I’m moving out! My current digs finally seemed too small for me. Well, not for me exactly, but for my constant cooking. A desk worth’s of counter space isn’t good for rolling out ravioli and kneading bread, a college fridge isn’t good to store all the ingredients of my dreams, and my three cabinets can simply not contain enough pots, pans, and mixing bowls. Furthermore, Jesse has been visiting for more and more time. We are looking forward to (work C-school possibilities hopefully not at the wrong time) a whole month together in March. 205 ft^2 is simply difficult when one person (me) has an unpredictable sleep schedule. There is simply no way I can wake up and get ready for work at 4am, or arrive home at 2am, without having him do the same.
Thus, I’m getting a major upgrade right near what matters most. The Sacramento Natural Food Co-op! My new place is a two-bedroom apartment, wood floors, a full kitchen, a pink bathroom, and shared back yard in the back, complete with orange tree and patio furniture. How can I afford all this? Simply put, I’m sharing space. I’m upgrading and I’m actually going to be paying less rent than I was before. I originally was looking to rent a room in a house, but I didn’t like the lack of control so I decided to rent out a room in a two-bedroom apartment. My current rent is $675 for my studio. My new place costs $1000/month and my roommate is paying half of that, bringing my rent to $500. This is called sub-leasing, and it has high payoffs for those who are willing to invest the time and the money.
It has been a whirlwind of a journey though, and I have been almost scammed (twice), have been lied to by a prospective roommate, and while trying to just rent a room I constantly had the feeling that I was being cheated. Lucky for me I have lawyers for parents and a landlord for a boyfriend. I have a deposit in hand, and a move in date set for next month. To share the love, here is a short summary of what I learned in order to successfully sublease, or rent, a room.
1) Live on craigslist.
And I mean live it. You can search for both rooms to rent, and post listings if you are renting a room. Rooms are such good deals that they go VERY FAST, as both I and a lot of my prospective rentees found out. When you mention your interest for a place, see it the next day, the next hour even, if you can. Be ready to be on your toes, and snag the good rooms and roommates before they go!
2) Scope out the area.
Know what a good price is, and what isn’t. This will either let you know what to charge, or what you can bargain down to. If you are looking at renting a room, look at the price of studios. There is no reason a room should be as expensive as a local studio. Also scope out two bedroom apartments. As I found out in Sacramento, two bedroom apartments are cheap, while studios or rooms are very expensive. Thus, instead of paying $700 to rent a room, I got my two bedroom for a net $500 cost to me. A much better deal. If you are renting, price our place a bit lower than the competition. You may loose out on a little bit on money, but you will get your pick of roommates. No amount of money is worth crazy drama.
3) Don’t pay for roomster or what ever scam tries to get you to sign up.
They literally pay for people to post on craigslist, and then say “you have to sign up for roomster to see the details.” If you are not finding a room on craigslist, or you are not finding a roommate, they are not there for the price you are looking for.
4) Get your legal stuff in order for free.
I used the free trial off of this, and it worked beautifully. Canceling was easy. If you are looking to rent a room, check out what you will be expected to sign. Make sure to sign something, so you can guarantee getting your deposit back, or not getting kicked out on a whim. If you are renting out your room, really read that stuff! Know what you want from your roommate.
5) Be a desirable roommate/land lord.
Have a steady pay check, be ready to keep up with the house maintenance, and recognize that people will have different sleep schedules or maybe even have a guest for the night. Roommates were attracted to me because of my low drama and straight forward manner. I told them what to expect from me, and in general, I got the same thing. Land lords were turned off because of Jesse, but is he really something I would want to lie about? Be honest, keep your stuff in order, and you will find the right person and/or place.
6) Scams to avoid.
– The long distance roomie. Hi, I’m moving into town and I really like your place. I want to rent, and I’ll send you a check to hold it for me. Where should I send it? Watch out for this one! If you cash that check, they are going to track it and rob you for all you are worth. Meet everyone in PERSON.
– The long distance renter. Hi, I have this amazing room. Oh darn, you just missed me and I’m on vacation, business trip, etc. Want to fill out this application with all your rental history and social security number? Um yeah. I responded to this one with, I’ll meet you after you get back. No response.
With that in mind, good luck!
This week in updates: Southwest is AMAZING
Went to see the Jesse for the weekend, and had a blast watching him ref games, and staying in a beautiful hotel in Seattle (The W). Ate amazing food at Terra Plata. Coming back a little chubbier but a lot happier, even though I was dumb and missed my flight coming back. Thank goodness for Southwest standby! Really, the best care in the air. Missed my flight, and I got re booked for free for a afternoon flight tomorrow. With some magic done due to my active duty military status, I even got points back from the deal. Work is being amazing, lucky me I didn’t have duty or anything where I was actually needed. When does that happen? Thank you luck gods. I thought I was going to have to rent a car and drive. Now THAT is a scary thought!
I don’t know how I got confused at the time. I think bad things happen when I use my phone, as opposed to writing it out on paper. Sometimes technology makes us dumber, not smarter. Sometimes Jesse is also very distracting. Not his problem, he can’t help it. He just has to stand there and breathe. I had this problem last trip too! Next trip (promise) I am going to be incredibly diligent about this whole thing. First time I missed a flight, and I plan on making it the last one. After I post this it is time for some late night homework. I promised work I would be on point on Wednesday. Oh yay!
The Recipe: Homemade Balsamic Fig Jam
My newest cook book obsession? The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook. Wonderful! I hope to do some entertaining in my new place and this book will help me! An easy thing to make that looks fancy? Balsamic Fig Jam. I made half a recipe and had plenty.
1 pound dried figs (preferably black mission), ends removed.
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Cook covered for 20-25 minutes until all the juices are observed and the figs are really soft. Blend, cool, and serve. Maybe with some homemade ricotta, mozzarella, and crostini. Don’t know how to make your own cheese? Tune in next week!