Once we knew we were moving we pretty much had to decide right then where we were going to live. It was a very different experience from any housing decision we had ever made as a couple. I had my house when we got together and Jenny had hers. The subsequent houses that we bought came as a side effect of being Realtors; we came across what we bought in the course of business, never having to look at a selection of options and make (or not make) a decision – NOW. It’s a position that many of our clients find themselves in but not one that we had experienced from this side.
We pretty much knew we wanted to live in the Pearl District. We had a budget that we wanted to stay in and frankly, we wanted it all for that budget! We wanted a view, two bedrooms, some outdoor space and parking for two cars. No matter what we did, coming from 5000 square feet was going to be an experience in closeness. There are two primary sources for rentals: the leasing offices and individuals on Craigslist (though the leasing offices post heavily on Craigslist). Over three days we whittled the list down to four units and discovered that to stay close to our budget we were not going to get it all:
- A one bedroom with an AMAZING corner view. We couldn’t figure out a good sleeping arrangement with a two-year old. One of the features of many of the units in the area is a lack of a true door to sleeping spaces. There was no outdoor space but this was the least expensive of the options. Best view but lacking almost everywhere else.
- The next unit had we figured our two-year-old would have the master and we would sleep in the living room. It had everything else we wanted sans the second bedroom. It too had a great downtown/Mt. Hood view.
- The third unit was what a friend described as “a bar with a bedroom.” He had lived in the same floor plan previously. It had one true bedroom and a nook where we could have put our son. It was the largest space, had a good view and is located closer to what one would consider the center of the area.
- We’re completely moved in to the fourth option. 1054 square feet with a Fremont Bridge north facing view (though right now I can barely see the edge of the balcony through the fog). The downtown/Hood views are more appealing to me but I’m not complaining about what we have. It has one true bedroom and a second bedroom where we have installed the baby gate and hung a curtain for our son’s room. Toddler-proofing is proving to be a challenge: the first night he walked out the front door into the hallway- he couldn’t open the exterior doors at our house. Child-proofing is a topic unto itself though.
We did push our budget a little but negotiated to get ourselves into a unit that we really like and will be happy in for close to what we wanted to pay. What it really boiled down to was the addition of a toddler; we couldn’t make a one bedroom work and the two bedrooms units in our budget gave up some of the features that we wanted. Two of us and the dog could have done any of these units or even something smaller and we would have liked to have saved some money but we decided that even in a temporary six month situation we weren’t going to be happy. If Jenny had written this, there was a fifth option. It had two sleeping areas with no doors. She’s heavy sleeper. It never would have worked for me.
The leasing office behaved as I believe it should have. They didn’t show us the unit when we first came in because it was out of the price range that we’d given. When we started asking, this unit came up as a possibility. I’ve always felt that it is the client’s duty to push the price range, not the Realtor.