As my 6-months lease end started approaching, I realized it was time for me to go for another apartment hunt. I was in fact thinking about it for a while. I am not a big fan of fancy apartment application, but this time I forced myself to install couple of them - Apartments.com and Apartment Guide. Both had extensive list of rentals and number of reviews. However, as is the problem with Boston, you won't easily find a really nice place below $2000 per month. That too may or may not include utilities and miscellaneous expenses.
However, after spending countless post-work and weekend hours I finally shortlisted three communities as my potential house (I always get confused between home and house. I believe home is The Home). Having experienced not-so-quite-happy circumstances in the last 6 month in current apartment, I chose to live alone, at least for few months if not forever (I am lying). The reason being, I am an introvert and I like to spend time alone in the house without getting interrupted or distracted by anyone else. It's true that many people actually called me fool which lives alone in the expensive city like Boston. Keeping this in mind, I made sure I at least won't go bankrupt while paying huge rent by myself every month. (Maybe, I will - But that's the question for another time)
As the wise man would say, your peace is more important than money. And as it goes, you earn money for yourself. So it just defeats the purpose if you are just trying to save and not spend on your own development, comfort and peace
So these were my top 3 choices for apartment home. The story about how I filtered each of them at every stage is mentioned along with
I will go over each of these choices briefly in the following paragraphs.
This was the very first place I visited. Believe it or not, it was my first choice from the day I spotted. Kind of luxurious, calm, Chelsea area and it had everything I wanted including club amenities and good residents (well, apparently).
I visited this place early Saturday and was greeted by nice property manager. I was shown the lounge area and typical sample apartment home. However, not the actual one I was going to stay. The reason being someone was already staying in that apartment.
Apartment looked nice, although I was skeptical about behavior of my potential neighbors since I never actually got an opportunity to see the actual apartment. After brief discussion, I was presented with two options.
- An old apartment with slightly cheaper rent
- New apartment, but slightly more expensive
However, the bad part was my nearest commute line was 15 minutes walk from house and they only included the trash in rent, which was expensive given the $1990 price tag house was carrying. I took the leasing application and greeted goodbye to manager saying I will be back soon.
This was the second place I visited on the Saturday as a potential house. I had really positive impression of this community when I first visited their website. Surrounding area was gorgeous, plan was great and website seemed to be super helpful in terms of online leasing.
However, when I visited the place I thought maybe I had overestimated most of them. The place was ok and leasing manager seemed to be nice to potential clients. The place was big and building looked relatively older. After waiting for 30 minutes leasing agent agreed to show me the apartment. (The real one I was going to sign lease for)
It was quite a walk from leasing office. The apartment was situated on second floor, did not have AC (But could be fit on request). Living room was big, toilet had all new accessories. However, that place seemed bleak and cold to me. I anticipated neighbors might just not be so nice or less than nice. To summarize, place just did not click with me. Although I presumed it may be quiet, the whole surrounding sounded so depressing to me.
While going back we saw bunch of teenagers skate rolling, playing raps and loud music in parking areas. Incidentally we also ran into some neighbors which looked like people from low income group. Besides, the leasing constraints were too harsh. The way rent price algorithm was designed, it would increment the rent with EVERY PASSING DAY.
All in all my opinion about the place was completely changed by the time we got back. Now number 1 became my top priority and made a decision on that. I promised leasing manager to get back to her with my decision, although she warned me the next time I contact her, prices could have been increased. (Not a good sign, they should definitely keep prices fixed for at least half the week). I called an Uber and went to Downtown for lunch at Thai Basil on Newbury street.
My story would have ended on the second point had Hancock Village Apartments' leasing office would not be open on Sundays. Quite an exception for leasing offices. I know many leasing offices which are closed twice a week. Given this fact, it's truly commendable and professional of them to be open 7 days a week.
It was quite a Sunday afternoon with light rain and I was getting ready to go out when I realized this was the name on my list too. Surprised to see it is open on Sundays, I made a call to them asking for an appointment in next couple of hours. I seriously thought it won't hurt to go since I still had 2 hours of backup time before doing any other work.
I reached the leasing office around 2 and immediately got a meeting setup with one of the agents. It was a Forest Hills area full of jungle, greenery and hills. It was too large spread-out community with 800+ apartments. Management office looked polished and people with all the professionalism. We set off to see two apartments that were available at that time.
The first one we saw was recently furnished, had an AC and heater with full control. surprisingly it was spanned across two floors which is very rare. It just looked like a standalone house. Obviously price tag of $2230 was worth it. It had 1.5 Bath, spacious bedroom, living room and kitchen. Total area of almost 800 Sq. Ft. which was more than enough for 2, or even 3 people. When I was shocked by the price tag, leasing agent decided me to show another apartment with price tag of $1980. It was almost the same size if slightly smaller. It was poorly kept, trashed and was devoid of an Air conditioner. My first impression of this place was the worst. As soon as we got in, even before getting to second floor, I conveyed my message to leasing agent saying I don't think we both should waste our time looking around this apartment given I have already made my mind about it.
We came back in half n hour. The place was good, but I was still thinking about option 1. I told her that price tag of $2310 was too little of my pocket. I was told it comes with the 1 month free rent, but I did not plan to move until mid March and again, that wouldn't have made much difference. I told her I would consider it is rent is lowered or else I might pass soon. The good thing was bus stop was just by my house and most of the utilities were included in the rent itself. I went back to work and sent an email to Axis Admirals Hill leasing manager asking to send me a leasing application online expecting her reply in an hour. (I got reply after more than 48 hours which was too late)
Next day, I got a call from leasing agent of Hancock Village, giving me a counteroffer. I was given concession of two months' rent which was amazing. After my calculation it was going to average out my extra spending per month. Downside, if I break the lease penalty was going to be so high - Almost non-affordable and lease period was 14 months. Which should be fine given my lease outlives the current job. Now given this counteroffer there was no reason for me to rescind on it. I replied her back within couple of hours, next day went to office to fill out an application, saw an apartment one more time and got a happy email from agent saying my application was approved within 2 hours.
All in all it was a great experience and I am glad it all quite worked out. I got reply from Axis admirals hill next day, but it was too late for that now. Everything went quite well and smooth and hoping that it will remain same for rest of the leasing period. Apartment also has the shuttle service to and from reservoir station which is awesome.
So why did I choose one and not the other apartment? Here are the points I thought I found with Hancock Village which were not present or just did not make enough impression on me to make a decision:
- Quality of current residents
- Hancock Village seemed to have lot of professional residents as opposed to college crowd which was my numero uno priority since it's too far away from any college or downtown
- Great responsiveness from leasing agent/manager
- Quick to act and willingness to help at every step
- Easier for commute
- Brick made homes, which are great for soundproofing
- Surrounding area full of hills, greenery and trees, access to nearby trail
- Easily accessibly Forest Hill station with facility to store bikes
- Even though they call it an apartment, the presence of two floors really makes it as a standalone house which is really good given you won't have to bear with unfriendly neighbors
- Access to club room fitness center, computer stations for printing, faxes and local shuttles with nominal one-time fee of $235. (Irrespective of number of members in the apartment)
These are some of the points I could think of for moving in the Hancock Village. For me, this list is great to reason about my decision. I want to live alone now onwards, with no teenagers, college students, nocturnals or any person that is willing to do any shenanigans overnight.
At some point you start realizing that Mental peace is much more important than money. The main reason you earn money is for yourself and it defeats the purpose if you spend it on other things but your personal peace
I am going to write another post, but in the meantime here are some of the pictures of my awesome apartment taken right after move