It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New York City Apartments- We found one!

My husband just texted me the most beautiful photo I've ever seen: the keys to our brand-new (actually really old) overpriced and tiny New York City apartment. Whoo-hoo! It's finally here. After a month of tears, laughter and pain, we finally got accepted into the elite club known as Manhattan living.

For those of you who've been keeping up with this blog, you know that looking for an apartment in the Bright Lights of NYC was giving me sweatier 'pits than usual. Even though we seem like a stable married couple in our 30's, landlords considered us high-risk for a few reasons including our dogs (Chihuahua's are like politicians--some are noisy and annoying and give the rest a bad rep), my job (I work from home), and a couple of credit "issues." Let me just tell you that if you opened a Gap credit card in 2009 but forgot that you opened it and then moved so you therefore paid the bill a month late--New York City landlords will find out about it. (Totally hypothetical situation, of course.) I'm so glad I opted to never hold- up a convenience store or beat an ex-boyfriend, because that would have made the application process much trickier.

So because we were not ideal candidates for living in a basement apartment facing a brick wall (I mean, really?), we needed to find a co-signer. Can you imagine how awkward the conversation is when you have to call friends and relatives and ask if they make a quarter of a million dollars and have another 6-figures in liquid assets, and if so, if they're willing to turn over all their financial paperwork from the last year? It made me wish the process was this difficult for people before they procreated. We'd have a lot less stupid in this world. (But I would miss the Maury Povich show. That moment after the DNA test when Maury proclaims, "You are the father" gets me choked up every time.)

Now we just have to figure out how to stuff all of our furniture and clothes into an apartment that is half the size of our Chicago apartment. Any suggestions? We may have a repeat of the move-in disaster of 2009 when I exclaimed to Mike, "Yes, it all fits! We got everything into our 660 square foot apartment!" He then reminded me that we hadn't moved in any of his stuff yet.


Monday, November 19, 2012

New York City Apartments- Take Three

Enjoying NYC this weekend
Another New York City work day is coming to a close and people are busy scurrying home on the sidewalks, buses and subways. From our temporary apartment near Times Square, I can hear horns honking and people yelling. It's just another Monday.

But for us, it's another frustrating day of still not having a New York City apartment. We were supposed to have an answer on Friday on whether or not our application on a West Side apartment was accepted, but in New York landlord time, that apparently means you'll find out next Tuesday, if "yous is lucky."

From my previous two posts, you know how unbelievably challenging it is to find an apartment in the city. For the most recent application, we paid a $220 non-refundable deposit, turned in copies of our bank statements, tax records, letters of employment and more. Since then, we've also found a co-signer who's willing to show that he/she makes a healthy 6-figure sum and has another healthy 6-figures in liquid assets (beer doesn't count, unfortunately). We've also jumped every time they've asked for more paperwork, bank statements or a better explanation of our jobs (apparently just "being awesome" isn't enough).

And yet, nothing.

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering if it's because we're applying for apartments outside of our price range. Nope. In New York City, there is a strict equation you do where you add up your salaries and then divide by 40. That's how much you can pay. In fact, for two apartments we've put deposits down on, we went lower by about $500. (More money for shoes, of course.) I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that living in Manhattan is an exclusive club and we haven't yet been granted membership.

I have to say one enjoyable part of this experience is reading your comments to my apartment blog posts. Here are a few of my faves...with my reaction, of course...

"There's no crying in New York, so put your big-girl pants on."
Me: Um, have you seen The Real Housewives of New York? The fact that I've only cried once in three weeks is pretty darn good. And it wasn't because Ramona snubbed me.

"You can't afford the Upper West Side, you should try Brooklyn."
Me: We could afford the Upper West Side...until we paid $510 for deposits, $20 for a salad at Applebee's and $7 for Frosted Flakes.

"Do you write this blog to make your mother-in-law drink?
Me: Yes.

"You were overwhelmed by Chicago, so what makes you think you can handle New York?
Me: Well, luckily it's 5 p.m. an hour sooner here, so I can drink earlier. Plus, if I'm feeling overwhelmed, I can just give people the middle finger or tell them to F-off. Those are both accepted here.

"Hipster Chihuahuas blogging about their mom getting it together in Williamsburg [Brooklyn] might have potential."
Me: Love it! Can I charge them rent then?

Click here for New York City Apartments
Click here for New York City Apartments- Take Two

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New York City Apartments- Take Two

They say New York City is the concrete jungle where dreams are made. Well, apparently Jay-Z forgot to mention it's also the place that will make you cry on 57th and Broadway in front of your apartment broker.

