Since our current "home base" is in Nebraska and we are all in Finland right now, we have been hunting for an apartment in Maryland online. Not an easy task I can tell you.
Not being able to visit the place you plan on calling home for at least a year or so (12 month leases are rather common) makes it a bit tough to make a decision. We found several potential places, but upon closer inspection they turned out to be not what we need or want. We first found a place with an excellent location (8 minute drive to husband's office!) and with good ratings from apartmentratings.com. Our wonderful friends (thank you so much! :) went to take a look at it and took photos and everything looked great. That is, until I probed the elementary school a bit better. While the school had gotten a decent grade (6) at Greatschools, the reviews were not good, not good at all. So we had to pass on that apartment.
Next we found one that was a bit further away (25 minute drive) from husband's office. The elementary school was great and the place had gotten great ratings. So we contacted them and got a nice quote from the manager. We thought about it overnight and decided to go with the place, since we were running out of time. We contacted the place again and the lady we spoke the day before was not there. The new manager told us the prices change every day and today the price had gone up $200 a month. The rents in Maryland already seemed outragious to us, so adding another $200 to our monthly expenses didn't seem like a smart thing to do. So we had to look elsewhere. We first looked at the same town, but couldn't find a good place to live in. The places were either too pricey or apartment ratings mentioned roaches and other bug issues. Some places looked great until I checked the crime stats...armed robberies, narcotics offenses and assaults right around the corner. No thank you.
Next we looked at a place that is a 35 minute drive away from husband's office. Again the schools looked great and the apartment complex had gotten good reviews. Crime stats showed only traffic offenses. Unfortunately they didn't have any vacancies fitting our minimum requirements (2bed, 2bath) and if we wanted to live there we'd have to settle for a 2bed 1bath place. We really didn't want to give up on the second bathroom, since we are already downsizing from living in a house to living in an apartment. Luckily the lady told us that they had another property in the same town and they had one 2bed 2bath available later this month. So we decided to go with that, since we were running out of time and options fitting in our price range. We paid the application fees and were approved. Now we have to sign the lease and have our signatures notarized and mail a check for the deposit.
This is what our floor plan will look like:
We are basically leasing the place blind, but husband did found out from their website that we have 30 days from the moving date to cancel our lease. Let's hope we got lucky and won't have to look any further!