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finding an apartment

18 September, 2012

I may not enjoy the act of moving, but I do like the idea of moving to a new place, and the act of apartment hunting (except when I get attacked by fleas or cockroaches!).  And I like that the way in which one finds a new place to live varies a bit from location to location.

When I lived in Chicago, most of my apartment-finding success came from reading Craigslist ads or from walking/driving through the neighborhood I wanted to live in and calling on any places that had a “for rent” sign in the window.

We found each of our two Moroccan apartments by using a samsar, or a man who knows someone who is renting a place and, for a fee, introduces the apartment seeker to the landlord.  Our Fulbright director told us to go into the nearest café and ask for a samsar, and while I may have doubted the process initially, it worked surprisingly easily, even if the apartments we were shown weren’t always the nicest places.

In moving to Poland, The Husband’s coworkers told us that we would have the best luck working with an agency.  Here, you pay for the service too, but we ended up with the ideal apartment in the ideal location, and that’s a service worth paying for.

On our most recent move, after arriving in Murray in the middle of the night and waking up the following morning on a mission to find a place to live, I visited a few agencies and saw what they had on offer.  Given that school had started the week before, and that Murray is a small university town, the pickings were slim; the apartments that had not yet been rented were still vacant for a reason.  We had checked out Craigslist and a few other similar sites, but most of the postings were outdated, and we found the same problem with signs we saw posted around town.

It took three days down here to find and move into a new place, but we got there.  We just had to find a samsar.  I ended up asking the right person; she knew someone who knew someone who knew someone that had a vacant apartment.  And just like in Morocco, we were able to hire a couple of guys to help us move in simply by asking the right person and having a couple of d’s in our pocket.

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