As I mentioned in my last post, looking for an apartment in NYC is one of the most daunting experiences of my life. Sure, I knew beforehand the city was expensive, but I don't think it really hits a person until they're looking at an apartment that has views of a brick wall and vines growing through the window, and yet it's a cool $2,800 a month. (I know it's crass to talk about money, but a quick Google search will find you exactly what I'm talking about. Oh, and while you're at it, Google "worst jobs ever." It's pretty funny.)

Last week, we put a deposit down on an Upper West Side apartment that was small, but super cute. We kept waiting and waiting to see if the landlord was going to accept us, but we found out today that we got rejected. What we've quickly learned is that because the market is so competitive, and because landlords face tough laws which make evictions nearly impossible, they can reject you on anything. The way you look...the pets you have...your credit...the money you have in the bank...where you work...anything. Literally, if you had a late credit card payment six years ago, you are SOL.

So late today, our broker and I started looking again. We had much better luck than last week and we quickly found the most perfect NYC apartment in the cutest pre-war building with awesome views and lots of space. The only catch? (Again Jay-Z, did you rap about the catch?) It requires a co-signer who makes 80 times what our monthly rent is. That equals just under $250,000. A quarter of a million dollars! For a 1-bedroom apartment! You don't even want to know what you have to do for a 2-bedroom apartment.

So here we go again...the landlord is deciding whether or not he wants us and then we'll deal with the co-signer issue.

But wait a minute Alicia Keys, if there's "nothin' I can't do" in New York, then why can't I find an apartment? Perhaps you meant there's nothing I can't do if I have Grammy's and Manolo's Blahnik's, not Chihuahua's and Nine West flats.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New York City apartments

If you ever feel like you need to be put in your know, the kind of experience that makes you realize you really have nothing to show for your 34 years of life, all you need to do is look for an apartment in New York City.

Last week, during a day of nasty weather that turned from rain to sleet to snow in a New York minute, I joined our broker to look at apartments on the Upper West Side. It was, well, let's just say eye-opening. For a hefty price that is four times more than a mortgage I had in Indianapolis, we can easily afford a dark and dirty basement apartment with a view of a
fire escape. Or a brick wall. Or both!

Okay, full disclosure here. These are not photos I took. They are from Craigslist of other West Side apartments. But look!  For a cool $2,500 or more, you can easily get bars on your windows PLUS a large dose of Asbestos. Oh, and don't'll have a toilet, it just might be in the bathtub. (Keep scrolling down.)

Any of you regular blog followers know when I lived in Chicago, I complained about the high cost of living there. Ha! I hadn't see nothin' yet.
I told Mike that with what we paid there, we
could only afford a crack house in NYC. Actually, a 1-bedroom apartment in that crack house. Scratch that--we could pay for a "junior studio" in that crack house.

When we started, this was the criteria for an apartment:

* 1-bedroom, but preferably 2
* Outdoor space
* Lots of direct sunlight
* Washer/dryer
* Dishwasher

However, after talking with our broker who said, "Yeah, um, a washer/dryer is probably NOT going to happen," (It's a NYC anomaly) and after getting a healthy dose of reality, our list of must-haves changed to this:
* 1-bedroom apartment

Yep, that's it. All we ask for is a separate space with a door that seems like a must for any married couple.

Stay tuned to see where we end up....Connecticut, perhaps?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Presidential Election

Aww, yes. The day after the election, otherwise known as the day that you can slowly start to tolerate 50% of your Facebook friends again. What was with the political bashing going on? Clearly those people don't know my political beliefs are the only right ones. Wait, you feel the same way, don't you?

Last night, Mike and I decided to take advantage of our new New York status and we headed to Rockefeller Plaza to check out the political party. It was so cool! One of the first things we saw was the giant building with two  window washer scaffolds on the side-- one for Obama and one for Romney. Each time either candidate won a state, the men on the platforms would add the appropriate numbers to the front, and the platform would rise. When Obama's platform went up, people would cheer. When Romney's went up, not so much. It wasn't that there weren't any Romney supporters in the crowd, they just didn't want to show it. See, in New York, you're much safer coming out of the gay closet than the Republican one.

We could also see Brian Williams, Savannah Guthrie and the rest of the NBC crew broadcasting from the platforms above the crowd. I suddenly remembered how much I dreaded election day as a news reporter. Interviewing many politicians is kind of like interviewing used car salesmen. They tell you what you want to hear and you can't help but feel a little dirty afterwords.

Either way, I'm just glad it's all over. It's hard to believe two men are willing to fight so hard for the most thankless, awful job in the country.  Although, a quick Google search of "worst jobs ever" uncovered the profession of "Elephant Sperm Collector." Yep. And it's not just the collection that's needed, there's also a little, well, enticing involved. Don't believe me? Check out the YouTube video.