The husband and I have done a lot of apartment hunting in our time together. A little over a year after we were married, we even looked at a house or two. Since then we have moved way far out this way and now we have a dog and a kid to plan for, but we still know what we need and, somewhat less important, what we would like in a home.
The condo with the green dining room ceiling is the sort of place that any friends or family would look at and say, “Yep, that’s them,” so we applied for it, and now the wait begins. Again.
Apartment hunting around here is a new game. Back in the old days, in the old home state, if you wanted an apartment you applied for it and the only real question was, typically, when you could get the keys.
Out here, apartment hunting is a competitive sport. It’s not enough to have good credit and a security deposit, you have to be the first to apply, the first to drop off said security deposit (only accepted in certified payment format, such as cashier’s check or money order, which means a trip to your bank or the grocery store, the latter often requiring that you hold that $1,500 cash in your hot little hands), the best at making sure the realtor has all your information to “help make a decision,” the most excited about the place when you do view it in case you decide later it’s what you want after all, and hopefully no one who knew the owner in college has a neighbor whose kid’s best friend from growing up is looking for a place in DC because then your only chance of getting the place, with that wrench thrown in, is if The Other Person works part-time for a small community organizing group. That’s where working for the big guys weighs in your favor.
Also, being married helps, as does a willingness to sign a long lease. Like, two or three years.
So yesterday afternoon we dropped off our application for a two-year lease at this wonderful little place and today we woke up early to get all of our ducks in a row to do battle with our credit unions, one of which has very stringent lending/debit requirements and is out-of-state, and the other of which is right here but in which account we keep exactly $65. The application fee alone is $80, and that’s cheap.
Yesterday we talked through all possibilities for getting the money from the out-of-state account into a money order in Virginia. We could…
1. Go to Wal-Mart and see if they would give me a money order using my debit card which we run as credit and is attached to the account with all the money. But they require a PIN-based debit and again, we run ours as credit for added security.
2. Call the out-of-state credit union and find out if they will issue a PIN over the phone. Although I tried that two years ago and not only will they not issue one, you have to make the original request for a PIN in person. 800 miles away.
3. Go to the local credit union and see if they can call the OOS credit union to transfer funds so they are immediately available. This seemed dicey at best.
4. Go to the local credit union with a check written to ourselves from the OOS account and see if we can deposit it with no two-day hold on the funds so we can get a cashier’s check rightthissecond. We thought this would be our best bet.
5. Go to the local credit union with a check written to ourselves from the OOS account, cash it, and take the dollars to the grocery store. This was a close second.
6. Find out if the realtor will accept a PayPal payment. They don’t.
So this morning the husband and I drove to his work together and from there traipsed along to the credit union to see what they could, please oh please, help us with so we could be the first ones to get our security deposit to the realtor in Alexandria.
Well. It turns out that none of our 6 Main Plans (with variations of each upon which I did not expound here) was necessary. We strolled up to the teller at the local credit union, told her our situation, and asked if we could deposit a check from one CU to the next, and have the funds available immediately.
She did us one better–turns out our two credit unions do shared branching, which means they can provide services to a member of either CU as if that member is standing at the CU he or she is a member of. Follow that? Since we are members of both, she typed in both account numbers and had two cashier’s checks printed for us in less than five minutes. No transfers, no phone calls, no checks written to ourselves, no holding of funds. She stamped our certified funds, put them in an envelope for us, and sent us on our merry way.
With the checks safely delivered to the realtor ahead of other interested parties (I hope–it was 10 am on a Monday, and we were the first to drop off an application at 2 pm on a Sunday) now all we do is wait and trust that as quickly and smoothly as everything has come together so far, we will get the right place for us at exactly the right time.
But I still really want it to be the condo with the green ceiling.