September 30, 2008
At the beginning of the summer, DH was still waiting for an acceptance to medical school and we were beginning to worry. Time was running out and seats were filling fast.
But then, it happened. Just a month before class started, DH was accepted by not one, but two schools!! After contemplating this decision for awhile, we decided that the school in Florida was a better fit for us, so we hurriedly prepared to move our little family across the country.
The first thing I did to prepare for the move was try to secure an apartment in Florida. It was going to a be a little tricky since we neither had the time, or money to fly down to see any apartments in person before we moved. This was further complicated by fact that most of the rental listings were being facilitated by real estate agents instead of landlords, and that a lot of the properties were governed by Home Owner’s Associations with long application processes and strict regulations.
After having more than a few frustrating and fruitless conversations with Floridian real estate agents, I called a friend to vent. Like a good friend, she helped me calm down and have a few laughs. During the conversation she admitted that the first thing that would pop into her head when she thought of Floridians was, that they were… well, a bit dim. She said that this prejudice was primarily fueled by the “hanging chad” controversies of the 2000 presidential election and a scathing Dave Barry article. We both laughed at the absurdity of the notion, we knew there was no way that an entire state was full of idiots.
But over the next while, as I continued to correspond with various Floridian agents, I really began to wonder.
-Several agents couldn’t comprehend how I could possibly sign a lease without being there in person. (Ummmm, I could use a pen on a reeeeally long pole, since faxes and emails are for some reason unfamiliar to you?)
-One agent, knowing I was living in Utah, called me at 5:30 AM, as she was unaware of a time difference. (Making it worse, it was on a morning following an unusually late night, and I was really hoping to sleep in.)
-When we were trying to apply for an apartment we liked, the agent emailed me asking for proof of income/employment. I replied and explained that although neither DH or I would have a job when we got there, that we would have plenty of money available for paying rent with a monthly scholarship/stipend DH was getting and student loans. The agent replied:
“Without a job, it will be difficult for you to be approved. How do you expect your landlord to pay the mortgage, if you don’t have income to pay for the rent?” (You mean the landlord won’t let us live there for free? Also, it’s good to know that the money that comes from scholarships or loans isn’t actual spendable money.)
-During the application process for a different apartment, (with a totally different agent), the application asked for the make and model of our car. I filled in:
Make: honda Model: civic.
A few days later, after I had faxed our application to the agent, I got the following message on my answering machine:
“Hi Michelle, I received your application yesterday. Everything looks good, except that you forgot to fill in the make and model of your Honda Civic. So if you could call me back ASAP with the make and model of your Honda Civic, that would be great. Thanks!” (Oh, oops, did I forget that? It’s a Honda Civic Cadillac Escalade. Hope that helps!)
Despite the little bumps in the process, we were eventually approved for a great townhouse. We really like it down here, and now that I’m here, I’m happy to report that Florida is not full of morons.
So far, anyway. We’ll see how the election goes.