Saturday, August 23, 2008

Househunting in the Atlanta Wild

Wile E. Coyote created by Chuck Jones, owned by Warner Bros.
The sistergirl and I have started looking for our own place. Realistically, we won’t need to find a house or condo until next summer, but we’ve started the process.

Currently, sistergirl lives in her college dorm with her best friend, and I live in my parents’ basement. I love my parents, and I am grateful for their generosity (Free food AND rent free? YES). However, the walls of my basement abode are slowly closing in.

Here’s an example. I like to wake up for work at 8 a.m. so I can leave at 9 and get to the office at 10. Littlebrother wakes up at 6:30 a.m. so he can be at the bus stop at 7:10 a.m. What does this mean for me? I wake up at 6:35 a.m. when littlebrother clamors down the stairs with the dog and starts making himself breakfast. At 7:08, the dog comes downstairs to visit me and steal the high heel I mistakenly left on the carpet instead of putting it in the closet. What follows is a five minute chase scene worthy of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.

And so, the sistergirl and I have started looking at our own place.

It’s really interesting to see all the listings on craigslist. A lot of them have fantastic prices…and little disclaimers that state: “As is! Seller non-disclosure!” Not exactly what we’re looking for. When I lived in Boston, the apartment hunt was very easy. In fact, it went something like this:

Cassy: Holly, do you need a place to stay next year?
Holly: Yes, as a matter of fact I do!
Cassy: Great! Jen is moving out, so we need a roommate.
Holly: I can BE that roommate! Yay!
Cassy: Yay!

The Atlanta hunt is a little more complicated. There are a huge amount of questions to be answered—do we want an apartment, a condo, townhome or house? Do we want to rent or buy and pay off the mortgage like rent? Do we want to bring in other young professionals? How far away from the city to we want to be? Do we want a community, neighborhood or homeowners association?

My mind is spinning after only a week of looking for information, let alone looking for an actual place.

I think, as we get closer to May, the sistergirl and I will have to hire a realtor in order to navigate the market. We are fortunate enough to have my dad, a contractor who is very familiar with the housing market, but I think our best option will be to go through a company.

Despite and frustration and confusion, I’m excited to look for my own place. I think a lot of the fun is typing search terms into craigslist and seeing what comes up. I’ll be sad to leave my parents and my basement abode, but hey, I still have at least six more months of free rent, food and cable. Yum!

Did you recently search for an apartment or home? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear some inside tips.

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