Finding a home in Hood River – a backlogged story


Final Week of June, 27 & 28-June-2015

This is a post that I wrote right after moving to Hood River, while I was still moving into my new apartment.  It got lost in the stack of blog posts, so please enjoy this snippit of life in Hood River!

So, interesting thing. Hood River is not an easy place to find a house.

It’s a tourist town, is the first piece of information that’s key to this. The total year-round population is something along the lines of 7,200 residents… slightly different than the millions of people living in the greater Boston area year round. Granted, there are roughly 30,000 tourists in town at any given time during the summer…

So that’s when I found myself looking for a new, long-term lease. In the middle of tourist season, when everything is rented out, and costs are at a premium.

Not a good time to be looking. But I couldn’t help it, so I jumped right in as soon as I was settled into my short-term rental.

I asked around; talking to everyone in town who would listen.

I looked at the classified ads in the local papers, and I hunted down an online forum specific to Hood River.

I checked Craigslist, trying to sift through the spam and the dregs for something worth while.

I even visited a few real estate agents… and that’s when I realized one specific difference about the Pacific Northwest…

See… in New England, everyone works. All the time. It’s basically the point of life: to put in long hours, and then complain about it afterward.

Comcast has service calls every day of the week, and schedules them until late in the evening. Restaurants close at 01:00, and auto body shops open up at 6:30. Real estate agents show up to work every once in a while, and actually respond to phone calls.

That last bit is critical: I visited six agents, left voicemails for all of them, and even left physical notes for a couple. I bugged their secretaries, and stopped in during my lunch break multiple times.

“Ohh, sorry, they haven’t come in yet.” – I was told, at 10:00

“Oops, they’re out to lunch, just left” – I heard, at 12:15

“I’m so sorry, they just went home for the day!” – They mentioned, at 16:30

Seriously. Their work days seem to be 11:00 to 3:00, with a two hour lunch break in the middle.

Anyways. Craigslist held true for me. In Boston, I’ve gotten good places via CL. I’ve gotten furniture, sold furniture, and gotten jobs. In Hood River, I got an apartment.

I ended up looking at two places: A condo, and a small house. The house was bigger, and closer to the office – easy walking distance. It was also on a steep hill – the driveway would be murder come the ice and snow. But I’d be walking everywhere, so who cares? The condo was smaller and a little bit further out – biking distance, easily. And while it was at the top of the Hood River hill, the parking lot itself was nice and flat. And since it’s a condo, it would be plowed.

I ended up with the Condo – I kind of wanted the house, to be honest, but the owners were having nothing to do with my rugged good looks… and by that I mean that they thought I looked like a dirty hippy who wouldn’t be able to pay his bills. But I was okay with that – while the house was larger and had a yard / fireplace, it was also larger… which meant more furniture that I’d need to buy, and more space that I’d need to pay to heat.

In the end, things work out. I signed the lease two days before my Airbnb rental ended, and was able to get a bed and furniture delivered before I even moved in.

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