Thursday, January 7, 2010

Apartment Search Problems

This week has been a bit hectic and somewhat of a let down, especially after coming back from a fun weekend at the beach. Though I thought my deal with a new apartment was squared away, it turns out more headache was in store. Suddenly before closing out last week, the real estate agent subtly threw in that in the 2nd year of the contract there would be a 20% increase in the rent. Whether or not that’s normal here, it’s crazy and uncalled for. It seems that if you had a good tenant, you would want to keep them to avoid the process of finding new people every two years.

A 20% increase in rent would make it unaffordable for me, and I relayed this to the agent on Monday. The only reason I gave a $500 pesos down deposit was because based off of the figures we had worked out, it was doable, but with the additional cost, it wasn’t possible. Another issue arose in that I would have to pay 6 months advance rent, yet they were unwilling to allow me to pay any of it in credit or check. That means I’d have to take out thousands and thousands of pesos from the ATM, causing fees to pile up, but also that I would have to walk around and ride in the subway with all of this cash. Definitely unsafe.

I explained this to the real estate agent and said that I unfortunately had to walk away from the deal. Shortly after I got an email back saying he’d talked to the owner and she was willing to lower the increase to 10% and let me pay half of the 6 months advance rent in check, half in cash. It’s still not ideal, but at least it cuts down on the amount of paper I’ll need.

So I thought the deal was back on for good, but the more I ruminate on it, the closer I get to ‘pre-buyers remorse.’ Dozens of questions keep popping into my head, making me second guess my move, not only from the length of time but from the loss of a month deposit of rent when I leave early. One thing is for sure—I need to move out of where I live now and the sooner the better. But my options are limited with the time I have, we’ve already put so much effort into this deal, and other possibilities are slim.

One option could have been to live with a friend, but paying only slightly less and with two other roommates wouldn’t seem ideal. It also wouldn’t be too much farther away from where I live right now. I had considered it though, until he said that he wasn’t actually sure if he had a room available. Another option that Vero brought up yesterday is to look into an apartment near her in Balvanera. It’s cheaper, but I can’t see the apartment for 15 days, which is way past the time that I need to have a decision. In order to get all of the cash together, I have until Monday to meet with the real estate agent and sign the papers with all of the cash ready. So I have until then to check out the Balvanera neighborhood and see how it feels. There aren’t any parks and it’s just a regular neighborhood, but it might also be more authentic.

These are the things that I need to debate and come to terms with over the next few days. Monday is due or die time, and I stand to lose $500 pesos in deposit if I back out of the deal. Deep down, I know I would be very happy in the new apartment, and I know that I’ve wanted to live there up until the last day or so when all of the doubt finally got to me. So far 2010 has gotten off to a shaky start.

No comments: