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Curbed University: Class Is in Session

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Hot on the heels of the live release of Curbed Marketplace, we're launching our new NYC real estate how-to section, Curbed University, today. You didn't think we'd make you do this alone, did you? A quick primer before the heavy-lifting begins this afternoon.

A friend of Curbed recently submitted to the open-wound-waiting-to-happen that is the NYC apartment search. After months of wrangling, in his own mind and with the parade of other players who would become a part of his search (brokers, lawyers, mortgagees, clown in various disguises), FOC and his wife finally settled on a place. It was a 2-bedroom co-op for the right place in the right building in the right the neighborhood, and it was almost theirs. They’d worked out all of the details—Uncomfortably high price? Check; Locked-in mortgage rate? Check; UCC filing?! You know it. All that was left the board interview, that glorious, only-in-New York sit-down in which you drop your dignity at the door and bare your full financial figure.

The meeting took two months to arrange. There were cancellations and reskeds. There was rehearsing and advice from the broker ("It's almost like being a witness on the stand. Don't speak unless you're asked a question.") There was the dark and lingering cloud of starting-fresh hanging over the entire affair.

Finally, the day of reckoning. The couple arrived in the lobby and notified the doorman. Minutes later, the board president emerged in his most deceptively non-threatening business casual – blazer, no tie. And then he led them to the chamber, the hot house of potential-cohabitant inquisitions?the children’s playroom. "They made us all sit on tiny chairs," says FOC. "One dude was sitting in the children's castle."

In the end, they passed muster, knees firmly planted in chests. There was still more to be done (laundry-room closing, anyone?) but they had their apartment and they had their New York City apartment searching moment.

There are thousands of these moments every day in this city. At Curbed University, our new how-to, how-come, how-the-f*&k-did-that-happen division, we aim to share some of those moments and help you anticipate and learn how to deal with them. Along the way, we’ll encourage your feedback and stories, because god knows that there’s know way we’re tackling this alone.

In our first series, we’re going to break down the home-buying process. Every few days for the next few months, we’ll present a new lesson detailing a distinct portion of that process. When all’s said and done, we’ll have a full-fledged home-buying guide that will make you weep giant tears. First up, an inventory backgrounder to get your feet wet. Topics to be covered: co-op v. condo, pre-war vs. post-war, new construction v. existing building, and whatever else you tell us to add between now and then. (As always, you can find us at Or drop a note in the comments.)

Class is officially in session.
· Curbed University [Curbed]