Filed under Events
I flew to San Francisco this weekend to find a place to live. I took a bunch of pictures, which you can see here. For more background on my trip, keep reading.
The HR department at ILM gave me a few websites to help me find a place.
This one was good place to start. It describes the different neighborhoods. I narrowed my search down to Cow Hollow, Marina, Pacific Heights, Laurel Heights, and Inner Richmond.
Next, HR recommended Craig's List to find a place to live. They said I could use an apartment locator service, but I would have to pay the $800 fee they charged. They said most people do not use a locator service.
I know San Francisco is going to be more expensive than Dallas, so I wanted to try to minimize how much I spent on an apartment. I also did not want to have a long commute. The only way to satisfy those requirements is with a *really* small apartment.
The first apartment I looked at was in Pacific Heights. I couldn't take any pictures inside because a tenant still lived there. It is about a mile from ILM. It was about 350 square feet and rent was $935 a month. There was no stove, no dishwasher, and no washer/dryer connections. There were washers and dryers in the building that could be used for a fee. The room did have heat, but no A/C. It was basically a small room with a sink, mini fridge, hot plate, and a bathroom. It was going to be tough to fit in here, but I was willing to try.
I decided to see what the walk to ILM would be like. The apartment is on the side of a *steep* hill. I walked 3 blocks to the top of the hill and it almost killed me. I was totally out of breath. Walking down the hill was nearly as bad because you could easily slip on the sidewalk and would tumble for quite a while.
The hills were a deal-breaker for me. Trying to drive a car with a manual transmission up these hills would be brutal when you come to a stop sign. I can't imagine trying to ride a bike up the hill. The neighborhood was nice, but mostly residential with very little retail or restaurants.
The next place I went to was in Inner Richmond. The apartment seemed huge in comparison to the Pacific Heights location, even though it was only 560 square feet. It cost $1250. It had no A/C (which isn't needed) or heat, so I'd have to buy a heater. There was no parking provided, but there was plenty of parking on the streets.
For about $50/year, the city will give you a sticker with a letter on it. The letter represents the neighborhood you are from. If you don't have one of these stickers, you can only park for 2-3 hours. With a neighborhood sticker, you can leave your car overnight, as long as you move it on street cleaning days.
The Inner Richmond apartment had two rooms and a storage area that was only about 4 feet high, but as large as one of the other rooms. There was no W/D, so you had to take you clothes to a laundromat. I liked this place better than the first. The neighborhood had more restaurants and shops than Pacific Heights, but I felt out of place because it was most much older people and families.
After walking around all day Friday, I decided that the Marina/Cow Hollow area was the place I wanted to live. It was almost completely flat. It is at most a mile from ILM. It is packed with cool restaurants, bars, and shops. And it is mostly single people around my age....actually it is mostly single *females* around my age. Not sure why, but there seems to be 10 girls for every guy I saw....I'm not complaining.
Friday night I used Craig's List to find about 10 different apartments in Marina/Cow Hollow. Several of the places I called were already sold.
The first place I went to Saturday morning had a great location. It is one block from the main drag in the Marina, Chestnut street. It is also about 8 blocks from my job, and about 4 blocks from the ocean. But the kicker is that it has a parking space...and parking is very difficult in the Marina/Cow Hollow area. It has no dishwasher. It does have heat (no A/C), and coin-operated W/D available in the garage. It is about 550 square feet and cost $1500/month with the included parking space.
When I arrived, there were 3 girls that were also checking the place out. Everybody was interested. After I was done looking, I told the owner that I was interested and he said for me to look at another place and call him at noon if I was still interested.
I walked away to check out another apartment. It didn't have a parking spot and I decided that sealed it...I wanted a parking spot so I could come and go as I please. I headed back to the apartment and there were about 4 more girls checking out the place. The owner said he would be with me after he was done showing the girls.
The last girl was newly hired by Google and said she was *very* interested in the place. She was going to check some other places and then come back.
I told the owner I wanted the place. He is a really nice older guy that has lived in San Francisco his entire life. I told him I was returning to Texas the next morning, so I wanted to get as much done now as I could. He said we could go to his office to get a credit report done on me now.
His office is at the Olympic Club, where he is also a member. The blue jeans and t-shirt I had on did not meet the requirements to enter the Olympic Club, so my landlord let me wear his sweat pants and a sweater that allowed me to enter.
He let me do my own credit report on his computer via Free Credit Report. I had never used a credit service before. This one does give you a free report, but if you don't cancel, you automatically pay $12/month for credit monitoring to let you know when you report changes dramatically. The only way to cancel is to call their customer service...you can't do it via the web or email (even though you use the web to set it up). When you try to cancel, the rep will give you lots of reason why you shouldn't cancel and offer you cheaper versions. I said, "I want the one that requires no money from me."...and that finally did it. So beware...I can see how they make it super easy to get a report and super difficult to cancel.
My landlord took me to lunch at the Olympic Club restaurant and he got the bill...very nice. I can't remember ever having a landlord that payed for my lunch and let me wear his clothes. And no, he wasn't gay...he has a wife and is a genuinely nice guy.
I asked my landlord about the odd guy/girl ratio in the Marina. He said I was the only guy to look at the apartment that day. He said his apartment is almost all independent women that work downtown in the financial district. He said that when he goes out to eat in restaurants in the area, there are 40+ girls and usually less than 5 guys. I don't know how I'm going to manage in this place.
So I got a place! It is close to work, has parking, and easy access to a very hip part of town. I can't wait to move in! Now that I know what I can't bring with me, I have to sell a bunch of stuff on eBay (couch, night stand, TV, washer/dryer, etc.) really quick!