When Free Rent Costs $3,000

Renting a dump? Maybe you can make a deal with your landlord. According to The New York Times, that's what San Francisco designer, Grant K. Gibson, did when he offered to renovate his apartment in exchange for two months' worth of rent. But what The Times fails to ask is whether the trade is worth your time.

Gibson's one-bedroom rental was a catastrophe. "The sea-foam green and lavender walls were peeling and trimmed in a clashing fire-engine red. The hardwood floors were ringed in stains from houseplants left to sit in puddles," he told The Times. Even though Gibson wrinkled his nose at the interior, the apartment's bay view and lively Presidio Heights neighborhood drew him in. So he spent more than $6,000 redesigning and renovating his apartment, incurring a 100-percent loss since two months' rent only cost $3,000. And we're noteven including labor costs.