Home sweet saga: Apartment hunting in the Bay Area—Part 3(!)

Note: This is definitely not the view from our new apartment.

Note: This is definitely not the view from our new apartment.

It is a rite of passage, a hazing ritual, a bonding experience. Welcome to the Bay Area. Good luck finding somewhere to live.

For months, Tovin and I have been hunting for an apartment and sharing our struggles with friends, acquaintances and total strangers. Almost invariably our jaunty, “Still looking for a place to live,” has been met with sympathetic murmurs if not outright commiseration. Some people share their own tales of woe, like the college friend whose wife saw 21 apartments before finding a place in the Dogpatch. Some pepper us with questions, marveling at the insanity of studio rents from the comfort of a rent-controlled spot they leased 18 years ago. Our housing saga became my go-to icebreaker for meeting new people. After a while I felt like I’d unlocked some sort of secret San Francisco handshake.

But the homeless-and-crashing-with-generous-friends club is only something you want to be part of for so long. So finally, after two months of open houses and perky chats with prospective landlords, of rental applications that reveal everything a rogue real estate agent would need to abscond with your identity and your checking account, of trying to combine price, location and square footage into an algorithm for happiness, we’ve done it: We’ve signed a lease.

Yes, Tovin and I are now the gleeful tenants of a Mission one-bedroom at 26th and Valencia. The neighborhood is great. Friends are close. BART is three blocks away. It’s half the size and nearly twice the rent of our airy loft in Downtown Las Vegas—and a spot in the garage is an extra $250 per month—but this is home now, and we’re honestly thrilled to have it.

If you’re still reading, you probably stuck around for my previous posts about the frustrations of home-hunting and dreamy cottages lost to dog-less tenants. Thanks to everyone who read those self-indulgent scribbles and, instead of rolling their eyes, offered words of support and encouragement. Thanks for telling me I wasn’t insane, for assuring me that we’d find something and for making the whole damn search a little more like a rite of passage and a little less like an exercise in futility.

You’re all invited to come visit—just as soon as we get our furniture delivered.

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