Now I know I live in an expensive city. I moved out here from Colorado about 8 years ago and when looking for an apartment I was in pure sticker shock. In college my first house was $1,200 a month in rent for 5 of us to split. We had 5 bedroom’s, 2 living rooms, 3 bathrooms, a huge backyard, and even a garage. The first time I moved in alone it was my senior year in college and I remember thinking how expensive the 700+ square foot apartment was, with the walk in closet, right in our downtown district, for $600 a month. Did I mention that included all bills, even cable!
When I first moved to the bay area I came out with my best friend and she found us an apartment down by San Francisco State university. Now for those of you who do not know the area that is essentially almost Daly City. It was a large 2 bedroom 2 bathroom and we split it for $1,400 a month. After a year my BFF decided to move back to Colorado so I decided to find a one bedroom in the city. I set my budget, I wanted to find a place for $1,200 a month or less in an area I wanted to live in.
I remember refreshing Craigslist constantly with maybe only a couple of apartments fitting my criteria popping up a week. The posts were always taken down within a few hours due to so much interest. I would go to these open houses with my rental application, copies of my bank statements, a referral letter, copies of current pay stubs, a check in hand for first and last months rent, and anything else that might help sell me. I would apply and apply and never was picked. I was 24 and had only been at my job for a year, so apparently I was not as desirable as a steady older couple. I remember crying to my mom at night that it should not be so hard to find a place to live!
Then it happened. I had just applied to yet another apartment and was rejected. However the landlord felt like I reminded her of her daughter and told me she had a place that was not on the market yet and if I wanted it I could have it. It was a one bedroom 700 square foot apartment, with a garage, in my top neighborhood Potrero Hill, and it would be $1,35o a month. If I chose not to take it they were going to bring it up to market value which was $2,000 at the time. Now this was more then what I wanted to pay, but I felt lucky and I took it! Did I mention it is rent controlled?
I have now been in this apartment for almost 7 years and I love it! 2 years ago my wonderful boyfriend and his amazing golden retriever moved in with me. Now my apartment does not allow dogs, but I was so in love and never thought twice about it. Well 2 years later the landlord has finally found out about our amazing pooch and I now find myself in need of a new home.
This is where the crazy starts. Studios in this city, in the not desirable areas, start at about $2k a month to rent. How does one go from a large 1 bedroom apartment in their favorite neighborhood, with a garage, to a shoe box with a man and a dog! I decided I just cant do it! If I am going to be paying $2k+ a month in rent I would rather pay a mortgage. I have wanted to buy for years and always never pulled the trigger. So now I felt like this was a sign for me to buy.
Real Estate has now become my second job. I research constantly, go look at open houses, and I am obsessed. In 6 weeks I have placed 2 offers (almost 3) and lost on all of them. I am starting to feel like how I felt 7 years ago. That young 24 year old just wanting to find a place to live and feeling completely hopeless. I keep telling myself everything happens for a reason and it took me 6 months to find the place I currently live in, but once I did it has been the most perfect place. However let me say this market is crazy! More to come on this subject, we are only in the beginning 🙂