenty of time to get there early so as to be the first ones there. You have your checkbook in your bag, just in case this is "THE ONE" and they'll accept your deposit right then and there...or perhaps if you need to bribe them.

6. On the day of, you arrive early, thinking you've outsmarted the locals!

7. You enter the apartment, only to be stared at by 5 other sets of eyes, silently willing you to walk away and never return. It appears your plan of showing up early was also the plan of the other desperate house-hunters.

8. But you walk in anyway, head held high, determined to be the new renter!

9. And then you stand there, in a shoebox of an apartment, with these 5 other people.
And it's quiet.
And it's awkward.
And there's nowhere to go because as you're standing in the "bedroom" you can basically touch the toilet while also simultaneously able to touch the refrigerator in the kitchen with not one step being taken. Slight exaggeration, but not by much.

So then there's a whole lot of this going on with the fellow house-hunters:

10. You then tell the property manager that you're very interested in applying, but the property manager doesn't have any applications with him and instead has everyone write their name and email address down on a paper and he says he'll "email you an application later that evening."

11. Except later that evening, you get nothing.

12. And nothing the next day either.

13. You then try to contact them because you really, really want this place. And you really, really want to give them your money. Your last little pittance of money. All for this shoebox of a place!

14. But you hear nothing back.

So then there's a whole lot of Stephanie Tanner going on in your head:

As you can see, my friends, this city is not the easiest place to find a home. I have a theory (because I'm too lazy to Google the actual facts) that San Francisco is 99% occupied. So then there's the rest of us who are fighting over that little 1% left, and boy has it been a battle.

But I am determined. And I will fight to the death! Even if it means getting physical!

...okay, not really.

But I'll have the determination of that little guy if I need to!


Wish me luck. I'm off to scour Craigslist again.


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  1. I feel the same way! I'm looking to move to a city of 40k people, 50 minutes east of Los Angeles and I'm having horrible luck getting anything. I've been actively scouring Craigslist since the last week of March. This stinks!!!

  2. We applied for a place here and there were SEVENTY other applicants. seven. zero. I about shit my pants. Needless to say we did NOT get the place. BUT a few tries later, we DID get the perfect place in a great neighborhood and when Evan went to the "open house" at 5pm on a Monday, he was the only one there. One thing I will tell you that was very helpful, is put together a packet of ALL of your info (I'm talking about bank statements, pay stubs, referrals from your last place, credit report, etc. EVERYTHING you can think of that would be helpful (we even had a resume for our dog... with his puppy class graduation certificate- you think I'm kidding. I am not). Bring that with you, with lots of copies, to every meeting, open house, whatever, and be ready to present all of that info. It sounds crazy but drastic times call for drastic measures. I've read stories of people getting into fist fights in line for an open house. CRAZY. Hope this helps! Be patient. You guys will definitely find something.

  3. Wow. The only place that sounds worse then that is NYC. No wonder my little sister will never. ever. ever. move out of the the apartment she's in now. She may never find another one!

  4. Wow that is just crazy! I can't believe the process is so long and drawn out.

  5. Wow, that's stressful!! Good luck friend! I can't imagine it being like that!

  6. this just bums me out reading it. this is horrible. i don't know how everyone else makes it seem so easy.

  7. Great looking apartment block! Bugger that it's so hard to find one, it's that way here in Australia.

  8. eeek. makes me appreciate texas even more. we are moving to a new city sat. we only went to one place and it was easy-like the process you explained. sure a few bumps on the road but not that crazy. and i was complaining about a waiting list! lol. good luck!

  9. I would lose it. Columbus is difficult, too! I had a few situations like that, but what happened to me the most would that I would email about the apartment and get an email several days later that it's been rented already. Yet the ad would stay up another month. Infuriating!! Good luck!

  10. Ah! That sounds stressful! Hopefully you find one soon though!


  11. Girl...I need to tell you my SF apartment hunting experience lol. Reading about all your trials reminds me how not fun it was! But soon enough you will find that perfect place!! =)

  12. good luck, lady! My mom grew up in the Marina so that part of the city holds a special place in my heart!

  13. yikes, that doesn´t sounds like much fun.. I´ve been apartment hunting so many times, that I feel your pain. it´s not fun being ignored by house owners, when you´re practically begging them to take your money.
    hope you find a decent place soon:-) Good luck!

  14. oh jeez - what a pain. i'm so impatient with this sort of thing so i'd be going nuts. fingers crossed you find something soon!
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

  15. Sounds like a frustrating process! I don't envy you. I'm lucky my Craigslist apartment search if proving to be quite simple. However, once you do find a perfect place, I'm coming to visit!

  16. Lollll your theory is right. SF is full. I'm waiting to hang out with you until you get a couch that me and my 6'3 man candy can crash on. JK I'd hang out with you now if I could, life has been so hectic but SF to meet you is on my to-do list!! PS obviously this meet up is pending you wanting to meet me too, figured I'd throw that in, in case people reading my comment find me to by horribly creepy.

  17. What you need to do is bring Fasha and Princess along with you...everyone else will be so intimidated they'll just leave!

  18. Apartment hunting in SF is brutal! We were one of 40 applicants fighting for the place I'm living in now. My word of advice is have all paperwork before you even walk into the place. Print out a generic application and fill it out. Also be sure to print out lots of copies of your credit report. After the showing, email them to thank them for their time if you can. The only reason we got our first apartment in the sunset was because we had the first finished paperwork they read over and we bugged them continuously. Don't give up! It's possible I promise :)

    Side story: I have a friend who got his place because he slid the guy some extra cash with his application. I'd never do it, but goes to show you everyone has their tactics!

  19. Sounds hella frustrating! Hope everything falls together for you soon.

  20. I hate apartment hunting. But I love moving.

  21. Dude, looking for apartments in the Bay Are is one of the worst experiences I had this year.



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