Real House Hunters of Boston

You’ve seen the TV show, right? There are marathons on HGTV all the time. House Hunters, where a flustered couple or individual meets with a real estate agent or leasing consultant to find their perfect home. The catch is, they only get three options, and they have to make their decision really fast. When watching this show, I’ve always asked myself: What’s the rush? How are this many people in such a hurry to move that they limit themselves to 48 hours and three options?

Obviously, it’s a TV show, and it’s edited and presented to us in a concise little package to make you think that people really pick out homes like this. I never actually thought house hunting was like this. UNTIL IT WAS.

Like I said before, on January 3 we took the plunge and started looking for apartments, mostly on Craigslist and Padmapper. It went a little something like this.

Me: Hi, I’m wondering if this apartment is still available and how quickly we could move in. Thank you!

Everyone I wrote to: Yes, it’s available, and you can move in immediately. When can I show you the place?

Within a few hours, we had four viewings set up with four different leasing agents over the next two days.  Jon saw one of the apartments on January 4 and ruled it out pretty easily without my input. So we were down to three. This was starting to get seriously House Hunters.

Esplanade in Back Bay

Esplanade in Back Bay

Apartment 1: Located in Back Bay, the couple’s ideal neighborhood, this apartment is the largest and most expensive of the three. With built-in shelving units and plenty of closets, space is not a concern in this 19th century beauty. But they have concerns about living in a garden-level apartment, particularly the lack of natural light.

Apartment 2: Sitting on the edge of Beacon Hill, this apartment’s selling point is certainly the roof deck with views over the city and nearby river. It also falls perfectly into their price range and boasts a convenient downtown location. However, it is also the smallest apartment of the three with very limited storage and a tiny bathroom.

Apartment 3: Also located in Beacon Hill, this unit is tight on space but generous on style. Small closets and lack of outdoor space are made up for with hardwood floors, large windows, and eat-in kitchen. While the lack of storage would take some getting used to, this apartment does fall comfortably into their budget.

State Building on Beacon Hill

State Building on Beacon Hill

We saw all three units on the morning of January 5, and then the two of us went to a Starbucks on Beacon Hill to talk through our decision. First we both said which apartment we would rule out first — we both said Apartment #2. (See? I’m telling you this was EXACTLY like House Hunters.) So we were down to just two. What would it be? The spacious apartment in our dream neighborhood, or the smaller unit that fit more into our budget?   ***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

Our new door, a few weeks later in the blizzard

Our new door, a few weeks later in the blizzard

Will, which one was it? Apartment #3, of course! We decided that we both valued the comfort of being well-above ground more than the convenience of big closets. So after smiling nervously at each other for a little bit, we filled out the application for Apartment #3, called up that leasing agent, and handed her our application. Just a few days later, we signed the lease, and on January 11 we moved into our new home.

Marshall extremely eager to get his couch back

Marshall extremely eager to get his couch back

So that’s it. That’s how to find an apartment in Boston in three days (do it in January), and that’s exactly what it feels like to be on House Hunters (minus the cameras and the fame, if you can call that fame). Despite the frenzy of the entire situation, I feel incredibly lucky to have gone through the experience and come out better on the other side. Home sweet home, finally.


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