Rental realities

I am trudging through the muck of discouragement and realism while searching for a place of my own. Even a room of my own (aka a studio) as Virginia Woolf advises.

My daily routine involves scanning Craigslist and linking into local housing sites. Querying friends and relatives if they know of anyone looking for a roommate or has an “inexpensive” place available for rent?

Currently the local market offers some opportunities if one can afford to purchase a home at a median price of $349,000. I can’t say that includes me. The percentage of available apartments is also low, about 1 percent I’ve been told. One percent frankly doesn’t offer much opportunity.

I submitted my name in to a few apartment complexes for a studio apartment – and was excited to get a call earlier this week. A perky voice told me a one-bedroom had come available for “only” $400 more than the studio I’d requested. Was I interested? I swallowed hard and said no, I couldn’t afford it. The caller said my name would be removed from the waiting list. Door slammed shut. Don’t come knocking.

Last weekend I met with a couple who are renting out rooms in their home. We met at a coffee shop to discuss the possibility of my moving in. Hope stirred as we discussed our various work situations and needs. The monthly rent was a little more pricey than I’d wanted, but I could swing it.

Reality struck when they revealed the location. I am a public transportation user and the location was located about a mile up on a tall hill The nearest bus route offers limited service. Up a hill, winter is coming and our area is famed for slippery black ice and limited to no snow plow service. Reluctantly I parted ways with that idea.

So I keep scanning the ads. Quickly weeding out all those that offer a “great room” for the burgeoning college age population that annually gluts most of the available rental market. Which is another reality that rankles. What are developers and municipal leaders doing to ensure more rentals for us year round residents? While keeping students coming here to this city.

Hope touched down briefly two days ago when I spotted an ad for sharing a two-bedroom apartment. My half of the rent was a figure I could manage. The tenant was open to meeting. Until I learned the rental agency required me to make enough income to pay the full monthly payment on the unit.

That possibility bit the dust. Okay, I understand what the agency is saying – they want their rent whether one or two people share the unit. But that leaves me – and others like me who manage on modest incomes – out-of-luck.

Me. I want a quiet – but not too shushed silent – place to live. Where I feel at ease and have shelves in the kitchen for storing cookware, dishes and food. Reasonably clean. A bedroom and a chair or lounger in the living room that are mine. Near an active bus line – I am tenacious about keeping that reality in mind now when answering ads.

Somewhere out there. My home is waiting for me. Despite the challenges, I will find it. I will.

© 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.