The Perils of Craigslist

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My family and I find ourselves suddenly in the market for a new dwelling. As mentioned previously, finding a cheap apartment in Baltimore isn’t as easy as it once was. But when you’re combing craigslist for a potential home, it isn’t just the scarcity of reasonably priced apartments that makes it difficult. There are at least three types of suspicious apartment listings that we’ve come across. And like a good American, I saw something, and I’m saying something.

Type 1

These postings never include a picture and usually go something like this: “2 bedroom, 1 bath, quiet neighborhood, no pets, call Tony (410) 555-5555”

Ah, Tony, a man of few words. But when he speaks people listen!

I cannot wrap my head around this style of craigslist ad. Does he think he is going to be charged by the word? Is this the same Tony you call when you need a fake inspection sticker? (“Oh yeah, you need an apartment? I know a guy; he’s cool. It’s totally legit.”)

If the guy can’t be bothered to write more than one sentence or include a picture to advertise the apartment what’s it going to be like when the furnace needs a new thermal coupler? Always pass on these.

Type 2

These listings are suspicious because they are just too good to be true. It’ll ask $750 for a three-bedroom apartment with central air, washer/dryer, and two parking spots in Roland Park. Often this type of post will go on and on about the location. I don’t even call to follow up on Type 2. I just assume the apartment has no roof and three inches of standing water on all floors.

Type 3

This is the listing that seems perfectly reasonable, but you can see that it’s been reposted ten times in the past three months. It’s better not to follow up on these apartments either. They are definitely haunted, and any interaction with the home or the landlord brings with it the risk of catching the unwanted attention of the wayward spirits.

So far we’ve found two apartment listings that fit our budget (and don’t fall into any of the aforementioned categories). We called on one of them, and our would-be landlady kept my wife on the phone for 20 minutes talking about how much she loves her son but doesn’t approve of his life choices. Uh oh!

Maybe we just caught her at a bad time. We’ll see how she acts when we view the apartment today.



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