Getting my own place was not easy- at times bordering on frustration and hopelessness. I lucked out in finding a relatively inexpensive place to stay in temporarily but I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it up for long. It was scary not knowing when I was going to have a more permanent roof over my head.
To my credit, I didn't come to Portland without looking at some apartments online first. I was even keen on one in particular. I figured once I got here, I'd go there and I'll be set. But I found out the apartment was income restricted- as were the other places within my price range- and I didn't have the proper documents with me. But, if you thought about it, who was more income restricted than I was at the moment? I had no place to stay in and I had no job. I only had my backpack and my online savings.
The apartment finder magazines were useful in finding- well- apartments I might want to check out. Plus, they had their own websites that provided more information. Another thing that really helped was just walking around and that's how I stumbled upon my current residence.
I was able to talk to someone face to face- as opposed to corresponding via e-mail or telephone. I filled out an application and even got a discount on the move-in rate. I would have been more ecstatic if the leasing lady didn't act so loopy. It was like having Paula Abdul take down my information. She wasn't even writing legibly and I can tell it wasn't some sort of short-hand either because it seemed she dozed off a couple times in mid-sentence and the pen just trailed off. She would also ask me the same questions repetitively and I felt I was suffering through a serious case of deja vu. It didn't help matters when she called later that day and said the apartment she assigned to me was actually already reserved for someone else. Luckily there was another unit available- albeit at a slightly higher price and with no discount. It was still the best offer I had so I told her to proceed.
Then things kept coming up- problems with my application or she would need information I had already given her. I found myself at their office almost everyday to check what progress- if any- was being made. All the while, I had to keep extending my stay at the motel. First just for a couple of days, then it became a week. To make matters worse, I had already spent over a month's worth of rent in two weeks. I had felt like a big shot with how much money I had been able to save to move here but that amount was quickly dwindling. The only upside I could think of was the motel had HBO- not that there was anything good to watch considering all they seemed to show were "In Treatment" and "Disturbia".
I needed to know if I was going to get the studio or if I should start looking elsewhere. I'm sure the leasing specialist was doing her job but since nothing seemed to be happening I made sure to go to their office on her day off so someone else would have had to help me. That morning, I went in, answered some questions, and by that evening, I had my own place.