We’re Moving!!!

After 2 years of living in Brooklyn, we’re moving to Manhattan!

Brace yourselfNo, it’s not that far, but we’re moving all the same.

I’m so excited and it all happened so fast. I came home from work one night two weeks ago and Tom was in the home office. Out of the blue, he started showing me some apartments he found in on Craigslist. In Manhattan. I didn’t recall him mentioning moving before this, so I was surprised and quite curious. He said that he wanted to be closer to the WordPress/developer scene as well as his job’s office and clients, which all take place in Manhattan.

I was down with the idea (since we don’t really like our neighborhood in BK anyway), just as long as we didn’t move somewhere that made my commute farther. Even then, I can’t even complain because my commute is currently about 30 minutes, which is about a third of the average time workers in NYC commute daily.

So for two weeks we’ve been scouring Craigslist, Zillow, RentHop, and realty companies’ websites, looking for decent apartments that wouldn’t [totally] break the bank, would keep us in a good location for transportation, and weren’t cardboard boxes.
"Cozy" room

Let me just start by telling you that the cheapest most “too good to be true” apartments are fake. The apartments Tom showed me that first night were immaculate and only a couple hundred dollars more than what we currently pay in Brooklyn. When I started noticing that all of those “BEST DEAL IN TOWN” postings were by people with three names (example: Lydia Jasmine Nancy), I knew they were scams.

We quickly realized that what we needed/wanted would cost us a lot more than we were hoping; isn’t that always the case?

This past weekend, we contacted a couple realty agents about posts we saw on Zillow and RentHop. We had one set up for over the weekend, but they canceled on Friday night – it probably got rented before we even got a chance to see it. Such is the story when trying to rent in NYC: there one minute, gone the next.

The search continued and we contacted a few more agents. We were interested in one apartment whose agent got back to us on Sunday. We set up a viewing for the next day and started getting as much paperwork as we thought we’d need.

On the train ride to the first apartment, we were discussing this apartment and weighing pros and cons of what we knew about the area so far and the apartment before seeing it in person. I told Tom that if it didn’t fit what we wanted, that we would keep looking at the other apartments she had set for us. He seemed pretty set on this apartment before seeing it, though.

Our current apartment was something we both agreed on before we even walked in. We were both so nervous that we were going to miss out on it, but we lucked out so hard. There was actually a girl scheduled to view it before us but she had a family emergency, so we got to see it first; as soon as we walked in and checked the place out, we looked at each other, smiled, and agreed that we wanted it. The poor girl called just as we signed the final piece of paper saying she was on the way and could she still check it out; the realty agent had to break the news, and although I felt bad, I was ecstatic. We had all of the necessary paperwork with us and got the keys a couple days later.

This time around, however, has required a lot more paperwork and patience. More on that in a bit.

When we got to the first apartment in Manhattan, I had a feeling it was going to be underwhelming just standing outside. It was in a nice area, but the outside didn’t seem all that great and I remember the pictures showing pretty small rooms with not much storage space (closets or kitchen storage). The website post for it wasn’t amazing, it was just better than others that we had seen. When we walked in, it looked even smaller than in the photos and didn’t seem like it would fit our wants or needs…other than having a roof over our head and running water. We decided to try our luck at a couple of the other apartments she had within the same price range and the same area.

NYC Expectations vs Reality

The second place was a few blocks away and up three flights of stairs. The hallways were narrow, but we were greeted by a fully renovated, fresh paint-smelling, beautiful, but oh-so-teeny-tiny apartment. The kitchen was part of the living room, which isn’t unheard of in the city. However, I’ve seen friends’ apartments that have this layout, but there’s enough room to serve as the living room that it doesn’t really impede on the kitchen (and vice versa). This apartment, though, left no room for any proper seating area while still allowing cupboard doors to open. Plus, we have to consider space for Tom’s computer setup.

I think it would make a great bachelor/bachelorette pad, but it would be tight for two people plus guests. The bathroom was immaculate – like, you’ll never find a more beautiful bathroom in the city for this price. But, we don’t plan on spending copious amounts of time or entertaining all of our guests in the bathroom, so we had to pass.

The third place was a couple more blocks away, and noticed a police station nearby, so that made us feel pretty safe. The apartment was on the first floor which was such a pro compared to the last apartment. When we walked in, I thought she was showing us a studio apartment because the main living area/kitchen was huge. But to my surprise, there was a whole other room for a bedroom to the left with a really good-sized closet. The kitchen, although open to the living space, had a much better layout to allow us to have a table and chairs without creeping into the living area. The bathroom was..a bathroom – nothing fancy, especially compared to bathroom #2 (ha), but it would get the job done.

