Saturday, December 6, 2008

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: I have a new apartment

See that appliance on the left side of the photo above? That's a DISHWASHER. Love them. Know what's even better? It's the dishwasher in my new apartment! Yes, it's finally true: after 2 months of searching and two failed attempts I have successfully signed a lease for an apartment. I feel 500 lbs lighter (see ya later, gorilla).

I know it's hard to believe but I even have nice things to say about 2 brokers! First of all, Broker S from Manhattan Connection emailed me on Wednesday to say he was back in town and yes he would check with Tribeca place about using my sister as a co-signer to see if that would get me in. It didn't work out but he even called me back to let me know! What a nice guy and I mean that. He didn't admonish me for anything during our viewings together and really advocated for me to the management company. That is exactly what a broker is supposed to do! S works at Manhattan Connection's office on 78th & Madison.

I have noticed in general that brokers have been a bit nicer to me this time around. I'm not sure if it's because of the time of year, the depressed market, my higher budget or a combination of the three. But in the end it was not S who found me my apartment. It was a different broker, L, from Platinum Properties.

After the West Village place didn't pan out and I wasn't even allowed to be considered for the Greenwich St place in Tribeca I knew I had to expand my neighborhood options. I know I didn't want to go north of Union Square (and really, not north of West 4th St) I realized my other option was the Financial District. I was pretty down on the neighborhood when I first moved here but recently I've visited it and I am warming up to it. Plus there are so many deals to be had with many financial industry workers moving out.

While expanding my neighborhood parameters I also gut checked myself about what I wanted in an aparment. I realized that besides the ever-present need for a freakin' DISHWASHER I would love to live in a full-service building. That wasn't possible during my first hunt but now I can afford it. So I looked for full-service skyscrapers in FiDi with no fee. And I found plenty including many listed by Platinum Properties. Kind of an over-the-top name for a brokerage in my opinion but I digress. I found three listings that interested me: a 1 BR in Tribeca off Leonard St, an alcove studio with floor to ceiling windows and a terrace in FiDi and a building with a pool in FiDi (c'mon, a pool!).

The next morning the broker, L, called me to discuss what I was looking for. I told her: a dishwasher and closets in a luxury building. Some other likes: high floor, nice views, open kitchen, big windows, light. She and I scheduled a long appointment to do several viewings that afternoon. She promised to gather up a few buildings for me to look at -- all no fee.

Their office is at 30 Wall St and I showed up a bit early for my 4 PM appointment. I'm not gonna lie -- as soon as I got off the subway I knew where everything to the west was, but the East was a big mystery to me. Broker L was very nice. She had an index card with 5 different buildings for me to look at. She told me all about each before we left and I immediately cut two (the one off Leonard St? That was Tribeca place that rejected me!).

The first building was 10 Hanover Square. There was a Starbucks in the lobby which I loved. All of these buildings have their own leasing offices within. So I had not only a broker but also a tour guide! The leasing agent gave me a packet (ooh, a packet!) about the building as well as a floor plan of the apartments I would be seeing. There were a few apartments available within my price range. Each apartment style is called a "line." I saw a T-line and and a U-line.

The floor plan above is a T-line plan.
The U-line plan looked just like it
but was flipped horizontally.

So ready for a new apartment term? "Studio home office." This is basically a 1 BR but legally a bedroom has to have a window. When you see studio-home office in ads you have two separate living areas. Almost all of the apartments I saw with L were studio home offices.

The apartments at 10 Hanover were lovely -- hardwood throughout, lovely granite breakfast bars, new appliances, nice closets and marble bathrooms. And one of the apartments was on the 21st floor and had an awesome view of 40 Wall St. But they were tiny for the price! $2325 for the lower floor and $2400 for the 21st floor. Plus I hated how you walked into the home office -- which I would have used as the bedroom. Granted people can see my "bedroom" now in my tiny space but if I'm upgrading I want to be able to keep it separate. I suppose you could make it the living room but still...awkward to say the least. And the neither living space was very big. I would only be gaining about 120 sq feet and some of that wasn't really usable. I do have to say that the building's amenities were great. I quickly came to learn that all of these buildings have huge lounges, roof decks and game rooms with free wifi. There was also storage in the building and the most amazing gym I have ever seen. It had a 3-story rock wall! Turns out the building used to the be the Goldman Sachs headquarters. Something about that made me feel dirty.

I was quite impressed with the building but not the apartment so we continued on. Next stop was the Crest. Located at 63 & 67 Wall St, two buildings were combined to make one. The apartments I looked at were both in 63 Wall St. Again I saw the lounge and the gym. The lobby of 67 Wall also had an amazing atrium.

Up to the apartments. We saw on the 3rd floor and one on the 12th floor. I was told there was an application in on the 3rd floor apartment so honestly I didn't pay too much attention to it. It was nice -- it had 3 HUGE closets) but I was excited to see the view from the 12th floor. That apartment had a wonky layout but I loved it! It was built on a diagonal so everything was built into nooks. And the view: wow. Another great view of 40 Wall St. The 3rd floor unit was $2495 and the 12th floor unit was $2595 but L was sure we could negotiate. Still, I was eager to see what else was out there.

The next building was 45 Wall St., and after the first two places neither apartment really impressed me. I saw a large studio that had awesome closets (and at $2295 cheap!) but was very dark and an alcove studio that had a nice terrace but was tiny (and expensive at $2550). We made one last stop at 100 Maiden Lane. The apartment had plenty of windows but no great view to enjoy so I passed.

I had seen almost 10 apartments by the end of the appointment and I admit my head was spinning! I was already having trouble remembering one apartment from another. Plenty to think about. L and I went back to her office and she suggested I sleep on it. It was late enough by then that none of the apartments was likely to be taken out from under me.

I spent all night deliberating between the 21st floor apartment at 10 Hanover Sq and the 12th floor apartment at the Crest. I liked the apartment at the Crest better but it was more expensive and the building amenities at 10 Hanover were better. 10 Hanover was further from the subways though. And the Crest had a better layout. Flip flop flip flop.

Finally the next morning I had decided -- the 12th floor apartment at 63 Wall St. L and I chatted for while. I wanted to go back to the Crest and see the places again to take photos and measure. She agreed to take me back. On the way we chatted about the rent. L thought she could get the management company down to $2550. Blargh. That was still more than I wanted to pay by $50. That right there would save me $600 a year. Really I wanted to pay $2400, which would save me $1200. L suggested that we take another look at the 3rd floor apartment, which she felt she could get down to $2450. She mentioned that it had showed up in her daily listings so there was a good chance the application didn't go through.

On second viewing I fell in love with the 3rd floor apartment. Now that I had the other apartments to compare it to it really was something. Tall, 10 foot windows with stained glass. A nice kitchen open to the living room. Three huge closets. A nice layout. I wanted it!

We found out the apartment was indeed open so I put in an application. I offered $2400 on a 16-month lease with 1 month free. And on Friday morning I found out my offer was accepted and it was mine!! I signed my lease on Friday evening and I can move in on the 15th. Hooray! My long, miserable journey is finally almost over. I will post some more thoughts later this week but I need some sleep first. And to pack.


jg said...

woohoo! congrats!

Anonymous said...

That's excellent news...! In a selfish moment, I am disappointed you won't be sharing your apartment hunt with us anymore as I was enjoying the read. Lol!