I recently moved.
Spoiler Alert: I’m so glad I did. My girlfriend and I are so much happier in our new place. But good God, was it awful.
Let me take you back two months ago.
We get our usual end-of-the-month rent bill for our 1-bedroom in Hudson Heights, Manhattan. It has suddenly jumped $150. Whoa, we say. That’s crazy. What’s going on here? After a few days of sulking, I picked up the phone and called the management company. I say we have a lease until the end of September. What’s up here?
Nice woman tells me that the landlord is raising all the rents because he is unhappy with the job the management company has been doing the past few years. Oh, and by the way, there are NO MORE LEASES. Everybody’s month-to-month all the time. No renewals. So this is the deal. She’s very nice and says that I can pay the old rent for September, but then I’ll need to talk to the landlord to discuss options.
We wait it out, and finally get up the nerve to write this eloquent email wherein we describe the awesome tenants we are, how we’ve saved them money over the years, how our apartment isn’t worth that much because it’s so old, and we even give new suggestions on how to structure a new lease for us. We hit send.
I’ll never forget where I was when I got the landlord’s reply. I was in the American Museum of Natural History, in the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians. I was sitting on a bench beside the reticulated python case. That’s where I was when I read that the landlord “withdrew” the offer of the increased rent and asked when we would be vacating.
Now we began that ever-exciting apartment hunt. Only one caveat, though: my girlfriend was out of town doing a show across the country and wouldn’t be back until the end of the month. So it was all on me.
Apartment hunting is an introvert’s nightmare. You have to search online for listings that interest you, then reach out and contact people who will show you these listings. Usually, no matter the method of initial contact, these people want to CALL you back. UGH. Then, once an appointment is made, you have to go to a strange new place and meet a strange new person who’s going to evaluate you and watch you as you shop for a place to spend most of your waking hours, a place to call your own. It’s not that fun.
Eventually, though, I found a place that I liked. I went home, called Becca, and said let’s put in an application on it. She said Great, I trust you, and we did. That was Sept 30.
We were so happy! We had found a place, had an application in, and we still had an entire month before we needed to be out of the old place by the end of October. We had no worries that the application would go through. Although both of us are artists and our own income is piddly, we have wonderful guarantors (read: parents) who have excellent incomes, and all of us have great credit. Huzzah.
We began sketching out floorplans for the apartment, figuring out where everything would go. Becca came home and we did more of the same. A few days passed. Why hadn’t we gotten an answer on that application? More time passed. And more time passed. Our broker, sweet woman that she was, kept querying the landlord, asking when an answer would be given, but always the same response was given: “it’s on the owner’s desk, he’ll get to it.” But didn’t they want people in that unit? Didn’t they want rent? Also, we only had a month left! We needed to get in someplace! Ack!
We decided to look at more places. Not really to any end other than perhaps giving ourselves a back up should this one not go through. We put in a second application with that same broker.
The next day, we heard that second place had just been rented. Boo.
Also, still no answer from first place.
We branched out, talked to more realtors.
Then, magic happened. We found it – the perfect place. Terrifically underpriced, beautiful views, all amenities present, it was a dream. We immediately put in an application.
Sorry first broker, we said, we don’t even care what that landlord’s answer is. We found a new place. Your place is now our backup.
The next day, first broker said the landlord denied our application. Too little income, out-of-state guarantor, and WE WEREN’T MARRIED. Ugh, we said. Good riddance. At least we have our dream place.
I’ll never forget where I was when I heard back about dream place. I was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in the European Sculpture Gallery. I was standing in front of a rather pained-looking bust of a man’s head when I got the text from Becca. We didn’t get it. There was an application put in JUST before ours. (Which is saying something, since we put it in the night we saw it, the day it came on the market.)
Now we had nothing. NOTHING. No first choice. No back-up. And we only had half a month left.
We met with more brokers. Most showed us the same things we had been seeing for the past month. Because, of course, while we were waiting those first two weeks of the month, all the other stuff was being shown and snatched up while we sat there nice and safe.
Broker from dream place showed us another one. HUGE! We’ll take it!
Hours later – Sorry, there’s an application in on that one.
So we make more appointments, see MORE places.
Eventually, we found one that seemed like a fairly innocuous listing. Didn’t seem like anything special. Broker was busy, couldn’t meet with us, but sent us to the building and super would let us in.
Went to building. Nice street. Quiet. Same neighborhood we love. Oh, is that a park across the street? Nice super. Takes us to the apartment. Still being worked on. But it’s big. And what’s that? Everything will be brand new? All appliances and fixtures? What’s that? A ton of sun?
We’ll take it.
Application put in.
Two days later, accepted.
So now we’re here. AND WE LOVE IT. So glad we ended up here.
Dear readers, this has merely been a quick blog-post version of the craziness that was this ordeal. If ever anyone wants to buy me a stiff drink, I’ll go into the full story. That version includes asshole landlords belittling me over email, trying to get me to pay money that the lease specifically states I don’t have to pay, other landlords asking for everything but our firstborn child in order to complete an application packet, monies flying from account to account in a desperate attempt to get certified checks for deposits and application fees, virtually stalking brokers by eating lunch outside their office hoping that they’ll call and we can just walk up to sign a lease, internet service providers totally screwing up transferring our service and deleting our entire account, brokers and movers calling at all hours of the day and night trying to get our business, outright lying to us then apologizing when we caught them in said lies, strange Australian women showing us crappy apartments that she said she’d love to live in all the while taking a phone call from an unnamed “celebrity” with whom she’s working, getting a letter notarized that says that my girlfriend does in fact live with me even though her name is not on any utility bill, and DRINKING A LOT OF WINE.
But we’re here now, so none of that matters anymore. 🙂