I talk a lot about living alone and the big life changes I have gone through or I’m still going through when it comes to post-grad adulting. One of the biggest changes was finding and moving into my own apartment.
I wanted to move out August of 2017, but coming back from Europe and not having too much money saved didn’t allow that to work. I tried to move out in October too but we picked up a show at work and the free time I was going to use looking for a place was gone. At that time too, none of my potential roommate situations were looking too good and I didn’t know what to do.
When my last friend told me that she couldn’t move out at that time with me I panicked because I NEEDED to move out at that time for my sanity, I had already postponed it for so long. Thirty minutes later, I got called into my boss’ office. I was being offered a promotion that began in a few weeks and it came with a little pay raise. I sat back at my desk, did the math, and realized that I could live on my own! My parents are also pitching in $200 a month because gas for my car is no longer $400 a month from the commute.
Once I figured out that I could afford my own place, I got to work! I looked on every apartment listing and website I could find and made a list of places in the location and price range I wanted. I was looking in cities close to work to keep my commute at 25 minutes or less and while I wanted to be on the Westside near friends and things, the prices there were insane. While I was looking, I felt like moving to an area this close to work would be so depressing, who even lives up here? How long would it take me to see friends? I have and know nobody near me. Now, I know that at the right time, the Westside is only 30 minutes away and friends in Hollywood are half of that! Not too bad.
All of those websites only got me so far though. I had to dig deeper to find the right place. To do so, I would be driving home and remember apartment building names and addresses and would go on Google Maps and zoom in to areas and click on buildings until an address, or if I’m lucky a website, would pop up!
From this long list of addresses, I made a Google Doc where each potential apartment had its own row. Each row had name and address, how many rooms and it’s square footage, price, if it had a parking spot (a necessity), laundry (another necessity), minutes to the office, minutes to my friend Mary who at the time lived in Hollywood, and the website or contact info. I took all of that info and made my own Map through Google Docs where I put a dot at each address and a dot on the office. Over a few weekends in October and November, I came up to LA with my parents (and friend Sarah to ease any arguing) and we drove to different viewings or past the apartment if we didn’t have anything scheduled. Doing this, we came across “Westside Rentals” keys with text codes that we would text and find information on the building about.
Timing was so important because everything began to go so fast. One I was ready to see on a Friday during lunch and the Thursday before, I got an email that it was rented out. I was heart broken because what I saw of the place was great but at the same time, new places continued to pop up. I just had to be persistent! We saw TONS of places that, on paper, met all of my qualifications but were not in as good of areas as I thought, were smaller than expected, had a weird parking situation, you name it.
At the time, a building manager at one bedroom place that I was interested in finally responded with the price of the apartment. It was insanely high. But he also said that they own another building down the street for a bit lower (but something I would need a bit of help with) if I wanted to look. I was going into apartment hunting with the idea of paying rent all on my own so I declined but told my mom about it. She saw it online and said we should look “just to look” so we did and I made it an effort to not fall in love with it. I managed to stay detached but my mom fell HARD and told me she would help me with rent (that $200 I mentioned earlier). She loved that it had parking, a patio, laundry, was recently upgraded, and in a nice neighborhood.
Now, it’s early November 2017 and I’m down to two apartments. The studio one my mom fell in love with with the great kitchen and dishwasher, and a one-bedroom that’s $150 less, a bit further, but had no kitchen space or dishwasher. I was stressed for a week weighing the pros and cons of both and finally settled on, if you’ve seen my videos you would probably figure it out, the studio with a kitchen!
I LOVE my apartment and the area it’s in and I’m so happy I went with it. Deep down, I knew it was the right one but being out of my price range I was just trying to not accept that at the time. Yes it has its issues, it’s a corner one on the first floor so I hear cars stop and go at the stop sign and I’m the first place creepy-crawlies want to come into and there are stairs to the upstairs apartment by my front door so I hear when people stop up them really hard. But no place is perfect and this had so many more pros than cons.
Timing played a key part in my apartment hunt but so did my Google Maps stalking and organization. If it weren’t for those documents with the columns and the map, trying to find the right place or keep track of all of the places I was looking at would’ve been SO much harder. I also managed to do this while I had downtime at work and I shard the documents with my parents so my dad could add places he found and my mom could visually see the information about each place.
I also love that I have a studio apartment. When thinking of the one bedroom apartments I thought, “I’ll be in my living/dining room or my bedroom and I live alone, who do I need to get away from?” Now everything is all together and it’s the perfect size for me and still having a handful of guests over.
In future posts, I’ll be breaking down how I decorated my apartment and where I got my inspo and furniture, how I take care of my place since it’s all my responsibility to take care of, first apartment tips and must haves and much more! Living alone has been such a growing experience and while it does get lonely at times, it’s refreshing to come home from a long day of work and just be by myself and not have to stay “on” for a roommate. These last few weeks of not working are the only times I feel alone the most too. I also like knowing that if there’s a mess, it’s mine, and how I have things is how they will stay because there is nobody else to have to share that responsibility with.
If you’ve recently moved out or are looking to move out soon, let me know in the comments! I’d love to know your experience and I hope how I managed to find my apartment helps you find yours too.