Rule #4535 to living an enjoyable life: never attend an open house apartment showing in San Francisco, always go by appointment.
All the things that make housing in San Francisco terrible (too many renters, rents too high, people going to extreme lengths to get a place) actually disappear when you look at an apartment by appointment with just you and the manager. It feels “normal” as if you’re just one person looking at one place and you feel like you can have the apartment if you really wanted it.
But an open house brings out all the worst things. Today I looked at an apartment during the 30 minutes (!!!) of open house time, along with about 20 other people. The place was perfect, except for the fact that it was infested with people that all wanted it too. Some were saying things such as “I can pay six months of the rent up front if you’d like,” and everyone’s eyes carried the same twinkle mine did. My competition lay all around me, dressed finer, smelling better, and looking more financially stable than I. I could tell all of them wanted the apartment as bad or worse than I, and I realized my chances of getting it are close to nil.
I would have much preferred to see the place by appointment, even if 20 other people did the same. Sometimes, it’s better that you don’t know what demand is really like.