Looking for a new Apartment

Looking for an apartment? Don’t worry, there are nice ones, and if you have lived in Tokio, Paris, or Manhattan before, you will even find the rents quite affordable. Below are a few things though that many of us found surprising in their search of housing.

If you are expecting a heater below each window to keep the cold air out you might be disappointed. First, there is not so much cold air in California. Second, you often have a hole in the ceiling in each room functioning as your heater instead. The efficiency of a system of hot air (usually gas-heated) blowing from above is open to dispute with the warm air’s tendency to rise, but it is a convenient combination of heating and air-conditioning in one and can lead to surprisingly fast temperature adjustments.

For those used to hardwood floor and laminate: Carpet is the overwhelming choice in most apartments and it sometimes seems that the main economic factor of the Bay Area is not technology, but beige fluffy carpets. Hygienic standards were certainly not the driving force behind a development that culminates in carpet around the toilet. But it really keeps your feet warm and the neighbor’s noise level reaching you low.

Some good housewives will have a hard time entrusting an American top-loader with their laundry. It is true that it can hold an incredible amount of clothes at once and takes only 20 minutes to finish. But the eggbeater technology is a challenge to delicate fibers and many times clothes are losing color more than dirt. Good news: There are many outlet clothing stores in the Bay Area.

A last point for all those who like to cook: Kitchens are usually open towards the living room. This greatly fosters the social interaction of the cook with the rest of the party (and the olfactory interaction of the kitchen with the rest of the apartment).

Have fun and good luck looking for the apartment of your dreams!

Tips & Insights

  • don’t be surprised about renting prices in the Bay Area, you will get used to it
  • housing technology and interior might be a wee bit different than in other countries, just test it and enjoy

Julia from Germany, now living in Menlo Park

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