Wanna know what hell feels like? Try looking for an apartment in New York city. From rude realtors, to scams, sexist landlords. You name it, I’ve seen it all for the past four months. In my “mini life update #2” I mentioned, my boyfriend and I are finally living together. We have been looking around for apartments online only I wanna say mid 2016 just to kind of get a feel of the market and just to figure out what we liked and didn’t like. We actively started responding to ads and meeting with realtors in November so that’s when our actual search began. It’s time for a glass of wine or a cup of tea my loves, because I’m gonna rant for a bit.
I can’t even begin to describe some of the things we’ve seen, 99% of the apartments are SUPER small! I know it’s New York but seriously, there were some 300 square feet spaces going for $1400/ month and up. In what universe, does that make sense!? We are quite tall, 6ft and 6ft 3in, there were some apartments advertised as “1 bed room on a first floor” when we showed up they were basements, that we couldn’t even stand in. Now I’m not knocking basement apartments, I’ve seen people with really nice basement apartments. But if you’re going to rent your basement, ceilings about 8-10ft high are necessary. After showing up to way too many basements, we decided we’ve had it with the “1st fl apartments” ads and we decided to start asking the realtors ahead of time if the apartments were basement apartments before we even wasted our time showing up.
Things started to get better after we decided to start asking numerous questions prior to scheduling a viewing. However, the ongoing issue of space continued. There is an apartment that just had me, the kitchen was in the bedroom or the bedroom was in the kitchen, whichever way you view it. The realtor immediately saw the “WTF” look on my face and he immediately said “I know, it’s quite small”. You think!? I’m curious to see if anyone rented that space. Just look at the photos, I don’t know who was gonna live there seriously. I kid you not when this apartment was listed on streeteasy.com, the photos they had looked nothing like this, but seeing the place in person is another story.
We finally started having better luck space wise and submitted an application for a unit that we viewed and loved but the management company for the building selected someone else for the unit. We were pretty heartbroken because we really loved that apartment, it was close to the beach (our favorite place) so yeah, we were pretty bummed. There’s another unit we wanted to rent but the realtor told us the Landlord didn’t choose us because he thinks we were getting ready to have a baby. WTF!? (I had several wtf moments throughout this experience by the way). What on earth does our choice to have or not have a child have to do with anything. I still can’t believe he said that, that comment really upset us.
At this point we started to become really frustrated with the process, we met a realtor, Edward who was really nice and professional, he was happy to listen to what we are looking for and took the time to look for places that he thought we would like. We actually ended up working with him from an ad we responded to, and he told us the land lord only wanted male tenants for that unit. Outraged isn’t even the word to describe how we felt. He apologized for even having to tell us that, we get that it’s not his fault the that the landlord is an ass, so we didn’t hold it against him. Space became an issue with the places he showed us so we didn’t rent an apartment through him. We really appreciated his help though because out of all the realtors we encountered, he was EXTREMELY professional. We have dealt with realtors who made appointments with us and never showed up. Others either never answered your emails or phone calls, they were just a hot mess. So, Edward’s professionalism really resonated with us.
Let me tell you about the scams that we came across, particularly on craigslist. There was an ad I responded to, when someone responded to my email. They claimed to be an absentee landlord on missionary work in Africa, so I’d have to fill out my personal information on a form they sent in the email and send payment is to be sent via Western Union. Now they’d have to be a special type of stupid to think I’d fall for that I’m literally laughing hysterically writing this. At the time, I wasn’t laughing, I was quite annoyed but looking back at this experience I’m happy I’m able to have a good laugh.
Let’s fast forward to mid-February, there was a craigslist ad I saw that was recently posted I think I saw the ad about 45 minutes to an hour after it was posted. In NYC, you need to act fast on these ads as the apartments can be gone in a matter of hours. The ad was for a 2nd floor apartment in a 2-family home. I was excited because we know that’s definitely not a basement. There was another 2nd floor apartment in a 2-family home that was listed on Zillow as well. We responded to both ads and kept our fingers crossed. We viewed the apartment on Zillow together, it was definitely an upgrade from everything we saw, space wise. The realtor and land lord liked us and told us we’re their top candidate. So, we had a good feeling about that one. The other apartment that was on Craigslist I had to view alone because John had to work that day. After viewing the place, I called him and I was so excited I could hardly control myself. The house was GORGEOUS! I wanted it right there and then. Based on my level of excitement he told me to go ahead and try making a deal without him even seeing what the house looked like. I asked the landlord if I was able to make a deposit at that moment, but he said no, he’ll call his realtor and make arrangements through him. Of course, I’m not gonna take his word like that I wanted that house and I was going to have it! I decided to be my most charming self, I picked up on his accent and asked where he’s from, turned out we’re both Jamaican! We chatted for a few minutes before he asked my name again and called the realtor and had him send me an application so he could review our income, credit and do a background check. We were approved for both apartments, so it was left up to us to choose one. Of course, we chose the house I was most excited about. November- February was HELL on wheels for us but now that’s over, we’re so happy our nightmare ended. I’m not sure we could have tolerated another second of the nonsense we had to deal with.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re amazing! Thank you for reading my little rant, hopefully it helped someone be aware of what to expect if you’re considering renting in NY. It is a project, trust me. Stay updated on my recent posts, by entering your email to subscribe!