Space! I've always preferred living alone. And lately, since I started working from home again, I've really felt the need for more room. (Fortunately, I got that loft bed last year, or I'd have no place to put my desk. Still, it smarts when I forget to duck.) The recent headlines about the lower rent prices in the city got me thinking maybe now was a good time. But there was a problem: No matter how slightly less-insane the apartment market was, I was dreading the hassle, only to get turned down on any decent place because of my (euphemistically labeled) "entrepreneur's credit rating" (business obligations before personal, you see) that I acquired years ago. So I wasn't even going to bother. But then...but then!: Yesterday, there was a moving truck outside our building. next-door neighbors were moving out, it seemed. Knock, knock. "Are you moving out?," I inquired. "Yes," they confirmed. "Tomorrow," they further specified. Hmmm, I thought. This may be my sole opportunity.

I called our landlord; he called me back later; we met there this morning. He said the place is mine if I want it. I said I did. Woohoo! I have my own apartment. No applications. No screenings. No references. No credit checks. No last-month's rent. Not even a deposit (for a month or so). And $300 less than the last occupants were paying. You can't do much better than that on a San Francisco move, me thinks.

It's not exactly an upward move, in terms of the place. I had considered getting out of this baby-stroller and dog-leash-ridden neighborhood. But you can do a lot worse than Noe Valley. The apartment is, literally, next door in the same building -- a mirror image of my current place. (I'll have to learn how to do everything backwards!) And it's still $350 more than what I pay half of now. But that's the advantage of staying put. And that's the cost of living along. But it's still 18% less than the average two-bedroom went for in Noe Valley last quarter (according to figures published in the Noe Valley Voice and supplied by the good people of RentTech). And it's got potential. The landlord said he'd paint, or I could paint different colors and just send him the bill. I chose the latter. He's also putting down new linoleum in the kitchen and back room. I'm a bit nervous about that. His choices for the new bathroom tile he chose last year were not exactly inspired. Maybe I can have some influence. But the rest of the place is nice hardwood floors.

Anyway, I'm excited. Jake (my current roommate), if you're reading this before you get back from the Ozarks, guess what? We're going to be neighbors!