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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adventures in Craigslisting: S.F. Rental Market Edition

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Exorbitant is the new expensive.
  • Exorbitant is the new expensive.

For artists in S.F., life often revolves around a perpetual search for affordable housing. We cram into closets, turn kitchens into living rooms, and fudge the numbers of our "self-employment income" on rental applications, just to maintain our presence inside the borders of San Francisco. In all my time here I've only seen rents drop once, and that was during the first two years of the Great Recession. At the time, I was living in a bedbug-infested roach motel in the Mission District with four Guatemalan construction workers that wouldn't let me watch the TV, or use the living room. I saw my chance and jumped ship for greener pastures -- and now I have a pretty sweet deal. A sweet deal which almost opened up, when one of my roommates threatened to move.

See also:

The Big One Could Destroy SF Rent Control

The Artistry and Lunacy of Missed Connections on Craigslist

It turns out that listing an even moderately affordable room on Craigslist is an adventure, and I got some choice responses. Take this guy, who opens his e-mail with the subject line SULTAN OF MACEDONIA SEEKS ROOM. He goes on to tell us that:

Your dream roommate has arrived. All you have to do is click reply and type "You're in!"
If you'd like to know a little bit more about me, I've outlined a few stats below.
- Adventurer of the air, land, and sea
- Baby mama free
- Have a job (!)
- Have a car if you want to go camping or visit friends elsewhere
- LNDP (Late Night Dance Parties) to 90's Hip hop and R&B jams
- Loves to cuddle

Now, I'm all for roommates with jobs and a lack of children, but late night dance parties and cuddling? No thanks. Another one of my favorites was a category I called "gimme info." These were people who wrote about the room and only included one, unpunctuated or incomplete sentence like:

Is the rom still available?
the room is still available for rent and the conditions of the room.
Is there any parking space that I could park my car?

Folks, if you want us to write you back, you might consider including your name, phone number, or any relevant information beyond your desire to park. The worst type of e-mail was the rambling personal essay. These behemoths detailed every reason for moving, every reason they couldn't stand their current roommates, had a constant repetition of the phrases "basically" and "as I said," and wanted us to know that home is a sanctuary "but I'm not OCD." Then there was the just plain confusing, like the girl who opened her email with:

...for an internship in the amazing non-profit organization ------------.

With competition like this, I have to wonder why it's always been so hard to find housing in San Francisco -- even if rents are going up five times faster than the rate of inflation. As for me, I'm staying put until Google calls about that freelance blogger position.

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Devin Holt


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