Yesterday, August 12, I moved to NYC!
Crazily enough, I moved to NYC without a home but I did have an Airbnb for a week. A week was more than enough time to find the perfect home in NYC, or so I thought! However, I quickly discovered that searching for apartments in NYC was more difficult than getting married especially during “peak season.” Almost every place I was interested in disappeared as soon as I hit refresh on the rental sites but I do have to note that physically being in NYC gave me a fighting chance and led to victory on my 2nd day!
Apartment Search in NYC is a Document Festival!
As if the search wasn’t complicated and stressful enough, some of the complexes required more documents than the US embassy. I thought I was applying for a green card. One of the properties required that following be executed before you are approved:
1. Privacy Release Form
2. Credit Report Release Form(s)
3. Government Issued Photo ID
4. Notice of Intention to Lease
5. Signed Copy of Lease
6. NYC Window Guard/Lead Paint form
7. New York Bedbug Disclosure Form
8. Lease Application
9. Financial Statement Form
10. Bank Balance Verification Letter
11. Copy of (2) most recent tax returns
12. 1 Reference letter from present landlord
13. 1 Employer Reference letter
14. 1 Business Reference Letter
15. 2 Personal Reference Letters
16. House Rules Acknowledgement
17. Agreement Regarding Common Charges
18. Agreement Regarding Arrears
19. Executed Move In/Out Procedures
20. Emergency Contact Form
The Fees, The Fees, The Fees, The Fees, The Fees, The Fees, The Fees!
Furthermore, those documents of course were accompanied by demoralizing fees: Broker’s Fee (generally 1 month’s rent but could climb to 15% of your annual rent), security deposit (generally 1 month’s rent, refundable), first month’s rent (logically 1 month’s rent), last month’s rent (once again, logically 1 month’s rent), moving fees (they asked for $500, non-refundable), damage deposit (they asked for $500, refundable), application processing fees (they asked for $400, non-refundable), and credit check fee (they asked for $125, non-refundable.)
That apartment was priced at $2,500/month so, I would have had to pay over $10K just to move in. In contrast, that’s almost what I needed for down payment and closing costs on a $250K condo in downtown Cincinnati (3.5% FHA approved.) Ridiculous!
On the second day, I claimed victory in NYC!
Finally, on my second day in NYC, I woke up at 5 am and relied on the power of luck and speed to close on my #1 choice. The leasing office opened at 9am, however, my appointment was at 3pm. There was no way that particular apartment would survive 6 hours, at least 12 appointments and 112 people tracking it online. Luckily, I had a college friend that lived in the building with his wife and they were able to let me into the building around 8am , give me an extensive tour and prepped me well for the 9am game-time. I was the first one in and I pounced..literally. If I had waited until 9:05am, I would have been out of luck because someone called to claim the place while I was there but I was already paying my application fee and security deposit!
In NYC, “space is an invitation for clutter”
Above all, I was able to find a place that I really liked, in the best part of downtown Brooklyn for less than $2500/month and I ended up with about $5k worth of fees and rent before move in which was manageable. But dang, the 469 sq ft. apartment is tinier than my hotel’s bathroom in China! At least the leaser made it clear that, and I quote, “this apartment is the perfect home for someone who loves their stuff but still manages to live a minimalist home life preferring space as a conceptual feeling as opposed to an invitation for clutter.” Nice try buddy! I died laughing reading that and couldn’t help but respond: At that price, I welcome an invitation for clutter and a chance to fight the urge to clutter thereby refusing said invitation with space both literal and a conceptual feeling.
Most noteworthy, mom gave God credit for all my hustle and hard work…I kid! God was looking out for me today! Now I’ve got 5 days to explore the city before I start working.
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