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January 17, 2006

Movin' On Up

To a deeeeeeeeluxe apartment (well condo), but not in the sky (it's on the first floor).

(If you want, you can skip the back story and go right to the part about my fancy new home.)

SO, did I ever talk about my housing woes? In August my apartment complex was bought by a developer who is turning it into condos - gutting all of the units and fully remodeling them with swanky new stuff like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

By law, current residents have to be given the first chance of buying their own units. So two weeks after we got the notice about the condo conversion, we tenants received packages that detailed what the "as-is" price for our apartments would be.

I have the "deluxe" one bedroom/one bath (800 square feet) with a water view, on the first floor. It's a nice place, don't get me wrong. The only thing I don't like about it is that the screened patio constantly floods when there is heavy rainfall (i.e. every day during the summer) and I end up with mud and dirt left behind, which is a pain to clean up.

Other than that, I love where I live. So I opened the package fully intending on buying my unit.

Until I saw the price - they wanted $130,000 for it. It in no way, shape or form is worth that much to me. It might be to someone else, but not to me. And that was the as-is price; to get the upgrades (the aforementioned swanky stuff, plus a new a/c, water heater and carpeting), you had to add another $20,000.

Uh, no.

So I knew I'd have to move eventually. A few weeks ago I started informally looking at condos for rent in the area, just to see what was out there. I looked at one over near the East Lake YMCA (very convenient), and it was OK, but not exactly what I wanted (it was older and looked out over a parking lot).

Well on Friday I came home to a notice on my door from the apartment management company saying that they could not find my written request for a lease extention in my file, which I know I handed to them at that tenants' meeting back in August. But they could no longer find it, and my "unit has already been sold and we have a renovation of it scheduled for this month."

So why did you idiots cash my January rent check, HMM???

Anyway, the letter said that since I paid for January, I could stay until January 31, and then my ass had to be out. OK, it was a little more eloquent than that, but not by much. So I decided that I should probably call my realtor the next morning to see if that condo I had looked at was still available. It wasn't perfect, but it would do in a pinch (and I was being pinched).

I get the realtor on the phone at 10 the next morning and ask about the condo, which is when she tells me that five minutes before I called she rented it to someone else. JUST GREAT. But she had another condo I might be interested in that she wanted me to consider. It was $850/month, 2BR/2BA, 1000 square feet, first floor courtyard view unit in a gated community. Sounds good. I was familiar with the community - Fountains at Countryside - because it is the first condo conversion done by the developer who bought my current apartment. We were given the link to the Fountains' website so we could see what the upgrades would look like.

Even though the rent was more than I had budgeted for (I was planning on a maximum of $800), it includes water and trash. Those two items run me $45/month now, so really, it was a wash. I could afford this place if I wanted it. I reminded the realtor that I have a cat, and she said that she'd call the owner of the condo (he lives in New York) to see if a cat was OK.

She called me back 10 minutes later to say that the owner was OK with the cat ... but now the rent was $875. FINE. I HATE when people try to take advantage of you just because you have a pet.

So I was kind of miffed about that, but really, $875 isn't a bad price for a condo that size, with those amenities, in that location.

It was even less of an issue once I saw it. I love the floorplan; the master bedroom and bath are ensuite, which is very nice. The second bedroom is small, but I'll probably just end up using it as an office. It's a very neutral color scheme, so nothing I currently own will clash. It's bigger than I really need, but I think I'm going to grow to really love the extra space.

But dudes - check out the kitchen:

Stainless freakin' steel appliances. All of them. And the stove is the kind with the burners under glass. The countertop? It is GRANITE. The patio is screened and looks out over a very nicely landscaped courtyard. It's five miles from work, but I'll be driving against the traffic flow, so I should be able to get here in less than 10 minutes. Which means going home at lunch is eminently do-able.

The only real negative is that the washer/dryer is a stackable unit (there's no room for a side-by-side) and it is TEENY. The capacity is so small that I don't think I'll be able to even get a queen-size blanket into it. So it will be like college all over again, with me showing up at my mom's house carrying a basket full of laundry (and a smile).

I am very, very happy to have this settled. And I am very much looking forward to the day (probably tomorrow) when I go to my apartment's management office and tell them that I'll be out on February 4, not February 1, and I DARE them to try and do something about it.

Oh, and I should be able to keep my current phone number. Woo hoo!

Posted by Highwaygirl on January 17, 2006 03:49 PM to the category Stuff About Me
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