Adventures in real estate

Feb 04 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

In a rare turn of events, J passed out before me last night, and it crossed my mind that I might take the opportunity to have a teensy sip of Basil Hayden's and do a little scribbling. Naturally, I got about 5 sentences in before quickly following suit, the bourbon rapidly propelling me me into a warm, sleepy haze. Best laid plans, etc (if you're inclined to call whiskey drinking and internet navel-gazing a "plan"). So I'm finishing this post on a train, heading somewhere...job related (oh, so coy!), and I thought I'd tell you about my latest adventures.

Aside from all this job-hunting business, the major hot topic in our lives these days is finding a new apartment. Apartment hunting, you might say. I am a hunter, it would seem, of both jobs and residences. Our landlord has indicated that he intends not only to raise our rent, but also to take away the use of our sick, sick roof deck, home to some of Brooklyn's most fabulous parties (2006-2010). And what with me having no income and all, staying is both fiscally ill-advised and, in some senses, undesirable, so move we must.

Now, one nice thing (of--trust me--many) about being unemployed is that your days are free to roam the city in search of new digs. Accordingly, I've been jetting off to Queens this week doing just that. I always think that apartment hunting will be fun because it is kind of like shopping, and I love shopping with a fiery passion that burns in the very seat of my soul. But apartment hunting in NYC on a budget is like going shopping in the dumpster outside KMart, paying 3 times what the clothes are worth, and then paying another 10% to the guy who opens the dumpster for you.

It's a rare broker who could be described as neither More Than A Few Screws Loose nor Scum of the Earth Douchebag, and in the outer boroughs, they trend more toward the former than the latter. My favorite so far has been Cathy*, who carries a parrot on her shoulder and has a semi-related story for just about any scenario you could imagine. She is, without question, a Chatty Cathy.

Cathy and I traipsed through the slush-filled streets of Queens yesterday, looking at several possible apartments for J and me and the kittehs. All the while, Cathy talked my ear off about...oh, what didn't she talk my ear off about, really? The fantastic deal she'd gotten on her spiky fur vest, her parrot's troubled, abusive past, her experiences with online dating. We finished well in advance of my next appointment, at which point she said, "Well, it's 12:30, why don't you come over and have a glass of wine? We can play Scrabble!"

I frantically racked my brain for what pressing engagement might allow me to escape another 90 minutes of TMI, but came up empty. It also occurred to me that it's at least somewhat in my interest to have a broker who loves me, and so I did what any real estate-savvy New Yorker would do--I took one for the team. She poured me a large glass of Australian Cabernet, and I drew seven tiles.

The stories I heard over the course of the afternoon have burned images into my brain that may take years to fade. I know things about this woman that I don't know about some of my closest friends. An hour after I left, I got a phone call that the one place I'd liked had been taken.

This woman. Had better. Find me. A fucking. Apartment.

*not her real name, obvs.

9 responses so far

  • JaySeeDub says:

    ...Is "Cathy" normally a brunette, but her hair changes color every other week? If so, we had the same agent when I was living in the West Village in '03. That lady told me things I never wanted to know. And I once worked in an office full of women (which was also in '03 and in Manhattan...) on the same cycle. The Scrabble, the stories, the Australian Cab. My Bay Area roots balk at the last one.

  • gerty-z says:

    Poor Cathy. Has to basically blackmail random strangers for a Scrabble game. *trying hard not to laugh* I could never have made it through that afternoon and still had a broker. You have more self-control than do I.

    Good luck with your search(es) 🙂

  • Khalil A. says:

    For what it's worth, apartment hunting in Melbourne, Australia coming up next week. We can compare notes 😉

  • Dr. Koshary says:

    It's a dirty business, but you do what you have to do to get the prize, right? 🙂

  • anon says:

    Have you tried Craig's list? I am not in NYC, but we managed to find our own paradise through CL. I can't believe that you would rely on parrot lady to do better. c'mon.

  • Dr. O says:

    Yesterday's tweets are making more sense now.

    At least you got a good blog post out of it... 😉

  • Dr Becca says:

    Anon--in NYC, almost every Craigslist apartment listing is from a broker. You call based on one ad, and then once you meet, they'll show you what they've got that matches your needs. I originally found Cathy through CL. It's unavoidable!

  • leigh says:

    haha! we encountered a particularly out there More Than a Few Screws Loose broker when apartment searching in our current metro area. we liked the apartment, decided to make an application, but ran into a snag when she learned my fellowship letter was still in the mail.

    so i call my soon-to-be-mentor, asking if there is another way to verify the award and etc.

    broker snatches my phone away from me and starts *yelling* and *practically crying* at my new boss. my spouse and i were both too shocked to initially realize what the fuck just happened. needless to say, we got the hell out of there and i later profusely apologized to the boss. boss just laughed at me.

    after our apartment search follies here, i don't ever want to move again.

  • Mike says:

    Did you win at Scrabble?

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