Do You Like Old World Charm?

Apparently “old world charm” is broker-speak for “crappy and not renovated”.

Yes, a little over a week ago, we took the plunge and went apartment hunting in New York City. We flew in on a Thursday afternoon and had a quick (yet tasty) lunch at Niles, which is attached to the Affinia Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

We then made our way up to the Upper East Side to meet our broker where we looked at about a half a dozen places, none of which we liked. A couple of them were “works in progress” so it was difficult to get a sense of what it would look like when it was done. I mean, lady, I ain’t gonna shell out thousands of bucks without seeing the finished product. We couldn’t even see a couple of the other ones she had planned on since she could not get into them. At one point, she even asked us to give the key a try! Are you kidding me? Two other places had red flags – garbage bags in the hallway for one, while another had a notice from the ASPCA about the tenant’s multiple pets. And we did get to see a lovely (note sarcasm) one bedroom where the couple literally had their stuff stored in every nook and cranny (including clothes in bins on top of the kitchen cupboard).

The most decent place we saw was in Murray Hill – it was decent but still didn’t have all the things we wanted and its fire escape full of other people’s crap didn’t exactly instill comfort. Plus, they were asking us for $100 per person for a credit check and pulling that bullshit “you need to make 40x the monthly salary” routine. We were close to applying for it but thank God we didn’t.

The events of the day were discouraging to say the least but prompted me to wonder how this whole apartment broker in NYC setup is even legal. It’s complete bullshit. Some incompetent person shows you places (if they can get into them) without really knowing anything about the landlord, current tenant, or the place itself. Then they have the nerve to charge you an arm and a leg for a credit check and finally, if and only if your application is approved, you receive the privilege of spending a shitload of money on living in a tiny little apartment in Manhattan. Of course, there’s that little 15% you owe the broker on top of everything.

What a racket!!!!


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