Once it became more likely that I was going to stay in NC, I started spending a bit of time looking around online for a new place. There were some possibilities, but it's always hard to tell what the complex and neighborhood are really going to be like if you don't know anyone who lives there. And even though I could technically live wherever I wanted, I know this area and it's conveniently between friends who live in Raleigh and friends who live in Durham and Chapel Hill.
For the new job, I definitely needed a second bedroom or a den. Ideally, I will set up a dedicated home office and take the deductions on my taxes, but considering the amount of time that I like just hanging out online, I don't know for sure that that's going to happen. I wanted to try to find somewhere that wasn't too expensive, but most decent two bedroom apartments seemed to fall within about $50 of each other.
In the end, I've decided to move into a larger apartment in my current complex. It's not as cheap as some - my current rent is higher than most for a one-bedroom - but (1) most of the fees are being waived, (2) I'm automatically approved based on just the offer letter, and (3) they are having a nice sale right now, and my rent will only go up about $50 - that's for nearly 400 more square feet of space.
Here's the floor plan (ignore the prices listed - that's not what I'm paying). The smaller bedroom will be my office; it's nicely separated from most of the living space. I plan on putting my table in the dining area - and actually having people over to eat! And all the extra space (plus working by myself) means I am more likely to want to have people over in general. Even people from out of town!
I'm excited about the job, although just slightly concerned that I won't get a full payment until August. I should have enough in savings so it won't be a major issue, but things might be a little bit tight at first. I very much want a new cell phone, but that'll wait six weeks. There will be a housewarming in August as well, most likely.
Yay for things working out!