Apartment hunting

I’ve spent three weeks in Santa Monica now and I really love it out here! Spent the last few weekends hunting for an apartment that’s in a good location and not too expensive, so I thought I’d check out a few neighbourhoods close to work.

The first apartment I viewed was in Mar Vista, apparently a 2 bed, and 2 bath apartment for the same price of a single room apartment in Santa Monica. I was greeted by big fat bloke who almost looked like he was going to have a heart attack walking down the stairs.

The bloke’s name was Michelle (not a typo, was also listed on Westside rentals). As he approached me, it looked like I’d disturbed his lunch, because he had something on his top above his belly that looked like a single baked bean rolling down slowly. You could say he looked exactly like Borat’s side kick in the Borat movie. Picture that!

He showed me around, although there were some inconsistencies I picked up. Firstly, the apartment was a 1 bath unit, not 2 as advertised. Secondly, the rent he mentioned was $50 / month more than that listed too. Last of all, he couldn’t remember what utilities were paid for, so made up an excuse and headed off, and put a big cross on this.

One thing that became apparent, is an established credit history and a recent payslip to show proof of income. Well, that rules me out, I have zero credit history here and no payslip as I’ve only been here for three weeks.

So, I continued looking at apartments week after week. Getting about without a car was also starting to be a pain as bus services don’t run frequently. I’m only saying this because I’m so used to living in a city with decent public transport.

Nothing really caught my attention, the nice apartments were in Santa Monica from $2000, and the cheaper ones were further away in neighbourhoods that may be dodgy. I wasn’t prepared to pay $2000, but neither was I going to live in dodgy places.

Last Sunday, I spent 6 hours looking at 10 different apartments, and just when I thought my hopes were down, there was one more apartment in West LA on my list, but couldn’t be bothered at first since I was really knackered from walking and waiting for buses all day long.

When I arrived, I was greeted by the apartment manager. She showed me the apartment listed and I fell in love with the place. It had all the perks I wanted for an apartment – spacious, close to work, parking etc. She also mentioned an upper unit was available too, apartment 8, one of my lucky numbers, so I checked that out too, and it was far better, brighter, natural light in the bathroom, and even a balcony, $50 / month more than the lower unit though.

I applied to rent it the following day. It was the first time they had a foreign worker apply to rent one of their properties, and the first time I was going to rent an apartment in the US.

It didn’t go well at first, since they requested my SSN to perform a credit check, and a US payslip, I had neither. They suggested I get a co-signer, basically someone who lives here with a good credit history to be put on the lease. This was a bit risky, for the co-signer, so I suggested a double deposit to go without a co-signer. They accepted this arrangement and all I needed was a recent payslip.

The apartment management called me yesterday to confirm that they decided to rent it out to me, and it should be ready in a week’s time after they’ve fitted new carpets and blinds.


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