Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Trials and Tribulations of Apartment Hunting

A while back I found out that the area we're moving to in Washington has PPV (public private venture) housing. It works the same way as base housing does but it's not within the confines of the base. Supposedly, it costs your entire housing allowance but covers everything from electric to water and even yard maintenance (yay!). 

Here were my two lovely options that I found near our base. 

1.) Townhomes 

2.) Beautiful Homes 

Be still my heart! Hubba hubba!

So... from the caption, you can tell which of these lovely places was my cup of tea. I dreamed on and off for days about what I'd do with three bedrooms (hence, the office mood board that I did earlier...), of having a garage, all the storage... the back yard... of NOT sharing a wall with anyone... the possibility of PAINTING! 

After finally deciding I had to stop procrastinating I sent the local housing office an email and was crushed to find out...

"Then if you are E-1 to E-7 and have only one child or less, then [the townhouses] is your PPV area... We do have [beautiful homes] with 3 and 4 bedroom units. There are no extra forms for them.  Pets is another issue up here.  If you have any pets please include them on the application: size/weight, breed, and how many.  [The townhouse] has a pet deposit/fee cost of $400 per pet, just FYI."

Cue the sound of an air blowing out of a balloon. 

I can't have a beautiful home because not only do we not have a brat kid, but we'd have to have TWO brats kids to qualify. 

And... $400 PER pet. I'm sorry, WHAAAAAAT??????

After having a heart attack and fighting the urge to throw a toddlerlike temper tantrum, I decided to write down a pros and cons list to The Townhouses versus a regular old apartment. 

Here's what I came up with:


*designated and safe parking
*no utility bills (covered by housing allowance except for cable)
*no monthly extra pet fee, flat $800 (*gulp*)
*driveway and garage
*1.5 bathrooms

*staggering $800 pet deposit (not sure if any was refundable)
*takes ALL of housing allowance (whereas an apartment we might have extra left over)
*only washer and dryer connections, might have to rent appliances?
*possible gas & electric bills depending on usage


*possible 3 bedroom for the same price of townhouses
*pet deposit wouldn't be over $500 with half refundable
*possibility of living closer to family or base

*questionable parking
*additional monthly pet payment of up to $50 extra on rent
*pay for electric (and some places water and sewage)

So, for a while it seemed like they were both pretty even and I was leaning toward The Townhouses before I decided to Google some reviews of the place. 

It was horrific. It has a 0% recommendation on Apartment Ratings and 47 reviews. There hasn't been a 'Yes' recommendation since 2007. Uh oh. 

Here's a sample:

"cheaply built, everything falls apart, plumbing is a joke, make sure you get a plunger first thing, you can hear everything next door because the walls are paper thin, i could actually hear my neighbor doing the nasty and people snoring, vandalism, break ins, random people who dont even live there walking around"

"I will make sure to get the word out about this place to stay away. How can management treat our military members and dependents this way while we serve."

"Parking sucks, it's very noisy complex, kids running around everywhere. I also suspect the units are infested with mice in between the walls.
Don't let the units fool you with how nice they are, this is a terrible place to live."

KIDS.. everywhere. I figured as much seeing as it is a bunch of military families and my fears have now been confirmed. Sorry, I can't stand children. If we happen to have kids someday, I'll like them but other people's kids? No. 

We already have an annoying child problem where we are now, they are actually screaming outside near my door this very moment, and I wish we were able to live in a 55+ community. 

And I have learned from past experience that you have to take Apartment Ratings with a grain of salt. There's reviews about our current complex that are so blatantly wrong, (i.e. drug needles in the parking lot) that I have never ever seen substantiated. 

I'll just have to keep digging and rooting through the dumps to find a place where we can actually live and feel relatively comfortable leaving our Jeep outside and that no one will rob us blind. 

Apartment hunting is a dirty, awful, terrible business. Especially when you've never been to a place nor can actually see the property until a few months from now. 

So, welcome to my housing nightmare. 

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