Part 1: to pack up or not to pack up

The first step is to weigh the burden of your current apartment. How bad is it? How loud are the neighbors? How often does your landlord ignore your voicemails about the suspiciously large mouse hole in the bathroom? How much longer can you risk waiting to see if the squeaky floorboards in the apartment above you are going to give out under the weight of your neighbors’ waterbed and come falling through your ceiling? Now estimate the manpower required to pack up your stuff (including that couch that you’re not really sure how you got into your apartment in the first place). If the effort of the search and move is worth it to escape your current living situation (or if your just looking for a different view out your window), then its time to start looking. For some, this decision is forced upon them when your roommate and her boyfriend decide to legalize what they’ve been doing under your roof for a year and get married, leaving you with the decision to either pay $2000/month on your own, or find another place to live. For me, the decision came when I got my first winter gas bill. I live alone right now (unless you count my cat) and there was no way I was going to go another winter paying $200 bills on my own. So I reeled in a friend to live with me and now we begin the search.

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