So a great deal of my time these past few days has been spent searching for the perfect apartment. The rental market here in Helsinki is not that big, and as such, competition is quite fierce. I went to my first ever public-ish apartment viewing last Thursday and it was kind of nuts. I'll explain:
First off, apartments are listed on several different sites. There is no master site that will give you all available apartments, all at once. Even some of the best sites don't have them all, and even though their engines are pretty good, their UI really isn't optimized to give you all results all the time (I realized from looking at the map-view of my current favorite site that I'd been missing listings all along *facepalm*). Second, public viewings are offered for some apartments, but they're only 15 minutes long. Meaning you better be there when the apartment agent shows up to open it, and you better be there on time, because it really will be open for only that long (really, truly). Third, at every viewing (assuming you did not get a private viewing, which is hard to get and you need to make an appointment with the apartment agent who is trying to lease it) most people it seems, will in fact apply to get the apartment, so you have a snowball's chance in hell of getting picked unless you're awesome (financially, employment-wise, or otherwise).
Luckily, I am one of those people. My work has graciously given me some papers which will guarantee me as a rental-awesome person (something something permanently employed by a real and large company, something something other perks). Swoot to the max.
So this week my calendar is filled with apartment viewings, since the beauties for May are finally starting to be listed. Wish me luck! I still need to strong-arm the competition out of an amazing place to live, and I intend to fully do so. Here are the places that I will be seeing this week (thusfar...and to give you some flavor for what the Finnish housing listings are like...btw if you use Google Chrome you can translate the whole page into English, which has been my savior):
(charming orange toilet!)
(oddly placed fridge but luxurious bathtub - these are totally a rarity in Helsinki)
(spacious and glorious...notice the strange small window near the kitchen though?)
(on the smaller side but very cute...really excited to see that shower stall)
The things that have been swaying me the most: neighborhood (location, location, location!), bathroom style (I never appreciated how much this meant to me until I moved here...entire blog entry coming your way on that super soon), size and awesomeness of kitchen, and general size of apartment overall. I am basically going from my townhouse down to something 1/4 of its size...I gotta make it work somehow.
Anyway, glory to all that I will find an exceptional place to live, and soon. Stay tuned!