The hunt is over. The line is signed. I have a house. I no longer have to live on craigslist like an amateur stalker, watching, watching, never quite making my move. I have a house. And it’s quite a house! A magic garden, red framed window nook, claw foot tub, covered porch, hammock, fruit trees, good fences, good neighbors, good housemate, good neighborhood, good life.
But back to craigslist. Over the last fifteen months, I have become somewhat of a craigslist pro. This is not to say I’ve started selling my used tampons on craigslist or anything, but I know some things about that place. For instance:
1. Anytime you want, you can live at the Civetta. I do not want to live at the Civetta.
2. If the place looks killer darling and it’s way too cheap, it’s probably a scam.
3. If the landlords’ email is mostly about USAID and the work it does in Africa, it is definitely a scam.
4. An open house on Saturday between 2 and 4 means show up at 1:55.
5. Almost everything is negotiable — price, lease length, pets — if landlords like you they will help make it work. On the other hand, anything can be a deal breaker.
6. If the ad does not say which neighborhood the house is in, it is either almost in Shoreline, in Rainier Beach, or is owned by a very old lady.
7. Squinchy and therefore I do not want to live in an apartment, even a very cute apartment. I like trees, and he likes the squirrels that live in them.
8. Garden apartment is often a nice way of saying subterranean. Charming mid-century means sad bricks. New townhouses smell like chemical cocktails. The good places do not title their ads with all caps and stars.
9. People who place craigslist ads have a poor sense of geography. Or they are under the false impression that people who are looking specifically in the Seattle section of the Seattle area list want to live in Renton, Kent, Lacey, Port Townsand, Sultan, or Spokane. Guess what, guys? I specified Seattle because I specifically want to live in Seattle. Although sometimes the Whidbey Island cottage ads do suck me in. The Tukwila apartments do not, even when they’re written in all caps.
10. In the end, the best thing is still real human beings. After 15 months of lurking on c’list, we found our house when my housemate Cara was housesitting in the neighborhood we wanted to live in and happened to talk a neighbor whose friend was showing a house….
And now we’ve got a home.