moving: what, again!?

Yes… again. The apartment hunt is on, actually has been on for a few months now with not too much to show for it. I’m on the lookout for a 2 bedroom in the Mount Pleasant/Columbia Heights area and pickings aren’t exactly slim just… not to my taste, I guess? There are times when beggars can’t be choosers, but this isn’t one of those times, at least not yet.

I posted an instagram pic last night with the caption, “I’ve never been so annoyed to get a check for $2,300” and it was the truth. I had found the dream apartment. It was a block away from metro, at a Circulator stop, back in the neighborhood I’ve been missing since nearly the time I moved away and in the same building as one of my best friends–practically next door, actually.* We looked at it, deemed it perfect, got an application and were off… until we looked at the application which was more like that one gets when applying for a loan to buy a house, not rent an apartment. Long & Foster is managing the property and they wanted what one considers “standard” stuff, current/previous employment and residence, permission to run a credit check–which also cost $40 per applicant–and then it got odd. They wanted to know bank account numbers and balances, they wanted recent paystubs, whether we had online bad credit loans and our previous year’s W-2 forms and the oddest thing which I’ve never been asked–on a form, anyway–was whether we had a waterbed.

Still, when you want the place, you jump through the hoops, regardless of the fact that it was a Saturday and they could have sent ahead these requirements when I booked a visit at the open house.** The kicker was that they wanted an Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) of the first month’s rent to act as security deposit whether we were approved or not. In my time in the DMV, I’ve never been asked for that. A partial deposit to hold a place in a larger managed building, sure, but a check for rent up front? Still… hoops, but it presented a problem since neither of us uses (or even has) physical checks. And the open house was held well after banks closed on Saturday so there was no chance of even getting a temporary check. We filled out all the fields, checked the boxes and all that and submitted the application with a note saying that we use electronic banking and to let us know if the EMD was absolutely required before proceeding, more information here. I figured that they would say that it wasn’t, especially considering we’d given them bank balances, so it wasn’t as if we weren’t good for it.

The next day at work, I get a frantic call from the agent saying how they:

  1. Had to write a check on our behalf for the application fee because they don’t accept cash, and
  2. Really needed that EMD check and it was impossible to process our application without it.

I didn’t push it, but reiterated that my only option was to get a money order and that I didn’t think either of us were comfortable with that. So she gave me an account on their online payment system and I was able to use my bank info to give them that pre-payment that they may not even process and/or use that they desperately needed so much. And we waited…

As you can probably tell, we didn’t get the apartment, and a $2,300 check was in the mail back to me a day or so after getting the rejection e-mail. They said they chose other applicants, so we’ll never even know what, if anything, put us out of the running.

Chin up, though. I don’t have to be out of my current place until the end of the year, so I have a bit of time. And considering most apartment listings in DC are set to occupy right now, I’m not too worried. But if you know of someone looking to fill an apartment in that–or some other utterly fabulous area in DC–let me know! The hunt continues! :mrgreen:

* Which some may argue is a con, not a pro, but time would bear that out. We love each other, but know when to give each other our space, too.

** I hate open houses. Having to jockey for position with a bunch of other yahoos viewing the apartment is not my cup of tea. At the least we arrived on time–she was late–and were in and out of there well before anyone else showed up.

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3 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    the oddest thing which I’ve never been asked–on a form, anyway–was whether we had a waterbed.

    That’s a standard question down here — a lot of apartments don’t allow them because of the damage a leak can cause (or they make you carry a massive amount of renter’s insurance). It IS an odd question, tho, especially if they don’t explain why they’re asking.

    Good luck on the search! I’m sure your dream place is just waiting for ya 🙂

    • urb says:

      Generally someone’s asked that of me when they asked/talked about renter’s insurance. The only time I’ve seen it on a form was when filling out a loan application to buy a home.

  2. Meagan says:

    It seems like renter’s applications in Lansing are a little more detailed too. We also had to give our bank account information, up to three previous employers, and we had to pay for the credit check. In addition, when we did decide on this house, the security deposit was the same amount as the rent and we still had to pay the first month’s rent! (That was a lot for us at $1800!) I think people who rent are just being super careful because they know that none of us really have any money in this recession! haha But it is a hassle, it is like jumping through hoops… and it’s probably just one of those things we HAVE to do I guess. Unless we all go the vagabond/gypsy route. Which could be fun… Right? 😉
    Good luck finding a new place. I hope it’s fabulous wherever it is.
    Peace and Love,
    Meagan
    PonchoMeg: The Modern Bohemian

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