And the thing is, I always forget this. I always think that it's going to be fun and that I'll get to look at lovely places and pick the one I like the best. I don't know from whom I've gotten this naive gene, but I definitely could not have been more wrong. I think maybe I had one experience in Hartford in the early '90s where I got to see some really nice places, and I keep remembering that and blocking out all the rest of the awful ones, like the place with no stove or refrigerator (just a sink in the kitchen, and a line of people ahead of me who were nevertheless filling out applications), or the little claustrophobic crawl-space (I am not exaggerating or kidding), or the places that were obviously infested.
I always forget that looking at places to rent means looking at utter crap. I don't understand why it is that people would even show a place that is filthy. One Craigslist ad boasted about the jacuzzi in the bathroom, but by the time I made it through the stained-carpeted, dirty, bug-infested apartment that I was too polite to leave immediately, the thought of actually bathing in that tub made me nauseous.
The first house that I looked at wasn't bad - it was very nicely decorated and maintained. The rooms were too small for our furniture, though, so I couldn't even consider it. I was surprised to find that the homeowner had chosen to fill the master bedroom - which was quite small - with an enormous bed that made it difficult to move around the room. Whatever. It was nice, but not in a great neighborhood, and the "basement" was, in fact, a painted cellar. Not a place where I would want to spend much time. I don't like basements, and I especially do not like cellars.
Most of the rest of the places I saw were obviously intended for student housing, meaning that the landlords hadn't bothered to clean the place up (or get the tenants to clean it up), nor had they bothered to fix anything so that the place was in obvious disrepair.
Landlords: Treat your renters with some respect! Fix things. Pay attention to the outside of the home, as well. Make the house look nice. Don't assume that the renters won't notice. And please, don't bring me into a home if you haven't notified the tenants. It was really embarrassing to stand there while the tenant yelled at you for coming in without calling first (or even knocking!). And don't, in that case, tell the tenant that you disagree with his interpretation of the law. Just do the decent thing and apologize. You didn't impress me as a landlord when you surprised your tenant that way, and when you then chose to argue with him, you certainly did not make me want to rent from you.
Renters: Why is it necessary, when moving, to take all of your clothes out of the drawers and leave them in piles around the apartment? I don't need to see your underwear, nor would I want you, if you were coming through my apartment, to see mine. And never, in any of my moves, have I needed to put all of my clothes into little piles along the floor in order to pack them.
To that one very nice landlord who put up with Bean rampaging around the apartment: I am so, so sorry. He was supposed to stay in the car with my mom precisely so that that wouldn't happen, but he got out and followed me, and it was a busy street, and I was really stuck. You, sir, are a prince among men, and again, I apologize.