Apartment Search: Day 1

All four of the people I emailed about apartments last night got back to me today. I saw the first one at 10am – a quirky 1BR in a well-maintained building in Hell’s Kitchen, $1850/month and willing to lock that for 2 years. Unfortunately it was too far west for my business needs…though really, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m even still in business. Let’s not go there. I absolutely love 100-year-old tenement buildings – the architecture and “renovations” bring back my few good memories of living in Edinburgh for 8 years. There are no right angles, the doors have been moved half a dozen times, there are bits of wall in weird places…I love imagining it’s original layout and function. I’d have had a LOT to work with in this place. And it does have quite an excellent “room” for massage. But I must keep reminding myself that it’s one avenue too far, one avenue too far. Still, that didn’t stop me from checking the basement for signs of rodents. It was pristine. The entrance and common areas weren’t great, but they weren’t awful either. I really wish I had someone to come along with me for a second opinion. Remember, I like weird buildings but I need to know if it’s too extreme.

At 11:30am, I saw studio apartment for $1750/month in the PERFECT location…but it was on the small side, the kitchen was one wall of the apartment (and I’m not sure if there’s enough room to put a breakfast bar as a divider), the hallway was nasty linoleum and crumbling windows, and there were signs of weirdo neighbors – they all “stored” stuff on their doormats which were very, very telling. Like the person across the hall probably had a dozen cats, eww. But if I had to make a decision today, this would be it.

At 3:45pm, I had my first bait-and-switch experience with an a wannabe actor – I mean, real estate agent. An apartment that looked just like the one I’m in now, exactly where I pictured moving, maybe a little bigger, for $1795 somehow got rented in the 3 hours between making the appointment and the appointment. Bull. He started to take me to a great building on 9th Avenue and I stopped him – why torture myself and waste both our time. So we went to see 6 apartments in a rabbit hutch on 58th & 6th. That’s the best way to describe floor upon floor of 400 sq ft apartments, some with a partial wall to make it a “junior 1BR” (for which you pay a $200 premium), some without.  I actually kind of liked one, but…rabbit hutch. And 58th Street is one block below the bottom edge of Central Park, which means my catchment area to the north is truncated.

So tomorrow morning at 9:30, I’m meeting with yet another real estate agent, this time at his office. I don’t like that idea, there’s usually pressure to sign some kind of exclusive agreement and that ain’t happening. I was very specific about the area I intend to move within, and his office is actually 4 blocks down the avenue from me. And since he knows what property I was initially interested in, he can extrapolate my price range. Even if it all turns out to be a waste of time, heck, it got me up and moving….mm, which could just mean that the day seems really long if I get no business.

Speaking of which…it should be interesting if I see a surge the rest of the week. When the Dow drops, I swear you can see tumbleweeds blowing through my soon-to-be-abandoned apartment. When the market perks up like it did today, I manage to earn a crust or two in the ensuing short-lived euphoria. I still think my location is ideal for being a work-at-home massage therapist, but with everyone’s psychological state (because it’s the uncertainty and foreboding that’s killing us, not the lightness of our wallets as yet), I’m not sure I’m getting any more business than I would if I set up shop in the middle of the Hudson River. It’s really not fun trying to think medium-term when the outlook for the short-term is fairly dire.

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7 Responses

  1. Ugh, hope you have better luck tomorrow.

  2. Geez, Rich, I only published this 8 minutes before your comment. It’s like you’re waiting with bated breath!

    I hope I have better luck tomorrow too. I’ve got the unpromising morning appointment, and I put out four more email enquiries tonight.

  3. I HATE apartment shopping with a passion…and I live in a relatively moderate state so my prices are crazy like yours! I think I’d swallow my tongue if someone here asked my to pay roughly $1700 a month for a rabbit hutch! I like my 900 sq. ft for $700.

    At any rate, every time I got apartment hunting, I look into a locator or real estate agent in the hopes that they’ll be able to lead me to a good deal, and yet, every time I walk out feeling like I’m being pressured. One situation was actually pretty scary. I went and saw this apartment complex with the woman and as we were leaving, she took too long to pull out of the complex driveway and someone behind her honked. The woman threw the car in park and actually got out of her car to go “speak” with that person. She must of had a crazed look in her eyes or something because the people behind us whipped around her car and took off, with this woman flipping the bird after them. Yeah, that effectively ended any business arrangement we would have had.

    I hate shopping for apartments! Good luck to you!

  4. Hey, no disparaging remarks against people who own 12 cats! Just kidding. Good luck with your apartment hunting but more so, I’ll be praying for more business your way.

  5. oh man how i miss those days living there! (being serious too, not sarcastic) . i once checked out a studio w/ 1 communal bathroom for the ENTIRE level!!! there were crack needles and graffiti all over – no joke. but, the location and price was brilliant! $700/mo…whew…..what a crap-hole.

    (and on a side note, i actually met my 3 future roomates while checking out that place when we realized we could all split a 3 bedroom and live in a much better one together! a bit strange, but it worked out perfectly)

  6. New York is completely flipping INSANE. I moved from the uber cheap Midwest (most I ever paid for a 1 bedroom: $375) to the fake tit LA area, where the median price for a 1 bedroom is $1500. But at least you get a decent amount of space for that $1500.

    Thankfully, I totally lucked out. Large, fabulous studio in an old building (no two apartments are the same! They don’t build them like that anymore) in walking distance to everything with the ocean in my backyard for (wait for it)–$695.

    So, I’m sending you California homo and commie loving vibes for an inexpensive, fabulous apartment of your own. Can you feel it?!

  7. I had to love that too about LA. I recall what locals would think as ‘crap’ I would find pretty decent and great if it was in NY. I miss my old place in LA.

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