[When we last left our heroine, she and her husband had just faxed an application for a $2900/mth one-bdrm in Sheridan Square and fallen in love with Broker J. Today, we pick up the action with the whole gang in the Village.]
"J gently suggested that other applicants might have gotten in ahead of us for the Sheridan Square apartment, and nudged us to look at other places - off we went to 12th and Broadway. We saw a loft/giant alcove studio - one of those 'sleeping loft above the kitchenette' jobs, but larger than most. The location, size and the exposed brick were all nice, but the kitchen appliances and the bathroom had an ick factor that no amount of cleaning was going to fix. (insert mildewy bathroom photo here). At $2900/month, we wouldn't have enough cash left over for the Clorox needed to bleach it into submission."
After the jump, Broker L from central casting joins the search party.
"After a pit stop at J's office to get our paperwork in order, we headed out to meet up with L, a different broker from Huge Company A. Now, up until that moment, we had been pleasantly surprised by the brokers we had worked with - with admittedly low expectations going in, we were pretty happy with their rapid response and no-pressure tactics. Everyone seemed to have done their homework, and showed some hustle, which made us feel slightly less like chumps for paying a broker in the first place. L, though, was a rental broker straight out of central casting.
"L had gotten off on the wrong foot with his ham-handed email style (confidential to L: ALL CAPS LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING. Don't do it.) L continued to disappoint when he couldn't wait to show us the same two-bedroom on First between 9th and 10th, confirming our suspicion that that apartment only exists to "soften up" prospective renters. We politely pointed out that it was located over a bar, and he sighed, and told us that really, that was the best we could hope for, given our budget. We didn't budge, and L suggested we adjourn to his car to review the listings he had pulled. On the way out, L volunteered that "he didn't really see us in the East Village, anyway". Why, L? Because we look like a couple of newscasters? Screw you, I am deeply subversive. I'm taking the establishment down from the inside.
"After a quick stop by his two-door sedan, we redirected L to the nearest bar, where L suggested that we look through his listings. He kicked back with a tall cold drink while my husband and I sorted through about 25 printed listings. After cutting the pile down to four, we asked if he had seen any of the apartments therein: no. Could we see them today: no. Could we see them tomorrow: most of them, no ("Aw, you guys want to look at places on the weekend? 'Cause, the thing is, that isn't really how it works"). Could we pay for his drink and let him get going, as we were sure he was busy: sure, if we insisted. We executed a swift email breakup with L as soon as we returned home.
"Sunday arrived, and with it the joyful promise of another outing with J. We were headed to an open house - our first. Terrified of meeting our rental competition, we had to fight the urge to ask J to hold our hands as we were herded into 305 West 19th to view a bland $2600 two bedroom. A few moments later, J found me huddled in the back bedroom, pretending to be fascinated by the inside of the closet, while other prospective renters thronged around us. "It's a little overwhelming, isn't it", she murmured. We fled, grateful to be renters instead of having to step up our game to the buyers' big leagues.
"We wanted to see one more place with J, but another broker from Huge Company B held the keys to the next apartment - described as a carriage house at 5 West 15th street, on the corner of 5th Ave. The building didn't look promising, though, located in an alley (complete with fetid dumpster) - at least what we could see of it through a locked gate (think security gate in Central America, not charming wrought-iron gateway) (see photo above). Needless to say, J was seeing it for the first time as well, and was taken aback by the unusual setting. When the other broker failed to materialize with the keys (despite cellphone assurances to J that he was just around the corner) after a half-hour wait, J sent us on our way with apologies. Although her tone and posture while on the phone with her wayward colleague telegraphed polite rage, the strongest thing she said directly to us was a mild "Well, sometimes it can be challenging to balance the needs of multiple clients, working at a big firm." Professional to the very last! J should be running for office! A class act all around.
"Sunday night, and I'm headed back to DC for the week - my husband will carry on the search alone this week. J's supposed to call us tomorrow afternoon with an update on our application for the Sheridan Square apartment, and other than that, we're facing another week of living out of suitcases. We're determined to hold out for something great, but we're running out of clean underwear. It better be soon."
· The Renters: Broker Love and an Application [Curbed]
· The Renters: Will We Be Mocked? [Curbed]