The Hunt for the Perfect One.

Finding the perfect apartment in New York City is something like finding the perfect man in New York City. It's frustrating, takes time, sends you on lots of unsuccessful dates, and sometimes, when you just can't take it anymore, you're pushed to leave the city completely and explore options Jersey ( I had to go all the way to DC for my man).

My roommate and I have completely had it with our current living situation, and after two years of hi's and lows, have decided to begin the dreadful apartment hunt. As expected, it's been a lot like our dating experience here--something looks promising on paper, gets us excited, then suddenly lets us down. Sometimes it's the size (yes, size does matter), and other times, it's the baggage. Whether it's a failed marriage or bedbugs, something has kept Michelle and I on the continual hunt.

Our most recent disappointment, though, is one of the ones that hurt the most. Great on paper, we scheduled a date with our real estate agent. It went smoothly! Before the official date, the agent talked me through the perks. Washer and dryer in the building, central air and heat, new appliances, AND a dishwasher? Our good on paper apartment was jumping right off the page.

As he walked us over, he went over the perks of the neighborhood, and my overzealous self nodded excitedly, knowing that there's no way this place would disappoint. And it didn't. Exposed brick, wood floors, natural lighting, and lots of space to entertain, we were more than willing to go slightly out of our budget for our dream apartment. I began envisioning how my room would look, how I'd look snuggled up in the bed taking selfies in the unbelievably bright sunlight that illuminated my room. We were a perfect match.

As always, though, you keep your options open til you know it's a sure thing. So we went on other dates, viewing apartments that didn't quite measure up just to say we put ourselves out there. We smiled and nodded as we sat through sub par viewings. I lied and said I'd keep in touch even though I knew I'd found the one for me. As soon as we left the last apartment for the day, Michelle and I agreed that apartment #1 was a keeper. We quickly called our agent, went back to his office, and stayed there til 10pm signing papers, making our deposit, and submitting the necessary documents.

The next day, we got that magical email. "You're approved!" it said. Michelle and I sent keyboard smashes to each other over GChat in excitement. We'd waited all day for those magic words, and at 4pm, the email finally came through. After much scrambling about when to sign the lease, we chose Monday, April 6. It'd be official.

And as of yesterday morning, it was official. We signed our lease, met the landlord, and went over the specifics. "Congratulations, ladies," the landlord said through a professional, obligatory smile.

"Can we see the place one more time?" We asked. "We want to get another look at the layout before we start shopping for furniture."

We all moseyed over together. The sun shining on what was the warmest day of the year so far, and I couldn't help but become giddy as the agent said "Welcome to the neighborhood!" I do the honors of entering our pin code to enter the building.

We walk upstairs, and both Michelle and I freeze as he opens the door to...our apartment.

Only "our" apartment was twice the size of the apartment we signed the lease on. No, this was not "our" apartment. This apartment was not the one we were envisioning as we created our "Dream Apartment" shared Google document. This apartment was a shoe box. This was not the apartment that won us over and got us to commit. This apartment was a fraud.

"No, no, no. This isn't what you showed us," we said, desperately trying to remain as professional as possible.

"I showed you the model unit, 2F. 2R is what was  available; I had no idea it wouldn't be the same size." Our agent was visibly disappointed in his own oversight.

"This won't work. This isn't what we saw. This isn't what we agreed upon. This is a shoe box. No. We need to void the lease."

And that's exactly how it happens in the dating world. You're presented with a representative for some time. They tone down their sarcasm until they're in deep enough to reveal that they're a full blown asshole. They'll court, wine and dine like they're looking for something serious, until it's actually time to get serious. In New York, I've found through my own experiences and others, very few things are what they seem. Including Janna and Michelle's "Dream Apartment."

Back to the drawing board.

The whole day was spent online, browsing websites desperately searching for another perfect fit. The disappointment from earlier still looming, it was hard to start over and reset my standards. My standards were based on something completely unattainable and were beginning to sabotage my search. I knew in my heart that if it wasn't my previous spot, it simply couldn't measure up.

I did make a few appointments, though. I saw a few hopefuls online, but immediately after searching the area, knew that the neighborhood couldn't cut it. Pickings remained slim for one reason or another.

"It'll all work out, Sweetie," my mom said comfortingly. "All things work together for good." I knew she was right, but still. I just knew I had a done deal, and it wouldn't be easy to get over the loss. Will all things work together for good?

They just might.

That night, I had an appointment with a different broker who wanted to show me a unit in the same neighborhood I loved so much, two blocks from my beloved dream apartment.

I walked up to the dated building and pressed the buzzer. As the door unlocked, I found myself standing in a dim hallway that could use a nice facelift, then walking up wooden stairs while holding a railing that I wanted to repaint myself to salvage whatever lavender paint was left. Surely I'll be in and out in a jiffy.

"I'm in here!" The agent called out, and I entered through the similarly purple door on the right.

Not bad. Certainly spacious. Actually, way more space than the Dream Apartment. Still, I wasn't gonna be so easy to win over. Sure, the bedrooms were larger, and on completely different sides of the apartment, and there were more closets than Dream Apartment, but it wasn't quite right. The kitchen. God, the kitchen. It was....bad. Dated appliances, terrible blue tile that sat over the hardwood was all wrong. But still, the apartment itself wasn't bad! It was larger, and I loved the layout.

"Now, we do have one upstairs that will have all new appliances. It's still under construction."

The price of the newer place was the same as our dream apartment. Things are looking more and more promising.

We walk up another set of wooden stairs holding a chipped purple handrail, and walk into an almost identical version of the spacious unit downstairs, just...newer stuff! Sure, it was under construction, but it had serious promise.

And that's how things usually happen. Sometimes you have to forego the more obviously perfect option to see that something else might be "perfect" in its own right.

Needless to say, Michelle and I are making an offer on the apartment today. We're excited at the opportunity to stay in the neighborhood we love, just two blocks from our Dream Apartment.

1 comment

  1. I know it has to be hard! I hope you get the place you want cousin! :)


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