Apartment hunting is over.
We have looked everywhere and I've learned a few things. Apartments downtown carry a hefty price tag. The one for rent across the street from The Peak was renting for $1,100 a month. I should say that was considered a townhouse/condo and had two large master bedrooms to start...I never actually saw it because by the time I called on it, it was rented out.
In the midst of our search, which has been going on for a couple months, we have noticed the trend of painting apartment complexes a wide variety of anything-but-white which can most often be described as "cat vomit." My apartment is now such an amalgamation of colors and it's just hideous. Good taste has definitely gone out the window in the Phoenix metro area as far as apartments are concerned. As my building became approximately six new colors, (grey, cat vomit light, cat vomit dark, dirty off-white, evergreen and brown) we endured a horrible three-week ordeal with Toni Mace at the Greenspoint apartments.
Like any idiot couple on the search for their new home, we were excited to see the Greenspoint. I liked the white buildings, green awnings and nice landscaping. They have since began repainting a garish combo of dark grey, evergreen and something else... But we found a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment for $900 a month there and put down $100 on site because we really liked it. It wasn't all that, but we were looking at a two bedroom at this point because it was the only way to get decent square footage. We figured it would be nice to have a guestroom/office for me. (Jon is disturbed by my working at home. I grew up in a home office, so I do my best but it's the only life I know).
Toni Mace took our $100 deposit and told us it was refundable within 72 hours. She then proceeded to take THREE WEEKS to approve us. All along the way she demanded that Jon and I obtain documents it was her job to obtain like Jon's mortgage history. She even told us to spend $20 to get it faxed to her, which we didn't do, thank goodness. She even made me get the number to the apartment complex Jon lived in while he stayed briefly in Wisconsin. All Jon did was look it up online in about one minute's time, which Toni was too lazy to do. Everything she made us obtain should have been on Jon's credit report. I have told this story to someone at every other apartment complex we have looked at and they are amazed Toni went so far. They just shook their heads at how long it took and how Toni should have just used our credit reports to get the information. So I'll soon be making a complaint to the Better Business Bureau about that.
After it was all over, Toni said I didn't have ENOUGH rental history and so we would need to throw down an extra $884 to get into the apartment, making our deposit total on move-in a whopping $1,470! (I'm off a couple dollars and cents but you get the idea). Excuse me? You want me to put down $1,400 just to move into an apartment? In Phoenix? Come on now, this isn't the San Francisco Bay Area. So we walked away. By the way, I have been renting for the last 16 months. No other complex has asked for more rental history than 6 months or a year.
I was going to give up and keep living in my dumpy apartment I hate for another six months at that point. It may be dumpy, but it's cheap and I was beginning to be seduced by all the money I could save in six months. Then the complex left me a notice about my lease being up and they are raising my monthly rent by about $90. What!? Just because you painted the dump to look worse with that cat vomit color? Now I'd love to save the cash, believe me -- I am the cheapest person alive after my boyfriend and father of course. But I'm not putting up with a rent hike like that for a place where I have to call 911 almost every weekend because my neighbor beats his wife and vice versa. I am not putting up with that when the complex gym hasn't worked in THREE YEARS! And that's just the beginning. My complex is shady beyond belief. The only reason why I chose it in the first place is because I needed a place to live immediately. And I was on a serious budget. They approved me fast and it was $150 to move in and I moved in a couple days after I first saw the place. I was also grieving my mom's death at the time and wasn't in my right mind. It was the any-port-in-a-storm apartment and I have stayed too long. At the beginning of the year when my lease was up, I resigned because I had no idea where I wanted to go and I was too busy working 2+ jobs to look around. So I mistakenly stayed. I didn't know it would get this bad!
So the search took me through some pretty skeevy properties. I didn't know it was this bad around here. I saw the Ville Encanto at Thunderbird and 44th Street. Ew. Yuck. Their apartments were like tombs and lacked serious lighting and windows. I pointed out to the leasing agent every dent I saw in the walls and she acted like she'd never seen them before. Ironically, she used to work at my current complex. So she basically had the "nothing's wrong with this dump" act down pat. Nice lady, but full of it. Oh, and this complex had no baseboards. NONE. It was very strange looking and cheap and practically identital to my place -- just without baseboards and the latest edition of aging Hotpoint appliances from 1978. Seriously, I grew up with those in the 80's and can't believe they are still in use. Yes, I know, Hotpoint is still around. But these were the very Hotpoint appliances my mom used when I was growing up. Very bad. My stove at my current complex actually ignited one day because the coil wore out. Very scary.
After Villa Encanto was the much better Paradise Trails around Tatum and Paradise Village Parkway. I stumbled upon it. Another $1,400 deposit! And no patios. None. Instead, they offer "sunrooms" which amount to extra square footage that can be used for a desk. I was still thinking about having an office of my own in the apartment so this was actually an exciting prospect. It was the most decent thing I found around PV Mall, I must say. But again, the price was wrong!
So we've finally found a good place and I'm waiting on approval. It's brand new and has every feature we could ever want, including a full-size kitchen with faux granite countertops and cabinets that match my maple Denmarket furniture. The place also pipes in The Peak on every speaker in the office and pool area, so I took that as a sign it was the right place. (The Peak is where I work). I just hope they don't tack on extra money to our move-in fee of $800 (which includes all deposits, pro-rated rent and the pet deposit with $300 of it refundable when we move out). After all our experiences since the evil Greenspoint, I see tacking on crazy deposit fees is the norm around here now. Man, a few years back there were "free rent" signs on every apartment complex. It was like you couldn't give them away. I guess with housing prices going up, apartment living is where it's at. It seems to be the only place where it's at. No one can afford to buy a home, so they are streaming to these things that are going condo and I don't think those start at anything less than $160 at the lowest -- that being the Taos at Paradise Village Parkway and Tatum.
Jon and I would like to own a home -- someday. For right now, I'm going to fight like hell to get into this good apartment I found and I should probably sign the damn longest lease I can so I can be assured the prices don't get jacked on me in just a year's time. If I can sign a 15-month-lease at this point, maybe I should. My rent has risen over $100/month in just over a year.