As I'm obsessed with dwellings, and reaching the end of my tolerance for group-house living, I have started to look for a new place to live. My own apartment, as it were. I haven't always lived with roommates. Back in the early years of this decade, I shacked up in a 550 square-foot studio apartment that straddled the boundary between Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan. My rent was $870 a month, which seems like a bargain now, but on my entry level non-profit salary it proved beyond my financial capabilities. I moved out of there and into a room in a group house in Dupont circle for the low-low price of 470 dollars a month. Which rocked, for exactly four months and then the house was sold to developers and I moved to my current location. I've lived in my current group house for almost five years. Throughout that time I've endured a battery of roommate experiences both good and bad. I contemplate leaving now because not a day goes by where I do not yearn for my own space. My roommates are fine as far as people with whom one could share space go. But I long to walk across the threshold of my home and not be confronted with a person expecting me to exchange pleasantries, other people's furniture, or another person's set of dirty pots in the sink (although I have no problem with my own pots being in the sink--for some of my roommates that's a problem as well). And as I spend less and less of my social life hanging out in bars, I want to be able to invite people over for small dinner parties, game nights and viewings of Gossip Girl. While I have on occasion done this at my current place, these small parties are very often interrupted by roommates traipsing through, often very loudly, in a less than mellow sort of manner. Of course, what has always prevented me from moving is the fact that I am completely spoiled by my low rent and close proximity to a major metro line.
Therefore, when I first started to contemplate the idea of moving, I decided I could do it on my own terms, on my own time line. I will move in due time, whenever I find the apartment that speaks softly of home the moment I pass through its front doors. Because of this, I am becoming a semi-expert on the topic of apartment listings on Craig's List. Here are some thoughts.
1.) I understand that the nature of gentrification in DC dictates that neighborhoods that border on the newly desirable, cool neighborhood get lumped in with that neighborhood for the sake of promoting apartments in less than desirable ones. That is why six years ago Logan Circle was still called "Dupont East" and two years ago Petworth was called "Columbia Heights." However, this new practice of claiming that your apartment is in Petworth when actually it's in Fort Totten has to stop. Petworth implies "reasonably distanced walk to Columbia Heights should it be light out and you're feeling brave." Fort Totten does not. Moreover, it has its very own metro station, aptly named "Fort Totten."
2.) No, I do not want to live in your basement apartment for $1300 a month. Especially if, judging from the photos you've posted, it has no windows. I especially don't want to live there if I'd have to adhere to a vegan lifestyle or promise to never smoke in the apartment or within a 50 foot radius of it.
3.) Yes, that's a very nice 1 bedroom apartment listing in Dupont Circle for $900 a month you got there. No, I do not want to take place in your apparent real estate scam. Yes, I do see that you're currently located oversees and searching for a "God Fearing" individual to rent out your alleged apartment. No, I will not send you a cheque for the security deposit in exchange for the alleged keys which you will supposedly mail to me.
4.) If I am looking for an apartment in the District of Columbia and specified that in my search on Craigs List, I do not also want to see listings in Springfield, Vienna, Congress Heights, or any other completely un-interesting location not in the District of Columbia. When I say DC, I mean DC. If I wanted to search in Maryland or Virgnia, I would include that in my search.
5.) I am looking for my own apartment, not one to share. Therefore, it is especially annoying when listings are included in my results that are obviously rooms in group houses. There is a special place on Craigs List to advertise your group house share. I believe it's under the heading of "shares." Counter-intuitive, I know.
6.) Yes, this is a very nice apartment that you're showing me. Under some circumstances, I would love to live here. However, common courtesy requires that I give my landlord and roommates at least two weeks notice of my intent to move, and you want me to move my stuff in right this instant. Since this apartment has been available for quite some time, would it have killed you to list it two weeks ago?
7.) Would any of you readers care to weigh in on the subject of Petworth? Rents are still super cheap, but paranoid me is afraid of getting knifed on the way to the metro. Your thoughts?