Great news! Our journey into the first ring of hell, aka apartment hunting in NYC, is over. Here’s how our search went and 10 things I learned during our apartment search. Hopefully you find this helpful, especially if you don’t want to use a broker.
We finally found an apartment in a great pet friendly building, in a great neighborhood we both like. We will have amenities like a gym, doorman, valet, laundry on every other floor, proximity to the train. Our apartment is actually on the island of Manhattan (downtown) and we did not have to pay a broker fee. We have great commutes to work (under 20mins) and it is also less expensive than our current apartment.
In these respects it hits everything on our list and then some (we really weren’t expecting our next apartment to have a gym, doorman, or even elevators).
However, there is one catch. As you will learn if you are also apartment hunting in NYC every apartment has a catch.
Here is our (long-ish) story and some advice. (more…)
Lately I have been thinking about sofas. With our planned move (whenever we find a place of course) I have been searching for affordable sofas that would look great in a new apartment.
Consider our current sofa, the Ikea Tidafors in Hensta Gray as seen here:
I really wish this was upholstered in a more pet friendly fabric. RJ enjoys napping here and he SHEDS all over the place. This is especially obvious because of the contrast of his light fur on the dark color. We have a throw cover on the sofa but, somehow, RJ always ends up stretched out directly on the sofa fabric and leaving more fur behind.
As a young person renting an apartment, I don’t think it makes much sense to spend $2000 on a sofa. Tastes change, budgets change, needs change. You can always look for a used sofa but, if you are looking for new affordable sofas, I have found 38 great looking options for the renter or home owner on a budget.
See the sofa slideshow after the jump
I finally decided to take a break from apartment hunting to update the blog. Surprise! We still don’t have a place to live once our lease is up. This is after weeks of scouring rental listings every day. We have already seen 12 apartments and have found nothing except aggravation. We have actually had more than 12 appointments scheduled but the other places were leased before we could even visit.
So far much of our search has been centered on Western Queens (Astoria, Sunnyside, Long Island City, etc) because of the relatively straightforward commute to Manhattan. Unfortunately, it seems Queens is not a great place for renters with dogs. Many building owners seem to think that dogs invite pests into buildings. I could argue that what actually encourages pests are old, badly maintained, pre-war buildings with interiors that haven’t been updated since the Cuban missile crisis but that is neither here nor there. (I mention the missile crisis because there are many buildings where you can still see the old “Fallout Shelter” signs).
When it comes to an apartment dining table, space is a big concern. At the moment we have more space than is “normal” for a New York apartment (because we are paying outrageous rent) but this will not always be the case. We did not want to eat dinner on the couch all the time so we had to find a space saving dining table on a budget.
We focused on collapsible tables, specifically gateleg tables because these typically fold into very compact rectangular “blocks” that can be placed in a corner. We ended up choosing the Ikea Norden Gateleg table due to the lower price although the Crate and Barrel Span Gateleg was a close second.
We chose the Norden Gateleg in “pine” knowing that we planned to paint the table top (eventually). We finally got around to painting the top of the table it and here is the finished result!
First and foremost, APOLOGIES for my long absence. Everything has sort of ground to a halt at home lately as I get busier. We did take a short trip to Washington DC for Memorial Day weekend just to get away for a bit, but that’s about the extent of “happenings”.
In case you were wondering, the apartment is a mess at the moment. A real mess. I would take a picture but it is actually embarrassing. Good news though, this weekend is dedicated to sorting out the place. Also, we have let the management company know we will not be renewing our lease so we really have to get the apartment organized for visits from prospective tenants.
So, yes, we have been apartment browsing (the hunt can’t really begin until we start to see more late July listings) and so far we are not impressed.
There are countless articles on the internet about apartment hunting in NYC and they will all tell you IT IS A PAIN IN THE ASS, a gauntlet of bullsh*t, an exercise in frustration, etc etc. So far I have found nothing that leads me to disagree with these assessments. It is part of why we gave up last year and moved to Jersey.