Monday, July 23, 2007

My sails are short on wind

On Saturday, I cruised the owner apartments only on Craigslist and found a $1600 GORGEOUS, QUIET OASIS - STUDIO - NO FEE in Midtown East. Which, as it turned out later, meant Tudor City.

I called the number in the ad, but of course no one answered because it was Saturday, and then I emailed. While I was out catching a movie, I got an email back from the owner. She seemed nice enough and gave excellent details about the apartment, including that it was only 300 sq. feet. Ugh. Well, if it was laid out well it could work. She asked me to email back if I wanted to set up a time.

My first thought was, where the heck is Tudor City? Followed quickly by what the heck is Tudor City? Turns out it's where Harry Osborn lives in the Spider-Man movies (yes, I am that much of a geek). As in really tall, castle-like towers east of Grand Central.

So not too far out of my way. Meh. I was ambivalent at first. Just another closet. There were some photos attached to the email, and my friends wanted to see. As soon as I saw the photos, my attitude did a 180, and the more I read the more I liked the sound of it - A/C, doorman, gym, rooftop seasonal sunning area, private park, etc. Suddenly, 300 sq. feet didn't seem so bad with all the outdoor space and amenities. With a rent of $1600, it's no great steal, but it's doable.

That day I fell in love with the idea of living in Tudor City, which is a definite violation of Rule #1 of NYC apartment hunting - DO NOT get emotionally attached to an apartment. I hadn't even seen the place yet but I was sure it was the place for me. I wanted to see it immediately, I was willing to jump on the train. Unfortunately, the current subletter wasn't available to show the place until Wednesday. Waiting is not something I do well.

I emailed the owner back and set a time to view, but I was not first in line, which was deflating. I figured I was second given my appointment time. I answered the ad about an hour after it was posted - good God, how did someone else beat me??

I went to a wedding in Boston yesterday, and I had visions of Tudor City dancing in my head the entire time. I also had the opportunity to sit with an acquaintance who lives on the Upper East Side. I shared my broker experiences with her (her verdict: waste of money) and told her my fears about the whole income/guarantor thing. I know she is just one opinion, but she made me feel much better by reminding me that tons of people our age are living in the city on salaries below 40x the monthly rent. Her take was that guarantors don't need to make 80x the rent; they just need to make enough to comfort the landlord. I don't know if this is true or not, but it gave me hope.

On the drive back to Norwalk today, I mentally wrote my gameplan and gave myself a pep talk. When I got home, there was an email from the owner saying subletter wanted to show tomorrow instead. Good news! One less day to wait. Attached to the email was a viewing schedule, so that in case I couldn't make it I could pick another time. Upon opening the schedule, I found out that I was 4th in line, not second as I had thought. Major bummer. Even more bummerific, I was checking Craigslist again today and found that the apartment is now listed for $1650. Sigh. At least the ad had been edited to say that utilities were included.

I have two guesses why the rent went up - first, maybe the owner recognized the demand and is seeking more. Even though that sucks for me, I can't blame her. Second, maybe the rents went up right after the Rent Guidelines board met, and she didn't know right away. Plausible. Either way, I am against the wall here and hoping for a miracle. A renter's miracle.

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