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Archive for April 27th, 2007

Another landlord flocks to craigslist

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Today, I took a brief departure from my 10-hour day of trying to do 10 stories and get on-the-record confirmation of the person who is about to be named superintendent in one of the districts I cover to look at an apartment.

When I moved to Lafayette, I had less than two weeks to find a place, move my stuff and start my job. Not a whole lot of time, especially when you’re dealing with places six hours apart and not a whole lot of money. So, I went for the simplest solution in a college town: I chose to sublease with college students.

As much fun as it’s been, I have to agree with what one of the editors I told my plan to said, “There’s a big difference between being 21 and being in college and being 21 and holding a full-time job.” Woah, was he right. This week for instance, I came home Wednesday night dead tired after working the night cops shift and ready for bed because I had to work at my normal morning hour the following day. Except, I didn’t get much sleep after I came home right in the middle of a party with, oh, probably 30 kids here. I locked myself in my room, put my iPod on and tried to fall asleep. This has become a semi-regular occurance. And I’d like to say my sleep deprivation doesn’t hurt my job, but it doesn’t help.

My editor laughed when he asked me the other day, “How’s life on Dodge Street?” And I said, “Life on Dodge Street is about to come to an end very quickly.” Apparently, “Everybody has the same idea when they first move here: go where the college kids are. It’s never a good idea.”

So basically, I’m in the market for an apartment. I looked online, at the local college student rental site and others. I looked on craigslist and I looked through the classifieds on my own newspaper’s site.

The apartment I saw today, I heard about on craigslist. Apparently, the landlord has been having a lot of luck with the site. So much that, he’s “going to repost the listings on craigslist, but I probably won’t be putting another ad in your paper.”

I said, “don’t tell me that.”

But, you know, and I hate to admit it more than anyone, I did find his listing through craiglist, though he apparently also ran it in the paper. I am turned off by many of the classifieds listed on the Web site just because they don’t tell me much of anything. Whereas on Craiglist I saw the photo, the map, the specs and more. I’ve come to expect that, and I’ve probably passed up some amazing places in the other listings that didn’t have those perks.

Personally, I think it has more to do with the audience he’s trying to reach: mostly students. Kids my age are much more likely to not only know what craigslist is but also how to use it and to not be afraid of it, the way older adults may be. I know a girl who found roommates in NYC — Harlem of all places — through craigslist and moved out there to sublease for the summer sight unseen. Now that’s more gutsy than most people I know, but hey, it happened.

I know there’s been a lot of hoopla about how craigslist isn’t killing newspapers. I’m not saying it is or isn’t. But it’s certainly putting a dent in those areas where newspapers traditionally dominated. And until newspapers figure out a way to do it better, they’re going to see more customers flocking to these sites. This landlord being the latest of the converts.