For the past 9 years, I have moved around 3 different apartments in the South of Market neighborhood AKA SoMa, considered one of the least charming parts of San Francisco. However, it’s important to note that it’s situated right in downtown SF and for me, the convenience definitely makes up for the lack of charm since I don’t own a car and I prefer to go by foot—it embodies urban living at its best as it is in the center of it all. I do get to experience more of the *San Francisco charm* whenever I visit other neighborhoods like when dining out or enjoying some California sun at neighborhood parks or when I just want to explore more of this city.
If you happen to find a place in SoMa, you would be surrounded by tech companies and startups, hotels, the largest convention and exhibition complex, art spaces (actively rotating art installations) and museums, warehouses, loft apartments and condominiums, nightspots and movie theaters, local coffeeshops, dining choices from $ to $$$$, groceries and shopping, major transportation hubs and bike share stations. Hello, walkscore dot com!
Just like any metropolitan/cosmopolitan city, it has its own questionable areas and there are quite a few of those in the city－ where history meets today’s fast-paced world and have been forgotten. Right by my neighborhood in South of Market, I cross paths with them on 6th St. along Howard St., Mission St. and Market St.
6th St. connects to Golden Gate Ave. and Taylor St. of The Tenderloin neighborhood. This tiny big-city is so dense, the streets are narrow and the different types of neighborhoods jump from one to another within just a block or a few.
The Tenderloin (The TL) is decidedly known to be a –not so pretty- type of neighborhood. Though look closely and you’ll see a bit of history (or what’s left)… Arched windows that once had a view but now blocked by new towering condos/apts., old decorative gables that may soon be demolished, and many peeling walls waiting to be noticed by the ever so controversial rapid gentrification of San Francisco.
You’d be surprised to know that there’s actually lots of good places to eat in the TL. Even a couple of our fave gastropubs in town is in this neighborhood (more on that on upcoming posts!). As a city-dweller like myself, I find that it is quite essential to have ride-sharing apps. There’s no need to worry where to park and it’s safer than walking home at night.
If you’re a first time renter looking into moving here in San Francisco, I hope that you are not discouraged by that bit of information. I wanted to provide accurate info to the very best of my knowledge and include the (sadly) forgotten parts of the city…
Here are three major factors I’d look into based on both of my experiences as a San Francisco renter for 10 years and counting, and as someone who works in rental property management in Downtown SF (previously) + Sonoma Valley (presently).
- It is always important to visit a prospective place before signing a lease. I have encountered many prospective clients who were asking to sign a lease through our online listing yet they have not visited the apartment. This may result into issues upon move-in so never rely on pictures alone.
- As a renter, I have always found online review sites just as important when considering a new place. In addition to renters’ reviews, I also look into recent reviews of the management companies. This is important to me because I want to know I can rely on them as their tenant.
- Be very cautious with rental listings… As a renter, I have never encountered a professional management company who will ask for payment prior to meeting and looking at a place. I do extensive online research and make sure the listing is legitimate before making any prior commitments like meeting and ETC. The most common scam-y listings I’ve seen have the ff: false lower than average rental cost, description that does not provide their company name and local phone number, and most importantly, listings that ask for deposit or any sort of payment prior to meeting or viewing the place.
Apartment hunting can be tiring and frustrating especially in a densely populated city like San Francisco but I found it to be more exciting knowing that once I’ve gone through all the process of pre-move-in, having a place of my own will allow me to express myself through decorating and style, making it my own (to the very best I could as a responsible renter), and most especially hosting friends and fam!
I hope that you will also find the joy in a somewhat stressful task and more importantly, find a place you’d call your home sweet home.
Happy Apartment Hunting!