It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our new NYC apartment!

Hmm, that wasn't completely awful. I didn't cry once OR find new gray hairs. Did I miss something?

Mike and I signed a lease on our brand new apartment today, which we got approved for in approximately one hour. We didn't have to turn in last year's tax returns, we didn't have to show photos of us interacting with our dogs (that really happened), we didn't have to have a relative co-sign, we didn't have to sign away the rights to our first born AND we didn't have to pay thousands of dollars in broker's fees. We showed up and looked at the apartment, filled out an application, had our credit checked...and bam, we were in. It was like a completely normal process.

As I've mentioned before, last year's search for an apartment in Manhattan (albeit, right after Hurricane Sandy) was in the Top 5 most miserable experiences of my life. Between working with an inexperienced and completely incompetent broker, landlords who wouldn't meet with us in person but decided they didn't like us on paper, and getting rejected from several apartments, I felt like Carrie at the Prom. "They're all going to laugh at you!" And they did laugh.

But now, we're getting the last laugh because we're moving into our beautiful new pad! We decided to stay on the Upper West Side, which we love. We have east and south views, so that means plenty of sunshine, which the dogs will be oh-so-excited about. And are you sitting down? We also elevator! Central Air! A doorman! Washers/dryers in the building! No more schlepping 20 pounds of laundry 5 blocks away. Score. 

Here are some pics :-)  Now, who wants to help us move out of our 4th story walk-up?

Monday, October 14, 2013

New York City apartments

I can't believe it's been a year since I was crying on the streets of New York City. A whole year since I felt like I didn't belong and would never fit in. 365 days since I thought perhaps I would never be included in the elite group known as being a Manhattanite. I just can't believe it's already time to look for another apartment.

As Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and the City, "In New York, you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment." True dat Carrie.

You may remember how excruciating the apartment search was for us in the weeks that followed Hurricane Sandy. (Check out the blogs HERE.) Between the background checks, the grueling look into our entire financial background, the investigation into our dogs and just about every other part of our lives...we were finally able to move into our third choice-- a tiny one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of an Upper West Side walk-up with no elevator or laundry. In exchange for those perks, we instead got a super smelly woman on the first floor that I've literally called to have welfare checks done on, because I feared she was dead.

So now, after a super fast year, the search is on again. We have two things working in our favor this time: one, we're already in Manhattan. And two: we're able to increase what we're paying in rent, which is allowing us to look at some very nice places.

On Wednesday, I found the most perfect one-bedroom apartment. It's only a few blocks from where we are now, plus it's across the street from Liz Lemon's apartment in the show 30 Rock, so I felt like it was a very good NYC omen. It also had a huge foyer that could almost be considered a second bedroom. I was ready to sign on the dotted line, until I started doing the financials. In order to move in:

1) We would have to pay one month's rent
2) We would also have to pay another month and a half's rent for a deposit
3) We would have to pay the broker(s) 15% of an entire year's rent.

When I added all that up, I realized we'd be paying a cool $15,000 upfront to move into an apartment that's about 300 square feet larger than what we have now. Ouch.

You see, most landlords hire brokers to show their apartments so they don't have to do it. The brokers show you the apartment, turn in all your paperwork, and boom, they make thousands of dollars. It sounds like it would be a great career, right? Only there are so many brokers in this city, I have a sneaking suspicion that many are barely making ends meet. I now have them calling me day and  night, begging me to be "exclusive" with them. I feel like we should at least do dinner first.

So now we're trying to avoid the broker fees and just look at "no-fee" apartments, which includes many of the city's high-rises. I'll keep you updated. I'm even looking at one today that....wait, are you sitting down? It has a washer and dryer IN-UNIT! It's a NYC miracle!

Wish us luck! I really don't want to have a second mental breakdown.