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Apartment Hunting For Nerds

The very first budget I ever kept was at the age of 17, and it was developed not as a method to save money, but rather as an excuse to learn Excel. (It should be noted that I didn’t need to learn Excel for school; I just thought it looked like fun.)  Ever since, I’ve enjoyed the many practical – and occasionally extremely impractical – applications I’ve found for spreadsheets in my daily life.

Today, I’ve begun attempting to educate myself about the housing rental market in Portland.  With the move coming fast (less than three months?!), I figure it can never be too early to start looking around at what’s available, at least in general terms.  That is, I don’t assume any decent apartments currently on craigslist will still be available when we go looking in mid-June.

So, out of a sense of restlessness and stressed out impatience, I’ve decided to start looking for trends in rental rates (NERD!).  That is, I’ve set up a spreadsheet (NERD!) of apartments currently available in neighborhoods that [I’ve been told should] appeal to me, and I’m looking for average prices.  Since rent will be a big factor in where we decide to live, I want to collect a few weeks’ data (NERD!) to determine a general idea of which neighborhoods are expensive-but-awesome and which are cheap-but-horrible, and to find a nice balance between the two.

In all my raving about how much I love our current apartment, I neglected to mention that we live in an incredibly pleasant and culture-rich neighborhood.  It’s quiet and a bit family-oriented, which I don’t particularly mind since I’m not a big bar-hopping kind of guy anyway (umm…nerd?), and it doesn’t have much of a city feel…more like a bustling small town.  But we’re also nestled among an entire massive city with all the bar-hopping and noise-making opportunities we could ever hope for in nearby areas.

What I want is: a) to find a couple comparable neighborhoods in Portland; b) to know how much an average 2-bedroom apartment in such neighborhoods might cost; and c) to find a slightly-below-average-priced apartment in one of these neighborhoods, set up an appointment to see it when we visit in June, and keep my fingers crossed that the next year of my life will be as pleasant as the last one has been.

Now, I know I don’t have too many readers here, but if any of the couple dozen of you happen to know anything about Portland, Oregon, I’d love some input regarding my neighborhood search.  If, however, any of you care to offer advice on apartment searching tactics in general, I’d kindly request that you just keep it to yourself, because I’m already sunk too deep into the nerdiness of my hunt to acknowledge any simpler or more logical methods.

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