In theory, moving is a great idea. A new apartment, new furnishings, new neighborhood spots, friendly neighbors,
the renewed promise of meeting your future husband in the elevator while carrying a box, and a reinvigorated take on life in the big city. In theory, moving is a great idea.
In reality, moving is the worst idea in the history of ideas. A new apartment, a new brokers free, a new security deposit, a new set of broken lights, pipes and floorboards, a new sense of panic when you wake up in the middle of the night and have no idea where you are, a new commute, new neighbors who are far from cute (or single). Add that to the number of brokers you're forced to juggle, the INSANE number of emails flooding your inbox, the onslaught of "are you available at 1pm emails" that must be combatted with "no, I have a job", the schedule juggling, general distraction and unavoidable reality that you will have get to work early (like 7am early) to compensate for your sudden flightiness as you dash in and out of the office in an attempt to see as many apartments as possible on your "lunch" break. Like I said, moving is a great idea...in theory.
This week my roommate and I set out in search of our new home. As of July 31st we will no longer live in our charming, yet seriously flawed, upper west side brownstone apartment. I have lived in this apartment for 2 years and for all that I dislike about it, there are many things that I love. I love our quaint brick wall and the fact that we have a working fire place (even though we've never used it). I love that our windows face a quiet courtyard and that I hear birds chirping every single day. I love that our neighbor willingly kills bugs for us and that we have a pantry bigger than most suburbanites. I love that my block is one of the most coveted in the city and that I can see Central Park from my doorstep.
Before you freak out and tell me that I should never leave this oasis, let me assure you, there are plenty of drawbacks. We have no air circulation, I mean none. None to the point where we had to have our heat shut off because even with the windows open in December, the temperature hovered around 80. One of our showers doesn't work so while we pay for 2 bathrooms, we really only have one. Every time we use the oven (yes EVERY time), the smoke alarms go off, so when we cook, we have to open the front door. In the working shower, the water turns scalding without warning, so much so that we could probably sue. I could go on and on, but that's not the point. The point is that I love my apartment, but it's time to move on.
Now that we're on the hunt for a new home, we've been hit with the realities mentioned above. A confusing array of emails, listings, brokers, phone calls, spreadsheets (yes I've made a spreadsheet), misleading internet ads, deciphering internet scams, arguing with our parents...the list goes on.
So far we have seen three prospective apartments. One on West 70th and Freedom Place (yes this exists) which was nice but lacked closets in either bedroom (yea, no). One on West 78th and Columbus that featured a kitchen even the most seasoned take-out orderer would gawk at, let alone two cooks. And a large prewar on West 83rd street that stopped us in our tracks.
The problem with seeing a gem like the one on West 83rd so early in your search is twofold: if you jump on it, you risk moving too quickly therefore missing out on other great apartments; but if you don't jump on it, you risk losing the apartment and finding yourself on the "but it isn't THAT apartment" merry go round in which you compare everything to the dream apartment you let slip through your fingers. No, I'm not being dramatic at all. This is serious.
The ever-changing, overpriced world of manhattan real estate gives renters a lot to think about. When do you know that what you've seen is all there is, and when do you continue to press on in pursuit of that perfect apartment? Every place has its flaws, but what flaws can you live with? This oddly reminds me of the questions I ask myself after a date...moving on. Knowing when to cut your losses and when to hold out is a tough balance to strike and I don't know anyone whose perfected it yet...but I'm sure gonna try.
Happy- classified reading, broker haggling, out of work dashing, late night browsing, financial analyzing, anxiety inducing- apartment hunting to me.
Until next time...