San Franciscans have been through it before: scouring craigslist for a place to live and then showing up at an open-house with about 50 other desperate individuals who are ready, willing and eager to sign their lives away to spend one awful calendar year in a makeshift abode.
They clench copies of credit reports, bank statements, letters of recommendation, proofs of employment, proofs of citizenship, birth certificates, social-security cards and so on and so forth. If this is your first open-house experience, you poor sap, you are likely holding none of these documents, and you certainly do not end up living in said place. Onward and upward.
My two most favorite apartment-hunting stories both involve death, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
First, I knew something wasn't quite right when the building manager came across as being incredibly nervous. Building managers, clad in sweat pants or dirty jeans, care little about their personal appearances. Using this logic, individuals who care little about something as basic as their own face will not have much concern for other things. But can you really blame them? Why try to impress throngs of people when they will clamor over any apartment, regardless of its condition? It's just too easy.
Anyway, he was hiding something. Then he came out with it.
"Um, so, yeah... It's been newly repainted, has clean hardwood floors and... likeImentionedtheprevioustenantdiedherebecauseofaheartattack. The front room also gets great sunlight in the afternoon."
"Whoa, whoa! Did you just say this place is vacant because someone died here?"
"Huh?! Oh, that? Well, I mean, yeah, technically... I think we have to tell you that, you know? Like, obligated or something. But yeah. Yes."
For the second story, I beg of you to remember this: do not tour, consider living in or live in apartments that are next to, across the street from, above, in or part of transvestite strip clubs. These are usually not the safest areas in town.
The building manager wore coke-bottle glasses and was cross-eyed to the point where he could carefully examine the pimples on his nose. Unlike the man in the first story, this guy was not nervous at all, but instead was just a really creepy person.
"Just repainted the entire thing. New paint all over. We don't require a security deposit. Or a credit report. Or a background check."
***WARNING!*** If you ever, ever, ever hear these words, turn and leave immediately. Start screaming and running and pay the transvestite strippers and hookers on the corner no mind as you make your way home to safety.
I did not heed such advice, primarily because I had never received such advice. Bummer. So I went up to see the room, and when I say the place was a murder scene, I mean the place was a murder scene. The "new paint" was haphazardly thrown on walls, minus the one wall that surely needed it most - a wall with a huge blood spray on it. A freaking blood spray. The spray was strewn in an arc that led up to the ceiling, and then I noticed the chandelier also had blood flecks covering it, inside and out.
"Fresh paint, huh? What the hell is this then?"
"Oh. Well I'll be... That there must be wine. Yup, gotta be the vino."