We looked at each other, just as we had when we got our current apartment, and told the agent that we wanted to go ahead with it. We went back to the office, signed some papers, realized that we didn’t have nearly enough documents that they required, and agreed to have them in ASAP. We have been emailing back and forth about 100 times with our agent, sending more paperwork, getting clarification, re-sending clearer pictures and scans of documents, etc.

When a good apartment is on the line and you have to wait a whole business day for your landlady to provide a letter stating that you are a good tenant who pays on time, it feels like a lifetime because anyone can jump on the apartment at any time and it’s first come (meaning first applicant with 100% of the necessary documents) first served. Just because we put a deposit down didn’t mean it was ours yet.

It feels like this has taken a week because the waiting and scrambling to get everything together feels like it’s been going on forever.

But it’s only been 3 days.

At 2pm yesterday afternoon, we finally submitted everything we needed. Our agent was super quick with her responses and was supportive the entire time. She was unsure if the new landlord would accept one of our documents, so she left us with an email that said she would get back to us once she got word back about the status, and that this might take a day.

So I sat back, relieved that it was out of our hands, and figuring we wouldn’t hear from her for at least an hour, maybe not until the following day.

Five. Minutes. Later. She sends us an email congratulating us because we had been accepted!!!!!!!!!!

I can haz new howse?

We signed the lease today and it feels surreal since we can’t move in right away; I’m getting a colonoscopy Saturday (fun!) to make sure my Crohn’s is okay, and then we’re going to a concert on Sunday. We’ll move slowly since we have our current apartment for another 30 days or so, which is great because neither of us has huge chunks of free time to pack, move, and unpack. I’M JUST SO PUMPED!!!

Living in Brooklyn forever?

I like living in Brooklyn. I like my job in Brooklyn. I like being so close to everything and that most places are still open at 10 or 11 at night. I like that there are parks nearby and that we’re a 30 minute subway ride away from Manhattan. I like that it’s busy and city-esque here but not as touristy and annoyingly crowded as Manhattan.

BUT Brooklyn is flipping expensive!

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Brooklyn is the least affordable city in America to buy a place to live (followed by San Francisco and Manhattan at #2 and #3). Like, what????

The article also mentions that 70% of Brooklyn residents rent and that the median rent is over $2800. No wonder people are being priced out of Brooklyn into other boroughs (or homelessness!)…

Rent is too damn high SNL Kenan Thompson

I mean, that median number makes me feel a bit better because we pay about half of that for our 2 bedroom at the moment. Our lease is up soon (so the featured image is almost a year old!), and therefore Tom and I have been discussing what we want to do next – do we renew our lease for another year or do we want to look at moving elsewhere? We are ready to stop putting that money into rent every month, knowing that we’re not getting any of it back when we decide to leave. So obviously, a house or condo would be the next step.

But it’s practically impossible to find decent places within a decent price range without maxing out our entire bank account and signing the next 10 years of our income away to a mortgage. Going back to that Bloomberg article, the median price to buy a place is $615,000. Who can afford that? Not a couple of mid-20’s newlyweds (one with a student loan from Columbia, might I add), that’s for sure!

Plus, neither one of us wants to live in the city for the rest of our lives. When the time comes, I really don’t want to raise a child in the city. And we both agree that we really don’t want to spend such a large amount of money on a condo that’s not much bigger than our current apartment. We want space to grow into, we want a yard, and anything close to what we want in the city would be a couple million dollars. For real. It’s disgusting.

We’ve been searching Zillow for about 2 months now, seeing what’s out there and how much we would need in order to buy something. The low end of what we’ve found has been around $300,000 for 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom condos with no decent amenities (elevator, dishwasher, on-site washer/dryer, etc.).

Zillow Brooklyn Prices Zillow Prices Brooklyn

The criteria that we have settled on is 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and preferably all the mentioned amenities, plus close proximity to the subway, and in a good neighborhood. Oh, and they need to be okay with pets because MAMA WANTS A CAT AND/OR DOG!!! For all of this, we’re looking at around $650,000. Ouch.

So we’ve decided that we will continue to rent for another year and then see what happens. Whether that means moving towards the outskirts of Brooklyn, out of the city, or out of New York State altogether, we’re both on the same page in that we want to be smart with our money. We started a budget and are going to keep better track on how much we spend and where our money is going every month.

We definitely know we want to stay on the northeastern part of the country, thinking as far west as Illinois and as far south as the Carolinas. Anywhere will seem like a steal outside of NYC, so we’ll feel like millionaires! But, no matter when or where we move, we’ll be together, and that’s what matters. (Cheesy, yes. You may either ‘aww’ or gag now.)

So here’s to another year, Brooklyn. (Unless I lose my job or something else unfortunate happens, then that’s a whole other can of worms…). Ending on a positive note. *thumbs up*