Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To apply, or to not apply

I am fighting a miserable cold that has left me sounding like Patty and Selma, but I'll be damned if it's going to keep me from apartment hunting. I should just open every phone call by saying 'hiya hun' followed quickly by that throaty grumble.

Last night I found an awesome ad for a no-fee 1 BR on Thompson St for $2300. It looked really promising -- two windows in each room, a nice but not too large kitchen (couldn't tell if there was a dishwasher), very bright and on a good block.

The ad was through Century 21 and the ad said contact the broker anytime so I did. I emailed her around 9:30 PM and she got back to me right away which I thought was cool. What was not cool at all was when she asked me to meet her at her office. Sigh. Please, I said, I work in Soho, could you please not make me come up to midtown only to go right back down? Company policy, she replied. So I confirmed with her in fucking midtown only because the apartment looked really promising. Through some creative research I found another broker listing the same apartment so I contacted him too. I figured if he agreed to meet me at the apartment I would just cancel on Century 21 and their bureaucracy.

This morning I hadn't heard back from Broker B so I grudgingly went to midtown to meet up with Broker A. I must have looked a mess. I had just left my doctor and I was running a bit of a fever. Once at the office they made me fill out your typical broker form. I didn't sign the back -- the part with the fee acceptance disclaimer. Turns out I had emailed with one of the pages and the broker was some dude. I was antsy. The apartment was a good deal and I didn't want to lose out. He wanted to look up other places for me...I said look I don't mean to be rude but I only care about this one apartment so could we just go? He started telling me about how his company gets 180 new listings each day...I cut him off and said so does everyone else, you're all looking at the same database and I'm not impressed. I'm not trying to deny you your living, I told him, but I won't pay a fee and I just want to see the apartment on Thompson already!

Oh, he said, that apartment is no longer in the database, he said. I slumped in my chair. Great. I was sweaty, feverish and had just wasted 45 minutes. Thanks Century 21!

I took a cab home and pouted. On Monday night I'd found a similar deal on Sullivan (dangerously close to work!) but when I showed up for the viewing the tenant told me she'd gotten word that her place had been rented. Dammit! And now dammit again! I worked for awhile when Broker B got back to me. Yes, the apartment was still available he said, and he would meet me there at 1. Really? Yes, really.

His company had swung an exclusive listing on the place. A-ha. So that was why it disappeared from the database. It was pretty cute. The entryway was a long hall with the bedroom off of it. It was a tiny bedroom, about 10x10. Big enough for a bed and a dresser and not much else. The kitchen was in the center of the apartment (no dishwasher) with the living room at the other end. The living room and bedroom were about the same size. The bathroom was nice and the apartment had plenty of light. But it wasn't quite the wow I was hoping for. The broker mentioned that he had another no-fee apartment around the corner on Houston.

The Houston apartment was much better. It was also a 1 BR. You entered into the kitchen, which was eat-in! With a dishwasher! The living room was off to the right. It was larger than the last place with cool ceiling molding. The bedroom completed the railroad style apartment. It was tiny like the last one and had noticeable open spaces between the floor and the baseboard. That made me kind of wary. But otherwise I loved it. So I started detail searching. The bedroom floor was pitched a little bit. That was workable -- honestly many of the apartments in Soho seem to have this issue. But where was the bathroom? Turns out it was in this closet-sized room in the middle of the apartment. It had a shower stall which kinda sucked. But otherwise it seemed OK. My nose was not working so I couldn't sniff for mold. The other issue was the closet -- there was a pantry style closet in the kitchen but only one other closet in the apartment. And it was tiny.

I told the broker I would apply and I left there planning to. I was going to ask for lower rent but I mostly loved the place. With my pub table in the kitchen and a separate bedroom it would feel like so much more space. But I knew I needed a reality check. I called T.

"Well," T said. "List the pros and cons." OK. Pros: separate bedroom. Eat-in kitchen. DISHWASHER!! Southern Exposure. Not first floor. Only one shared wall. Pre-war building. Close to work. High ceilings. Cons: Tiny closet. Tiny bathroom. Older appliances, etc. than my current apartment. On busy street. Windows had condensation on them (heat escaping? not very promising).

"Sounds like more pros than cons," T said. "But...tiny closet? Like how tiny we talking here?" I told him -- about half the size of my current apartment. He pointed out that I was already hurting for storage in my current place. And now I would half my storage? Yeah. He was right. That was almost a deal-breaker. And he didn't sound thrilled about the tiny bathroom. I think that is partly because he has literally been burned by my current bathroom. When guys, uh, use my bathroom they have to stand against a steam pipe to get enough distance. In the winter that can be pretty tricky.

So now I am less sure. I think I will keep searching and make up my mind tomorrow. Hopefully no one steals this one out form under me before then.

No comments: