I desperately want to avoid a duplex/6-plex/8-plex/condo/apartment/. I want a . In Tempe. I don’t need a lot of space. I just need one room to be no smaller than 10’x10′ (for my bed) and W/D hookups. You know. Walls, a roof. A little space between where I live and where my neighbors live. Heat in the winter, cooling in the summer. Running hot and cold water. Electricity. Adequate lighting and ventilation. Indoor plumbing including proper removal of human waste.
The more I think about my minimum requirements, the longer the list gets, but .. looking back at the list, there’s not much there that isn’t considered … standard? Minimum? I don’t need a pool or a big yard or a lot of rooms or more than one bathroom or some big fancy kitchen with a walk-in oven or whatever. Just … you know … someplace to keep my stuff. Someplace to return to at the end of the day. Someplace to leave when I feel like I need to go out; so I can know when I’m out.
About a year ago when I was looking for a place for myself and Iain and (perhaps) Woody to move into, I found that for house rentals, looking 30-45 days before we needed to move in seemed too early. I know that in previous years when looking for an apartment that 15-30 days seemed to be the magic time period to get a good apartment. I realize that in Tempe, most leases begin and end in August, so there is a very competitive market in that period.
Now, I am looking for a place for myself & I have much lower qualifications to consider (besides price, which I now have to be able to handle myself), and I am finding that looking 75 days before I need to move may be too late. Many of the good rental properties for June/July were rented in the last couple of weeks. Of course, if I find something that needs to be rented right away, can I afford the deposit right away? I keep making purchases that, if Woody were paying me regularly and I didn’t have to worry about trying to make a big deposit on a house, would be reasonable expenses.
Yet Woody has been a little less than reliable, and though he seems to be meeting the bare minimum that Iain and I demanded of him, he may be falling far, far short of what he actually promised. And I DO have to worry about making a big deposit payment. Soon. And then I have to actually get my stuff moved to … wherever it is I move to. I seem to be becoming more and more picky about what neighborhood I want to live in, too.
I remember when I first move to Tempe, I just wanted to be in Tempe, and really anywhere that was “Tempe” was fine. I ended up at the very north-most part of Tempe, literally across the street from Scottsdale. I found out that that was not close enough to the things in Tempe that I was moving to Tempe to be close to, so the next place I moved was further south, much closer to downtown Tempe, as far as north/south goes, though this time just a stone’s throw from Phoenix to the West. That place I had to get out of … for various reasons, many having to do with lies told to me by the management there & by USWest, and tying into my belief that high-speed internet access will make my life better… I moved into a place that was literally right on Mill Avenue. Still an apartment, but at the time it had not occurred to me that I could afford anything more than an apartment, or that I would know how to fill it. Mill Avenue, now that was definitely in the middle of Tempe. When I moved again, this time because of irreconcilable differences with my roommate at the time, it was temporary, to fulfill the lease of the person that I wanted to room with. The temporary apartment was too far south in Tempe for my taste, and I learned after living there for about 8 months that I wanted to be MUCH closer to downtown Tempe. So I focused my search for a place to rent a little and tried to stay on my bike the whole time to get a good idea of what was in bicycling distance and what wasn’t. I looked at a lot of places, and I found one about 1/2mile south and 1/2mile west of the Mill/University intersection, the heart of downtown Tempe, where I live now.
In considering where I want to live now, thinking about living on my own, I feel like I want to be even closer. I have narrowed my primary search area to the 1/2mile square I have just described. (Actually a little smaller. I would prefer to be between University and 13th and between Mill and either Roosevelt or Judd. The closer to Mill/University, the better. I really like the feel of that whole neighborhood.) The area north of University is a little … skanky to the west and … basically all frats to the east. The area south of the University itself is … pretty expensive. I remember looking at a 3-bedroom home under 1000sq.ft. last year in that neighborhood renting for $1650/month. (They dropped the price to $1550 before they got a taker.) Anyway, that’s the neighborhood I’m looking at. I’m trying to decide if I love Tempe as much as I think I do.
The weather in this part of the world is so moderate. I love that there are only an average of 30 precipitation days per year. It’s not so often that it seems like it’s always raining, but statistically that means it rains about once every 12 days, which seems frequent enough to me. No snow. Which means no shoveling snow. Sure, you have to drive a couple/few hours to get to good skiing, but I don’t ski, and the same thing applies if you live in Manhattan or Michigan, so it doesn’t seem like too bad a deal. No earthquakes of any noticeable magnitude, no hurricanes, no flooding, no rolling power outages (yet), no unstoppable fires consuming huge sections of the city, no giant radioactive monsters rampaging across the desert. In short, no natural disasters. Seems nice and sensible.
Plus, the majority of the people that live here speak a language I understand. That has most of the world beat, hands down.
So, what else do I need to consider before I decide to try to buy a house here? What about the job market? What about local cultural activities? If I really want to be a professional artist, do I need to move someplace with a burgeoning art scene? What the heck does “burgeoning” mean? If I want to study film, or try to make films, do I actually have to move to a city where film-making is already entrenched? How many hundreds of different jobs am I already qualified for that are available in any city or town I decide to live in, anywhere in the world? Someone is making a living doing these jobs, and so can I. Maybe not a great living, but that isn’t something that I really strive for or equate fully with success. (Though that may be because right now success is very vague in my mind.) So if I do decide to settle down somewhere, what does that mean?
How long am I prepared to stay in one place? Time goes by so quickly. It seems like only a few short weeks ago I was trying to find the place I’m living now, and here I am again, looking for a place to rent. I want to find someplace I can rent for more than a year, and be satisfied, monetarily and emotionally with staying there. I want to know at the end of a year or two that I either want to stay in Tempe for a very long time or I want to get the heck out. Of course, where I would go If i were to “get the heck out” I have very little Idea of at this time.
I’ve considered moving to New York City, though the cost of living there seems awfully high. I have considered moving to various parts of the world to be with a person that I love, but … there really isn’t the opportunity for that right now. We’ll see if something else comes up in that area. I’ve considered SoCal, to attend one of the acclaimed film schools in the area & be able to break into that industry. I’ve considered the Pacific Northwest. I’m open to suggestions, and I believe that I could reasonably life in just about the same wide range of places as any other person can. I could learn to like precipitation, I could learn more languages, I’ve already learned (basically) how to drive. I’d like to think I’m pretty easy-going when I need to be.
So what now? I continue to shop for a house in the tiny part of Tempe that I’ve set my sights on and I don’t worry about it, because I’m certain that everything will work out in the end. I continue to keep my eyes and ears and heart and mind open. I continue to try to understand where I want to be in the world, and who I want to be in the world. I try to decide about when I’m going to go back to school, where I’m going to go back to school, and what I’m going to study when I get there. I keep working on living my own life, and helping people to live their own, no matter how much it hurts me or leaves me feeling left out in the cold. I continue to pay off my current debt so I can pick up some new debts.
Looking forward to making payments on a house and a car instead of various lines of credit that paid for furniture and appliances. Realistically I’m making “home” payments every month. Eventually I’ll be making “house” payments, too.