Thursday, February 23, 2006

Update Update

So the first place I looked at fell through last week. The story: I was looking for a flexible lease that allowed a pet, 'cause I've got custody of my beagle. This particular place had been referred by a very helpful blogreader, but I also had seen their ad in the paper:

Best Price - Nicest Condos Near Coral Ridge Mall. 2 bdrm large bath, Deck, fpl., W/D, non- Smoking, garage. Flex Leases, some pet friendly.

(Side note: I removed the phone # because I'm going to rant a little here.)

So I called up the office manager and asked for pricing on the pet-friendly flexible lease. "What kind of commitment?" I was asked. I indicated a month to month, which didn't go over well. I told I'd have to sign through summer - July 31. Otherwise it's just not worth it for her because it would be too hard to coordinate an August rental without any certainty about whether I'd stay or not.

(Side note: this doesn't sound all that much like a "flex lease" to me, particularly considering that's the same deal everyone else in town is doing. Everybody wants their leases to renew on the traditional August 1 Iowa City moving day. But, hey, that's what negotiating is about.)

So I throw some ideas out. We discuss a three-month lease, but she doesn't like that. I'm told moving in and out is just too hard on the apartment, and if I decided to re-sign it would screw up the whole August 1 thing.

I finally suggest we go with a straight month-to-month, but with a requirement that I indicate by May whether or not I intend to stay through the next year, so she can start showing the apartment for an August rental date. In other words, she gives on the flexibility, allowing me to move out early if necessary, and I agree if I stay to May I've got to sign up or move on, allowing her to organize her August. She seems to think that's okay, so I submit the application, and am called the next morning and told that everything checks out and the lease is being drawn up.

As we talk further, I suddenly realize that the lease in question isn't a month to month at all, but a regular lease through July 31st, like she was pushing in the first place. I'm a little torqued, but decide not to make a deal about it, since let's face it, I'll probably be there most of that time anyway, and she may have misunderstood me. So I reply: "Well, that's not what I thought we'd said, but if at this point, we can go with that." I swear to God I wasn't pissy. I wasn't even remotely snippy. But apparently, I ticked her off, 'cause from there, the excuses began.

First, she says if I don't intend to re-sign a year lease at the end of the summer, it would be "too difficult" to coordinate the whole August thing. She's got lots of people that want to rent there, you know, and she needs to know way ahead of time.

(Which is presumably why she has apartments sitting empty in February . . . and no, I did NOT say that. I wasn't trying my best to salvage the situation.)

I respond that I can't consider committing to re-signing the year at this time, pointing out that to do so would basically be locking me into a year-and-a-half lease, which is a little long. I reiterate, in case she misunderstood, that I am willing to do the six-month thing, and let her know by May if I'm staying or not.

(Side note: "flex lease." So what does this term mean? That the paper it's written on bends?)

Then I'm told that the rent "should" be "at least" $150 more than we had agreed upon anyway because the July 31st is a "short term" lease. (WTF?!?!?!).

The best part: I'm not even given the chance to agree to the sudden price increase (I would've agreed, I'm that desperate). As I open my mouth to speak, she says she's going to have to check with the owner anyway, because she doesn't "think they have any more room."

Okay, I must admit, she finally gets me to crack a little with that last one. There's a bit of an edge to my voice as I ask what's changed in the past five minutes - it's the exact same agreement she just called me up to offer, and the apartment is sitting empty. She hangs up on me.


After that fiasco, I had a tentative agreement with my brother to move in with him and his girlfriend, as their roommate had moved out. But the more we discussed it, it didn't seem like that was the best of ideas for lots of reasons. So we nixed that this weekend.

(Side note: Yep, I was trying to negotiate house deals while in Chicago for Aunt Millie's funeral. Can we say it in unison? "I'm that desperate.")

So that brings us to yesterday. I take the afternoon off to look around.

Place #1: I asked the agent specifically if it was a nice, non-student-type place. I was assured it was. I got there and was told that the poop-brown carpet would be repaired or replaced when it got burned during the last kegger party. It went downhill from there.

Place #2: Is apparently out by West Branch somewhere. (And you think I'm late for work now?)

Place #3: Is advertised as February and March rent free, available now, ) A newer condo, with a deck, fitness center, washer and dryer, pets negotiable. (emphasis mine). A bit further on the East side than I wanted, but otherwise it's perfect. I even got a little excited about it. But when I show up to look, I discover that their idea of "available now" basically equates to "available as soon as we get a place and pack up to move." (Sigh). They did suggest I could sign the lease now, and then move my stuff into their garage until they were ready to move. I declined.

Anybody have a nice two-bedroom condo or apartment that they want to rent to a lawyer who hasn't been late on a mortgage payment in over ten years, can put three month's deposit down, and has an eleven year old beagle that sleeps twenty-three hours out of the day? A place that doesn't scream "keg stand," but instead purrs "let's have a nice glass of pinot grigio in front of the fireplace?" It's got to be a short-term thing, because I'm determined to make the move to Chicago soon.

Anyway, I'll keep you updated.

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