New York City – Apartment Hunting

Up bright and early, always a bad sign for me.  To say I am not a morning person, well that is putting it lightly.  I don’t speak until after my first cup of coffee or 10am, whichever comes first.  8:00 am is not my friend.  But we are apartment hunting so I’ve made an exception.  I call my first realtor, Michael, I was going to say out of respect I will not mention the company he works for but I don’t remember the name of it anyway.  Well Michael doesn’t answer at 8am.  Grrrrr I could’ve slept in a little bit more?!  My hubby is a morning person.  He can’t sleep in, he thrives in the morning.  He hits the ground running and is a happy morning person, the worst kind of morning person. Ugh.  He suggests we go out and get some coffee and look for some pastries or breakfast.  Hmmm, doesn’t sound so bad after all.  Coffee is my friend in the morning.

At around 9am I get a phone call back from Michael.  I ask him where should we meet and he says, remind me again of what you wanted to look at?  Ummmm SERIOUSLY, I know this is a big city and everything but I talked with him two days prior, he set the appointment and time and now he doesn’t even remember me?  Coffee isn’t going to help me this morning.  So I tell him, we don’t have much on our list, safe neighborhood, around 1200 sq. ft., good schools and three bedrooms with one room big enough for a king size bed.  We our a family of four with two teenage girls. So separate rooms were a priority because the fighting that would happen with them sharing a room scared the hell out of us!  He then asks for our price point.  I’m ready to do my wheeling and dealing, I’ve been preparing for this for six months.  I know I can go as high as $3,500 a month (another side note, yes, your jaw can drop, yes, you can be outraged, why in the world would anybody pay that much to rent a tiny apartment in the city?  Adventure, culture, naivety, stupidity, craziness, a combination of all those.  I still ask myself that same question but just you wait there is so much more). But I don’t tell him that.  I tell him $3,000.  I’m holding all my cards real close to the vest.  He then proceeds to tell me that’s impossible, there is no way.  So I immediately tell him ok, just kidding I really have $3,500 (and all those cards just fell to the ground for everyone to see, poker player I am not).  I can hear my hubby groan behind me and fall back on the bed, you see my limit was $3,500, his was still $3,000 (which would be almost double our mortgage payment on our 22 sq. ft house).  I let Michael know that we have another realtor working on things for us also (more cards falling to the ground face up) and with the increase in money and extra incentive from competing realtors, I just know he will find us just the right place.  He then tells me that he can’t help me and if the other realtor has something I should go with them.  At this point, my street cred is rapidly running down hill and all I really want to do is give the phone to my husband to talk for me and make Michael find me a home.  But I am a big girl and I’m wearing my big girl pants today, so I ask him what we could get for that price range and he proceeds to tell me, well we could find you a one bedroom apartment in the downtown area, that could be “flexed” into a two bedroom.  I know what flexed means. I’ve done my homework! That means taking a living room or other small alcove of the apartment and putting in a pressure wall with a door.   So basically he could find me a “two” room apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom.  I know we can do better than that.  I mean I’ve been looking obsessively through craigslist and every apartment site known to renters in NYC.  So I thank him for his time and he tells me he will be around until 11 or so and if we want to see anything then give him a call.  So I’m thinking, hmmmm, he just doesn’t want to waste his Saturday showing us apartments, we are still good.  We just need to find another realtor or go see some apartments on our own.  It’s almost cute and endearing (words New Yorkers hate) how naive I was.

With the little spat we had the night before still fresh in my mind, my hubby says I was looking at apartments online and this real  estate agency works on Saturdays.  I look over at his laptop and the agent is a cute little perky 20 year old.  Not the respectable person that I had so carefully chosen that completely ditched us.  So I said in a voice a bit to harsh, call her and see.  Of course she answers, of course she can help, she is in her early twenties trying to make it in NYC.  Of course she has to work Saturdays and Sundays.  He plans to meet her at her office at 11am.  Took me 6 months to make an appointment with a realtor, he calls and makes one the same day (bitter party of one, your table is ready).  We head over to Shaylee’s office and she is there and has print outs of actual apartments, and yes she is cute and perky but she reminded me of my younger sister with her can do attitude and willingness to help, so my frostiness was fading quite fast.  The printouts that she printed (we gave her the same list as Michael) we all above our price range, beginning at $3800.  My husband who was at $3000 in the morning was realizing that even my $3500 was not going to cut it. We agreed on what apartments we would look at that day and then she had another person in the office feeding us new listings as they became available. And if needed she would meet with us tomorrow.  I liked that if needed part, sounding positive.  We were getting somewhere.

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