Thursday, 11 February 2010

An open letter to people who post housing on Craigslist.

Dear Craigslist landlord,

I have been frantically searching your well-crafted ads on essentially an hourly basis for the last seven days as I hunt for a suitable abode in Minneapolis.

I feel that in these seven days, I’ve become savvy with your lingo. I know that “garden level” is your way of saying I’ll be down in the creepy dark basement, nestled between the place where people store their Christmas trees and the place where people wash their dirty underpants.

I’m hip to your trickery. Like how sometimes you put things in the body of your post like “45 miles from the train that will take you to the busline that will eventually get you to Uptown” so that when I search for places in Uptown, yours comes up. EVERY time.

While I’m thankful for this free service that allows me to wade through hundreds of places that I would never even visit, let alone live, I have some tips that would make me, the Potential Future Tenant, very happy. If you are at all interested in achieving this, here is my advice:

Post a photo of the place. Unless you’re walking around with a circa 1993 car phone, chances are, you have a camera right in your pocket. Use it. Because if you don’t, the first thing I'm going to ask you is to please send a photo or 10. Because without photos, I assume the place doesn’t have a stove. Or a roof. Or that it’s under water. Or full of dead bodies. Or never even existed in the first place.

If you insist that I call you for more details, be around to answer the phone. Or maybe return a message. But also, consider this crazy thing most of us can do any time from nearly anywhere in just a few minutes time: email. I know. It’s kind of wild. But I think it’s gaining momentum. I believe my grandmother has even started using it.

Don’t say “we love pets” when what you really mean is that you will pay exactly $2,000 extra dollars if you own a pet. Because $2,000 is not really “OK” with me. $2,000 for your 500 square foot apartment that is already overpriced because it’s in the “trendy” part of town sounds like punishment. So maybe you should say something like “we’ll let you live here with your smelly little territorial mutt, but will do so grudgingly and at great cost, perhaps even peril, to you.”

And lastly, if the place has been rented, TAKE IT OFF CRAIGSLIST. It’s wasting everyone’s time if you don’t. Mine for calling. Yours for having to talk to me. (And I can be quite the talker. Especially when I'm "spite talking.")

But, if you don’t take it down and I do call, don’t act inconvenienced as if I should have magically known you rented the apartment three weeks ago to some lady with her 4 cats (that you charged her $8,000 extra for.) Because I didn’t know. I saw the ad on Craigslist and it said to call you.

Thank you ever so much for your consideration. Also, do you have any units available?