How to Land an Apartment in San Francisco

In the dog-eat-dog world of San Francisco, it’s not about finding an apartment (if you can afford the rent), but whether you can convince the landlord to pick you out of a stack of rental applications that read like Silicon Valley resumes.

As landlords, Dean and I found ourselves in the unenviable position of playing with housing destiny as our rental unit has recently become available. There were four very interested couples that were each so amazing that after every interaction, I told myself, “Yes they’re the one!”

We were so torn that Dean and I ended up rank-ordering each couple on our own, handed our list to the other, and laughed because our top pick was the same–whereas the other couples ranked differently on our lists. Dean said he felt like we were on a reality TV show. I agree, it was very Bachelor-like.

Now that we’ve gone through this and seen some incredible people, I know what it takes to be the top candidate on any list.

In this ultra-competitive market, let me tell you how to land an apartment in San Francisco.

1. Be prepared.

One couple nailed it with their preparation. They had a packet with their smiling faces on front including a brief summary. That summary included their places of employment and in parentheses their annual salaries. BAM! I know right away their names, where they work, and how much they make. Music to a landlord’s ears. In the packet, they had credit reports, offer letters, and a landlord recommendation. Hello! No need to fill out an application. They had every detail I wanted and more.

Do this. Put together a rental package and include W2s. Staple your business cards to the package.

While everyone else was wasting their time filling out an application, we had more time to chit-chat. Serial podcast? Bring it! You love wine? So do I! I LOVE YOU GUYS!

2. Have a connection.

Securing an apartment is akin to rushing the Greek System. You have to connect with the people in the fraternity/sorority otherwise you’re toast. Don’t just fill out an application, then leave. First ask smart questions about the apartment. Then talk interests. “The backyard is perfect because I can see myself out there barbecuing and drinking a glass of wine.”

This is the area where Dean and I struggled with the most because we had a connection with every couple. I especially liked one couple. She was from Beijing and he was from Shanghai, and the two of them debating the merits of each city (when I asked, “If I was going to China for the first time and I could only pick one city, which should I choose?”) had me cracking up. By the way, I’ve traveled to Shanghai and loved it, except for the fact that I got tea-scammed. Haha! They had a hoot over my story.

3. Be aggressive.

Be aggressive. Be be aggressive. And here, my friends, is why one couple landed at the top of both of our lists. Granted the texting and phone calls were a bit much at first; in the end, their genuine love of the place and willingness to commit could not be beat. When someone says they’re coming over with a check, I mean, you can’t turn that down! Kudos to them. We’re happy for them, but we would have been lucky to have any of these couples as our neighbors.

This whole process made me realize…well actually, I already knew this, but the process only validated the fact that there are really cool people living in San Francisco. Cool enough that after a 20 minute conversation, you want them to come over for BBQ and wine. This city and its inhabitants are the best ever!

Now go forth and find your happy place!

REJECTION!

There’s too much going on in my life right now to come up with resolutions. Besides it’s already the end of January! I’m barely keeping afloat, but there’s a philosophy for living my life that I’ve latched onto recently, so much so that I’ve decided to make it my word of the year: rejection. That’s right. I’m all about getting rejected.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve gotten so many job-related rejections which would be totally depressing if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve got four interviews lined up over the next two weeks. BAM! I’ve been talking about getting a new job for a while now since I’ve been in the same department for the past seven years. All talk, no action. The problem is, I actually like the work I currently do. I also enjoyed being a product manager and working for a startup…so I am just really confused and torn. I am researching career coaches and hoping to work with one soon, as I am at a major crossroads with my career.

Here’s what holds a lot of people back. They simply don’t ask. Want a raise? Ask! Want to go on a date? Ask! You’re a small business owner (i.e, blogger) and want to work with a major brand? Just fucking ask!

It’s not hard, it’s just that the majority of people fear rejection. If, instead, it becomes part of your mantra and every day, you set out on a quest to get rejected, then every so often, someone is going to say yes and you will be floored! If the blind squirrel can get his nut, you mindfully-advanced human, can have your desires granted.

This is probably my favorite of all TED talks. It’s given by Jia Jiang on 100 Days of Rejection. Changed my life.

Pictures from the Petting Zoo

Dean and I love all things animals. We adore the show Meerkat Manor and in fact, have a meerkat at home. She’s fake, of course.

One of our favorite trips was to Roatan where we got to hang out with so many animals, you’d think we were on safari. I’ve traveled this great big world and my best trip ever was to the Galapagos. If I could, I’d go back in a heartbeat to take selfies right next to tortoises and sea lions. They’re totally cool with you getting in their business!

So I’m pretty sure Franco is going to grow up just like his animal-loving parents, especially since we take him to places like Little Farm at Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills. The working farm is free and open every day of the year. You’ll see: goats, cows, sheep, pigs, rabbits, ducks, chickens, and turkeys. Bring lettuce or celery to feed the animals!

Franco is fearless. He kept hold of the lettuce even if the cows aggressively slurped near his hand.

Twinsies

On Tuesday I didn’t leave the office until 7:30pm, only to get on a conference call later on that night until 11pm, and then I checked my Blackberry every couple hours before returning back into the office at 4:45am. Good times, I tell you! Good times.

This is a quick post to let you know I’m still alive and hope to be back to my normal self and schedule soon. I swear I’m seeing stars as I type this right now. My pillow is calling me.

Check out these Christmas pictures of my baby and my husband. Unbelievable, right? There’s no denying who the baby daddy is!

Franco, at 7 months, is on the left – taken this past December at the Fashion Square mall in Scottsdale.

Dean, at 8 months, is on the right. Not sure where that picture is taken.

Don’t they look exactly the same?!

Addicted to the Podcast Serial

I have a really addictive personality. I’m cognizant of this, which is why I’ve avoided certain things in life, like cocaine. Friends of mine would tell me how addictive cocaine was and I knew it was a substance I needed to stay away from. I think they say sugar gives you the same type of high as heroin or some other illicit drug, which is probably why I’ve spent the majority of my life shoveling gallons of ice-cream down my throat.

A while back a colleague recommended that I try the video game Candy Crush. She gushed, “It’s so addictive.” Now why would I want to waste my precious time playing a video game?! No fucking way.

Recently everyone’s gone hog-wild over the podcast Serial. I figured I had to listen in since everyone’s talking about it and I didn’t want to miss out on the discussion. OMG. After listening intently to Episode #1, I was glued to my headphones for days!

A quick background on my relationship with podcasts. For the most part, I like podcasts, but they’re not easy to listen to. It’s hard to get them on my piece of shit Blackberry. Even if I am able to access them, sometimes my connection sucks and they don’t download. Podcasts have caused me a lot of pain and suffering. What I love about the Serial podcast is that you can listen to the episodes by going directly to the website. You don’t need to download a podcast player. You don’t have to have an iPhone or Android. All you need is an internet connection! They made it so easy to listen, not to mention the entertainment value, that I willingly punched in my credit card number when they started asking for donations to fund a second season.

Back to Serial. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, you need to pronto. Listen while you’re commuting or walking the dog or like me, strolling your baby around the neighborhood for the thousandth time because he won’t nap in his crib.

I’m dying to discuss. Can we please? I’m starting Club Serial, an online club to talk about the podcast.