Don’t settle for less than #1

Checking a huge item off your list is a massive stress reliever. The burden you were lugging around is now gone. You feel empowered because your persistence paid off, but what really made the difference were the prayers. Without God’s assistance, you wouldn’t be where you are. For me, I would still be apartment-less. Thanks to him, I locked in the apartment of my dreams.

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it. “ – Steve Jobs

I started looking when my full-time job began two months ago. After seeing its commercials, Apartments.com became my source. The filtering option allowed me to limit search results to what I wanted: one bed/one bath, in-unit washer/dryer, local, smaller size, equipped with appliances, rent between $500-$750/mo., and reliable maintenance. After extensive online research, I visited three complexes in and around the Overland Park. One of them stood out because it matched everything on my checklist.

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The only downside was there wasn’t an A2 floor plan available. They only had an A1 available for mid-September. However, A1 units don’t include a washer/dryer. I told the agent I would think about whether I could live without the in-unit amenity. In an effort to convince me, she said only A1 residents have access to the on-site laundry facility, so I’d only be sharing with eight other units, and that didn’t sound totally unbearable.

After thinking it over, I scheduled a follow-up tour to show it to my parents. When I called to schedule, I found out the A1 was leased, but a couple A2s were getting vacated! We visited on Saturday, and they told us two first-floor A2 units were available. I hated to be picky, but I knew I’d feel safer on the second floor – plus, the upstairs-neighbor noise wouldn’t be an issue if I were on the top floor.

Dad told me not to settle. It was going to be my home, so I should get my first choice. The agent said she heard whispers about a second-floor A2, and told me to call on Monday for more detail. For the next couple days, I prayed and prayed. When I called, a different agent told me someone had applied for the A2. Before I could start crying (just kidding), she said another A2 would be available in October.

“This unit is better because it’s in a better location overlooking our pool and landscaping and not the parking lot.” I nearly yelled that I would take it! I swung by after work and danced through the front door of the leasing office to sign the papers and pay the deposit. God had once again shown his desire to take care of me. Not only did I get the apartment I wanted, it was also better than the one I’d hoped for. I can’t wait for move-in day in October.

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A new home away from home

“Hi, my name is Amy and I still live in my parents’ basement.” This is something most people my age would be embarrassed about, but not me. After I graduated from college, I moved back home, and I’ve been there for a little over a year. The plan was to move out once I found a job and started saving money. I’ve been employed for over a month now, and the apartment hunt is well underway. As exciting as it is to move out and start my own life, it’s daunting at the same time.

I applaud my parents for the way they raised me, but at the same time, I feel like they coddled me too much. There are huge gaps in my knowledge: what cleaning products to use for certain tasks, cooking elaborate dishes, car stuff (payments, insurance, etc.), finances and more. I know there’s going to be a significant learning curve once I move out and gain full control over my life. It’s going to be confusing and frustrating, and I’ll continue to rely on my family for support during this adjustment period. I’m sure my mom will receive dozens of trivial-question-based phone calls.

Moving out is like a when a baby bird jumps out of the nest to learn how to fly. Does the baby bird want to jump? Absolutely not. There’s the fear of falling to its death. However, with encouragement from mama and papa bird, the baby starts flapping its wings, and when it finally jumps natural instinct kicks in and the baby bird soars.

“To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own.” 

I know without a doubt that I’m ready to strike out on my own, but that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous for the first step. This Saturday I’ll be touring three apartments. There are several factors that I’m looking for in an apartment – things I need/want and things I want to avoid.

  • Be within 30 minutes of where I work, so my morning commute isn’t awful.
  • Have an in-unit washer/dryer, so I don’t have to leave my apartment to do laundry. I do not want to have to drag a heavy bag of clothes to a laundry facility or worse, a Laundromat.
  • Top-notch security is a must. Since this is my first time living alone, I want to feel safe in my new home.
  • On-time fulfillment of maintenance requests is crucial. Most places I’m looking at have 24/7 emergency maintenance, which is very reassuring.
  • I’m neutral about apartment floor plans. I don’t need excessive space – a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room is more than enough.
  • Finally, living without a roommate(s) will inevitably result in higher rent, which is why I’m shooting for rent between $500 – $750.

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I pray that I choose the best place for my budget, lifestyle, and location. That is why I’ll be visiting each place with a list of prepared questions, so when I go back to create pro/con lists, they will be honest and thorough. I want to move into my new home knowing exactly what to expect in terms of security, maintenance, neighbors, staff, noise, and utilities. Hopefully, the important people in my life, who will be involved in this decision, will offer words of wisdom during this extensive process.