I'll take it! I hope.
August 18, 2015 6:26 AM   Subscribe

I am moving from New York to Nashville to start a new job in a few weeks. I need a place to live, and will almost certainly not be able to get down there to see a bunch of apartments in person. Knowing full well that this is not the ideal way to find an apartment, how should I go about finding an apartment?

The super short backstory: I've lived on Long Island my entire life and have wanted out for about three years now. Nashville is what ended up working out, and I start down there the day after Labor Day. (The new place does not pay relocation for this position.

I've been looking at some apartments online, as one does, and I'm starting to zero in on what I'd like/should expect to spend. If they were local, the next step would be to set up visits. Because of some projects I need to finish before I leave, I'm only going to have a week and a half between my last day at this job (August 28) and my first day at the new job (September 8). There's also the matter of having a truck full of possessions with me; I don't expect there's any public place I can just leave a U-Haul for a few days.

All this is to say: I need a place to live and I know I'm going to be deciding on one more or less blindly. I know that isn't perfect, but if there's a better option, I don't know what it is. (Maybe one of you do!) What's the best way for me to do this with as little pain (now and for the next year) as possible?
posted by andrewcilento to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Rent a storage locker in Nashville, and move your stuff into it when you arrive. Find an extended-stay hotel, longer-term airbnb, or similar to stay in for a couple of weeks or a month. Then search in person, with the caveat that you'll be looking to move in quickly rather than, say, in a month.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:28 AM on August 18, 2015 [11 favorites]

The advice I've been given is to just look for a 1-2 month sublet and looking once you're a little settled instead of signing a lease on a subpar apartment. Craigslist or facebook groups are as good a way as any to find those.

Many sublets can and should accommodate your stuff, depending on how much furniture etc. you're bringing with you (if it's a lot, maybe rent some storage space).
posted by R a c h e l at 6:30 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing getting a sublet or other month-long accommodation. It may also make sense to use PODS or a similar service, if you can, rather than a U-Haul, so that you can easily store your non-daily-use things and then have them delivered to the new location, without having to unpack everything into a storage facility and then having to repack it, move it, and then unpack it in your final permanent location.
posted by jaguar at 6:37 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]

I moved from overseas to Knoxville a few years back, and did much like what Tomorrowful suggested -- I found the closest hotel to my office, called them and got a deal on a two-week stay, and did my apartment-shopping at lunch and after work hours.

Try to find a non-chain hotel -- Bob and June's Sleepytime Inn will be much more willing to take less money for a guaranteed booking, and probably more willing to let you park your U-Haul.
posted by Etrigan at 6:43 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would definitely try to not sign a year-long lease sight unseen. Nashville has a lot of terrible traffic so what seems like a decent location from afar might be a lot longer of a commute than you imagined. Also, most of what you can lease without being here will be in big buildings or complexes and IMO you can do a lot better quality and price-wise if you're able to put in the time to check out the listings of small-time landlords on Craigslist.
posted by ghharr at 9:05 AM on August 18, 2015

There are a bunch of decent extended stay hotels in Nashville, which as others have said is probably the best place to start. And if you can get access to the Vanderbilt list of off-campus housing for grad students it can be a gold mine. There are lots of landlords who only advertise apartments there because the tenants are easy, but it used to be that you needed a Vanderbilt login to access the listings. I'm sure it'd be easy enough to find someone who could download it for you, though.
posted by nixxon at 4:33 PM on August 18, 2015

I recently moved back to the US from overseas and landed a gig in a big east coast city. A few notes from my experience moving to this new (to me) city:

- I did some basic Googling about neighborhoods and areas I might want to explore (bars and restaurants are important to me, as was a public transport commute) and figured I'd want to use my temp housing experience to try out one of those neighborhoods temporarily.

- I thought about extended stay hotels, but there weren't any near my office or any of the neighborhoods I was targeting. They are convenient for this sort of circumstance in general, but I knew that by staying 25-45 min away from work I'd be highly unlikely to spend free time in the neighborhoods I wanted to explore. Rather than guessing that a neighborhood would be suitable, why not live there for a bit and decide?

- I used AirBnB to find some available furnished apartments, and some of the listings brought me through to a property management company with more listings than what they had posted on AirBnB.

- I decided to rent for a month rather than just a couple weeks as I knew my first few weeks in the gig would be pretty full on and I didn't want to be pressured to find a tightly scheduled afternoon off here and there to go see places. I figured a month would be adequate and it was. I had a lease signed three-and-a-half weeks in.

Good luck to you. For what it's worth, I kinda like the vibe in East Nashville if you're OK with embedding with hipsters.
posted by GamblingBlues at 5:06 AM on August 19, 2015

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