1. When last I wrote and you read, I wanted to check into a Craigslist posting for an apartment with a murphy bed, other furnishings, a washer and dryer in the unit, and a small gym in the building. It was out of my price range but I asked the broker if the owner would bend on the price if I agreed to a year-long lease. She agreed to ask, then we swapped stories of her visit to my home country and mine to hers (Spain), and she told me she would call when she had a viewing time arranged. I didn’t hear from her. I called again. She said she’d call me soon. I know what you’re thinking—this broker is just not that into me.
2. One of my friends made the drive from Brooklyn to Jackson Heights to see an apartment for me last week. After he got through traffic, found a place to park, and finally met the broker, he was told that he couldn’t see the apartment because the owner had fallen sick the previous evening and been hospitalized. As of writing this, I have not heard any more on the situation.
3. Three brokers that I called after seeing their apartment listings on the New York Times web site responded with “Sorry, that has been rented,” (in the manner of IT Crowd’s Roy saying, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”). I now realize that these listings are the real estate equivalent of posting decade-old photos on a dating site; you hope they will at least get you a first date (when the reality of your decrepit self is revealed).
4. A broker that a colleague recommended for renting places in Astoria never answers his phone and his voice mailbox is always full. I am told he is a very nice guy. I wish I could verify this myself.
5. A broker listed on Naked Apartments agreed to find some places that fit my budget but then…radio silence. When I emailed him again, he said that he had already sent me the appropriate listings and had assumed I was not interested because I had not replied. I wrote back disagreeing with his version of events (but in passive aggressive fashion). After logging into the NA web site, however, I saw that he had actually sent me some information but it had remained in the site’s internal messaging system and had mysteriously not been emailed to me. Huh. So I wrote back. Then, it turned out that several of the places he had in mind were unavailable for rent for another month. So we went back and forth a few more times and settled on a couple, figured out a time to see them, and exchanged phone numbers. I then noticed that his phone number only appeared to have 8 digits. Some more emails to make sure his Droid keypad was not sabotaging us just as the web site had….
6. Another broker recommended by a friend said that her listings were in a higher price range than I had in mind but she referred me to another agency. After playing phone tag with a broker there, I finally connected with her, and she explained that the prices and neighborhoods I had in mind would not include laundry facilities on the premises. I’m not hauling laundry down the street! So I agreed to raise my upper limit for rent. She called me back and explained that the apartments that fit my criteria are owned by a company that needs documents like pay stubs, proof of a good rental history, bank statements, social security card, etc, etc, and even after they have verified all this, I must be there in person in their offices to sign a lease. Since I don’t plan to move in with a property management company and have its children, that’s a non-starter.
What I’m looking for is what a colleague’s friend apparently found—one of those relationships that seems fated. He was walking around the Sunnyside neighborhood, bumped into a rental agency with a name out of Greek mythology, viewed some apartments, filled out an application, and slipped a check under the landlord’s door—all in one day. I plan to find this mythical place. After all, could even Ulysses have braved everything I’ve already encountered?