April 26, 2013 by ebostick1212
This title seems a little bit like an oxymoron, right? A nomad with an apartment? Well, I think when you change apartments eight times in five years, you can still be considered nomadic.
Over the years, I have learned how to deal with terrible landlords, annoying room mates, major appliance dysfunctions, and extrordinarily small quarters. In five years, I have experienced:
A slug infested kitchen (I learned to NEVER walk barefoot in that place)
A room mate who hated me for no reason.
A landlord that would often invite himself into my room without prior notification, not even a knock
A burst pipe that destroyed my bedroom wall and floor
A year living in a room in a French residence hall that was only slightly bigger than a Volkswagen Passat. (Bathroom included in this space)
So, if you haven’t found your perfect place yet, don’t panic…neither have I. Although, from learning from past experience, my apartment situations have gotten progressively better.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to guide you in your own apartment hunt.
Do–your research. Read the contract, no matter what language it is in. If you can’t read it, find someone who can help you with the fine print. This way you won’t have a landlord barging in on you while you are sleeping because it is ‘written in the contract’
Do–choose your room mates carefully. After living with a couple for six months during my second year of university, I found that they started to consider it their flat, and were slowly inching me out. I spent most of my time in my room, as I was unwelcome anywhere else in the apartment, and the girl interpreted this as antisocial behavior.
Do–assert yourself. If you are paying for a room, you are entitled to the rest of the common rooms, as well. Don’t let anyone ‘claim’ these spots. If you want to watch tv in the living room, say so!
Don’t– go for a place just for the looks. Had I done my research and not sprung for the student house with fancy lighting and a flat screen tv, I wouldn’t have ended up with shoddy piping behind those walls with awesome wall paper, or a jerky landlord.
Don’t–live with friends. It may seem like a great idea at first, but trust me, you’ll regret it. How do I know? Oh maybe it was that time I roomed with my friend and my then boyfriend decided to cheat on me…with her. It made things awkward for the rest of the year. At the very least you’ll get sick of each other pretty quickly.
Don’t–expect a lot from student residence halls. That being said, I had a great experience with Trinity Student Village, in the UK, but generally student halls are noisy and cramped with drunkard students. Also, you may get placed in a room that is literally the size of a jail cell. Take my experience from Résidence du Thil, in Amiens, France. Not only did I live across from a drunken douche who played the vuvuzela at all hours, but also, my room was so small, an actual bed couldn’t fit in it. The bed had to fold out from the wall. Seriously, sometimes I wonder how I got through that entire year without getting trapped in my wall-bed.
Oh right, it folds out from the wall….and it comes with a human sized burrito…(don’t ask…)
Remember, just choose the place you feel the most comfortable. If you don’t get a good vibe from the place from the start, maybe it isn’t worth it. Make sure you trust the landlord before you hand over the deposit. I think the best advice for an apartment search in the US or abroad is: use common sense. It took me five years of living on my own to find what I wanted, and while my apartment now in Spain isn’t perfect, it is a heck of a lot better than the ones I had before.
Anyone else have any apartment horror stories?