Started: Apartment Hunting in Athens

I felt that since today was the first day of July, it would be the best day to officially start looking for an apartment in Athens. I am thankful that the internet has caught on for real estate because now 50% of the work is sitting in front of a computer screen and clicking away half-mindlessly (as per usual). This post is going to be about the other 50% with which the internet (for all its infinite magic) will not be able to help me.

I found that 20% of apartment hunting was making calls and sending e-mails. This bit of apartment hunting sucks big time. I felt like a machine, with a fixed dialogue that I either spoke or typed. And knowing the internet, there is always one more apartment to look at, one more number to call, one more e-mail to send. It was tedious.

Admittedly, this image has absolutely nothing to do with what I just talked about but Google Images was failing me.

I also found that apartment hunting is 20% being nice to people. This is particularly important when you encounter someone rude, but more on that later. When you are looking for a nice place to live, you must give the impression of deserving that nice place. The people you are exchanging e-mails and calls with is never exclusively doing that with you, and he always has the option of giving the place to someone else, even if it’s for a small reason like you forgot to thank him for returning your call or e-mail (not that he would, but you never know). I should also say that most of the people you will talk to spend most of their day interacting with potential tenants, and it’s not easy. You are more likely to get the help you need if you ask for it nicely.

Being nice to people, however, can be really tough especially when they are not nice to you. I had the misfortune of talking to a man who got upset with me because I just wanted to ask about the property and was not looking to schedule a look-around. I was offended, but there was nothing I could do, but apologize (for wasting his time) and hope that I will be able to take my business elsewhere.

Top: What you should be telling yourself. Bottom: What you may be thinking of saying.

The final 10% in apartment hunting was patience. This is not only because not all your calls and e-mails will be returned, but because the perfect apartment may be difficult to hunt down. When I started, I had a list of 15 possible properties. By the end of the day, I had only one place that I genuinely liked, not loved. I guess that’s okay. The fun is in the hunt anyway.

I wonder how much longer it will take for me to find a place…

Do you have any tips or advice for looking for an apartment?


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