Saturday, March 12, 2011

The nightmare that is apartment hunting in New York

If there is one thing I despise about New York, it's real estate. I hate looking for apartments. The majority of brokers are deceiving, fees are high, craigslist sucks and everything is overpriced. JP and I mainly did our own search for apartments in the luxury buildings in Chelsea (criteria: west of 3rd ave, east of 8th ave, north of Houston for the most part, and south of 32nd street). We saw newly constructed buildings with tiny apartments at astronomical prices (The Continental), buildings with amazing amenity and views but in an unsatisfactory area (Tower 31) and perfect buildings where apartments disappeared in a matter of seconds even if they were still being remodeled (Centro). A broker stood us up after I emailed him with a list of buildings we had already seen by ourselves.

We went elsewhere and got the most amazing broker I have ever worked with (not that I've worked with many) and would recommend to anyone in a second. With him we saw everything from 18th floor Union Square apartments with terraces to prime West Village (W4th and Perry anyone?) walk-ups with no laundry and slanted floors (he was testing the pre-war building waters with us on that one afterward which he realized that he shouldn't show us anything like that anymore!). There were buildings on the UWS with Dale Chihuly chandeliers in the lobby and crazy amenity fees ($5,000 per year for two people?) and buildings with multiple huge walk-in closets and 28ft+ living rooms. I spent over a week from noon to 4pm looking at apartments and as well as weekends (Saturdays AND Sundays) as needed (and it was needed). 95% of what he showed us were great apartments but they just weren't exactly what we were looking for (not bright enough because of a low floor or northern exposure or too pricey for what it is)...

And now I feel kinda douche-y (I rarely use that word) because he spent so much time and energy on us and we've decided to go with one of the apartments we found ourselves in Chelsea (granted, only silly people would go to those luxury buildings with a broker). I even called the leasing office and asked if they pay the broker fee (unfortunately no). So we said sorry it didn't work out and got him a gift card (I think he deserved it and it made me feel better). We dropped our signed lease off today at the building and will move in at the beginning of April. I will say this - if anyone is looking to move within NYC/to NYC and need a good broker, especially one who knows the Chelsea/Flatiron/Union/Greenwich Village/Nolita area well, click here. In the mean time, I have to figure out what new furniture we need and how we'll get rid of our old furniture...and here's the floor plan!

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