Saturday, October 20, 2007

bang for your real estate buck

I read in Glamour this month that the average monthly rent for women is something like $425. In New York, it's closer to three times that amount, if not four.

I've spent the last few weeks tirelessly looking for a new apartment. I don't want a four-bedroom, 3.5 bath duplex on Park Avenue. I want a studio in Hoboken for less than half of my monthly salary. I didn't think this would be an impossible feat, but it seems to have turned into one.

I've had two panic attacks since my search started. I've called well over a dozen realtors (an aside: when did realtors stop wanting commission? Nearly every realtor I've encountered has been unhelpful at best. Is my money less green than everyone else's? You'd think the desperation in my voice would be like blood in the water to them...). And I've managed to see three... count 'em, THREE apartments. All within my price range, yet all miserable in their own way. The first I saw had an archaic heating system. All heat radiated from the oven; something straight out of the early 1900's, not 2007. This apartment, while fine in other ways, also had an exposed water heater in the middle of the kitchen. Meaning, should it have ever exploded, I may have floated away into oblivion.

The second, in a lovely area of Park Slope, was slightly larger than a matchbox car. When my brother was four or five he had a twin bed shaped like a race car. That may be the only bed that would fit in this place. My plush queen didn't even have a chance. Yes, New York is known for its small apartments, but for exactly half of my current take-home income, I'd like to be able to at least have my bed. The kitchen cabinets were another (albeit small) issue. At 5'2", I could only (barely) reach the bottom most cabinet. I would have needed a full-sized ladder to reach any of the others.

In the third, the bathroom was immediately OUTSIDE the front door. That's all I will say about that.

I have to vacate my current apartment in 12 days. I feel panic attack number three coming on.

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