San Francisco Renter Profile – Seeking a Landlord-Owned Building and Easy Commute

Meet Pursarth Tuladhar, our Product and E-Mail Marketing Manager. Before he made his cross-country trip to join us in San Francisco this past May, he was living in Jersey City, NJ. I sat down and talked to Pursarth about his apartment hunting experience in the city, and here’s what he had to share.

Renter Profile: Pursarth Tuladhar
Current Neighborhood: Glen Park
Top 3 apartment qualities: Easy commute, 2 bedrooms, and in-unit laundry.
Tools used to find an apartment: Zillow, Craigslist, LiveLovely

TorbakhopperView of Glen Park by Torbakhopper via Flickr. 

You bought yourself a few months of time before moving into your ‘official’ apartment. How did that work out?

When I landed here in May I booked a place off Airbnb first. That didn’t work out because the apartment didn’t look anything like the photos. I ended up getting a random place through Craigslist, which bought me two months. I wasn’t looking to sign a lease until July 1st, so it gave me a month to bounce around to see what I could get for my budget in a specific neighborhood. I went to a lot of showings, and that gave me an idea of what I could get for the price.


How did you kick off your housing search? Did you start really early? What sites, broker services used?

I used Craigslist and LiveLovely. Before I moved out here I used to Zillow to browse. I used Craigslist because I could just sit there and hit refresh since it was updated so often.


What was the biggest challenge apartment hunting in SF?

My main criteria were to be next to BART stop and corporate shuttle station (my girlfriend commutes to South Bay), with a garage since I have a car. It was hard to find a place with all three – places with that combination were beyond my budget. Some of the showings I went to had 40 people coming to look at the apartment. The broker had to play bouncer because it was a fire hazard to let that many people in. And in his hands was a huge stack of applications, and you’d just add yours to the pile and hope for the best.


How did you figure out which neighborhood you wanted to live in?

Airbnb has this really cool description of San Francisco neighborhoods that was helpful. I was on Quora a lot, there are lots of resources and people asking questions on there. There’s a map I saw that compared New York neighborhoods to the ones in San Francisco.


What qualities were you looking for in your apartment?  

We were looking for a 2-bedroom apartment so we could have guests, and having a washer and dryer was important. The apartment we signed a lease for had everything except the washer and dryer, but I liked how spacious it was and the way it’s laid out.


Did you have a preference for a large apartment complex or small landlord-owned building?

I was more looking at small landlords. I didn’t like the idea of living in a big building so I avoided that. I wanted to look at 4 to 5-unit apartments or a small house.


What was the determining factor that helped you settle on your current apartment and sign the lease?

The reason we ended up in Glen Park was because it was a 20-minute commute to work and a 5-minute walk from the BART station, so it worked out just perfect. I had a conversation with the landlord and she was really nice and seemed to like us, and she ended up holding the apartment a day for us – that really helped.


Favorite thing so far about living in your neighborhood:

There’s a park, Glen Canyon Park, nearby. It’s a 10-minute walk and it’s a canyon. It’s cool to be able to be out there and get away in such a short walk.


Your best advice for other renters looking for a place to live in San Francisco:

Start early and go to as many showings as you can, even if you’re not actually looking to sign a lease. That way, when you actually sign you know what you’re getting into. It gives you a lot of context. If you’re renting from smaller landlords, it helps to talk to them and establish a connection. When you deal with a broker, it’s just a transaction. The landlord owns the building and is more concerned about getting a good tenant, while a lot of brokers don’t care.


Anything else?
Drive across the country. I did it in 8 days, it was a lot of fun. I’d move back to New York just to do it again.


If you’d like to read another San Francisco renter profile, find out how James Gold’s apartment search landed him in the Alamo Square neighborhood.