Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Redemption Song

Since I love to get kicked while I'm down, I tried the broker thing again today. My thinking was - can it possibly suck as bad as it did yesterday? I pulled my act together last night - I actually got out my last two months' bank statements, located my pay stubs, and counted my savings again.

More Craigslist surfing yielded another gem - a 1 BR for $1467 in Gramercy (hark, the angels sing). Way too good to be true, but worth a shot. I found it at 11 last night, and in my politeness I responded to the CL email instead of just calling. This morning, with no word back, I called at 8 AM from the train (thanks ATT Wireless, for only dropping my call twice in between Greenwich and Port Chester). With still no word, I tried one last time from my office at 9:30 and actually got through. The broker seemed nice enough - yes it's available, no I can't meet you now, getting keys this afternoon, etc. Unfortunately I never heard from Nancy again...I did try calling her back and got the dreaded "voicemail full." This is what happens in a city with 1% vacancy.

I perused Craigslist some more, and found nothing special in my range, so I went to the dream section. One caught my eye - this time the brokers were NYC Dwellers, whom I'd never heard of but had detailed listings with complete information and good pictures. I checked their site and found a large alcove studio in Gramercy for $1625 - near the top of my range but still perfectly doable. I called, spoke to a nice guy who asked me to come to their office - damn. But I felt game, and was encouraged when I found out that they were less than 7 blocks away from work.

By the way, I find it amusing that many NYC broker offices are in small loft spaces, like the closet studios they show me. Just a receptionist's desk, a bench for us poor kids to sit on, and a clump of computers and phones. If broker's offices were an ad, it would say "High ceilings, lots of windows, a real city charmer."

I filled out another form and ended up talking to a woman. She was nice, and with my more open attitude we clicked. I was hopeful, until she saw my salary. "I have to be honest with you," she said in an accent from somewhere European, "I can show you the apartment. And you will fall in love with it. And I will help you fill out the application. And then the management company will reject you, because you see for them it is all about the money, and they are going to take one look at your salary and say no way." Ugh. My only regret in taking a job at a start-up - I took a pay cut of nearly $10,000 to get in. That $10,000 would be very helpful right now. But she wasn't mean about it; she told me she had been in the exact same situation and I believed her.

She told me I needed to find a guarantor. Easier said than done, I retorted. If I had a guarantor, why would my budget be only $1650? I know, she said, but this is how it is in NYC. Amen, sister. We talked some more and I blurted out a brainstorm of mine - ask my bosses at work to be my guarantors. She nodded and said she has seen it before. I have a review next week - wish me luck convincing them. With a card and a wave, I was off. A nice broker - who would have thought?

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