I had forgotten that apartment shopping was like shopping for a car.
First of all we were fortunate, or according to Luke - unfortunate, to
be provided with a service through Microsoft that sets you up with an
"apartment finder." In our case the "apartment finder" was in the form
of a lady who enjoyed the complimentary cookies at each rental office,
but didn't enjoy the lengthy tours of the apartments if it meant walking
outside into the cold. Which wasn't that big of a deal...Alyssa did it.
:) She parted from her PT Cruiser to join us in our "luxury car" as she
called it. (She went on and on about how nice our car was and that she
thought she was riding in a Lexus...I guess she was fooled by the fake
leather seats and the Passat label on the bumper). She wound us around
town, cutting through parking lots and around parks showing us the newer
complexes in the area and their radius from Microsoft (which was less
than necessary as we told her we were familiar with the commute). I did
however think that it was nice to have someone driving around with us
pointing out little things about the services of the town (e.x. grocery
store comparisons and good auto repair places) and speaking to which
apartments where newer and older and such. Although, at one point when
we showed up for a tour and she decided not to go with us, the lady
giving us the tour was very verbal about how pleased she was to NOT have
our "shadow" follow us around on the tour because "they are so annoying"
- Luke concurred.
Okay so back to my comparison of cars and apartment sales people. Once
we arrived to any given apartment complex office we were asked about our
apartment requirements/needs followed by our price range and then asked
to turn over our driver license in order to take a tour. Driver licence.
Hmm. This made no sense whatsoever to us. Why in the world do they take
your driver license captive into their locked desk drawer while we are
taken on a tour of the facilities. My only thought is so that we have to
come back to the office before we get in the car to leave so that they
can try to convince us to rent an apartment. Because as we arrived back
to the office from our tour we were given the car sales pitch, I mean
the apartment sales pitch. About how they have a special going on for 'a
limited time only' and it's not under their power to give you deals
after today, although with a deposit they could hold the deal up to
24hrs, etc. One place told us that the offer they were giving expired
that same day, although to date I have received 2 telephone calls from
that same place letting me know that the deal is "surprisingly" still
available for "x" amount of days if we are still interested. Such
invisible pressure. Especially when you take a step back and realize
that there will ALWAYS be a deal and if you want the same exact deal
then you just wait a little bit longer untill it comes back around OR
call and haggle for the same deal with the promise of a same day lease.
So what exactly is the difference between an apartment sales department
and an auto sales department - the gender. I wonder if they date each
other because they would make good couples and get such great couple
To our surprise, our auto and condo insurance sales person does not use
the same tactics which has been a pleasant surprise - yeay for Allstate.