Thursday, July 20, 2006

New York Bound

Our trip was successful, but we paid the price in many ways. It is not wise to look for apartments on one of the hottest days of the year, but we had little choice. With only two days and scheduled appointments we toughed it out and we were rewarded.

I hate apartment hunting - it is one of the things that stresses me out the most. Moreover, I really don't care for those who work in the real estate business - just too many bad experiences. Unfortunately in NY you really need to work with a realtor because landlords rarely rent directly to tenants. There are good things and bad things about this.

The good:
  • The realtor sorts through all the listings and shows you only the places that fit your criteria: location, price range, accept dogs, size, etc.
  • You can see a lot of places in a short period of time.
  • The realtor can somewhat tell you about the neighborhoods, transportation, etc.
The bad:
  • Some realtors can be pretty slimy and unpleasant.
  • You pay! The realtor charges 15% of a year's rent! It really hurts to pay that much, but there are few other choices in NY. We also did not have much time to look and to try to beat the system.
Before we left on Sunday, I had set up a meeting with one realtor on Monday afternoon, one on Tuesday morning, and one on Tuesday afternoon. On Monday morning we had to go to Sara's work because she had to fill out some paperwork. Then in the afternoon we looked at four different apartments. The realtor turned out to be this young Euro-Mutt gay guy. He was fairly nice and kind of funny.

As I already mentioned Monday turned out to be so incredibly hot and humid! It was about 105 degrees out on the asphalt of the city and it felt worse than the thermometer indicated. I thought either Sara or me (or the realtor) was going to get a heat-stroke. By the time we saw the second apartment we were drenched in sweat. We also had a problem in that Sara liked the first apartment better and I liked the second one. That got resolved when we saw the third, which we both liked. The fourth we did not like that much even though it was about four blocks from where Sara will be working (and it had an extra 1/2 bathroom).

That evening we decided that we liked the third apartment we saw and that we did not want to run around the city the next day when the weather was going to be even hotter (actually, it was Sara's idea and she convinced me - it is good to listen to your wife). We cancelled our appointments for Tuesday and put in an application for the apartment. After a few hours, the realtor called us and told us we were pre-appoved and that the approval was just a formality. As we drove back to Boston yesterday we got the call that we were formally approved. It was whirlwind, but a productive couple of days.

The apartment is nice and the building is wedged between two big parks which will be nice for the dogs. It is fairly big - three bedrooms. We were actually looking at two bedrooms, but this one was the same rent as some of the smaller ones. The building is well-maintained and the lobby is beautiful - art deco. We are a couple of blocks from the subway, which Sara will ride to work (three stops). The street that the building is on runs right into the parkway that I will take to get to work. The street that the building is on runs right into the parkway that I will take to get to work. I could not ask for a more convenient place from which to start my commute to NJ.

So that's the summary of our past couple of days. I have a few more observations about NY and NJ, but I will get to those later.

I was pondering though how recent events have conditioned my outlook that when things actually work out the prevalent feeling is one of relief rather than joy or enthusiasm. I need to work on that. We have a new home waiting for us in New York, a nice home in an interesting neighborhood and a dynamic city. Wohoo!!!

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