Yes, I understand this is something I should've known already, but geezzz, for this past month and a half, I've been completely preoccupied and stressed out about moving.
Now, this was a big move for me. I was moving into my own place (yikes!) and moving out of the only neighborhood in New York I'd ever lived in (double yikes!). Plus, I was moving out of a huge (albeit crappy) three bedroom apartment and into a studio, hahahah. Helloooo downsizing.
But, I did it. I am now happily moved into a cute little studio apartment in an awesome dog-friendly building in Astoria. Now I am THE worst at making decisions and I like to wait until the last moment on things often, but I was able to pull off this move pretty smoothly. Here are some services and tips I found helpful through this awful process:
1. Checking out every shady listing on Craig's List or paying a hefty broker fee sort of seems like choosing the lesser of two evils. Guess what? There are other options.
- I signed up on Rent Direct New York. For about$200, you get 3 months of access to tons of legit, no-fee rentals throughout New York. You are assigned an agent that works with you to find listings that fit your needs and they have a midtown office if you want to meet face-to-face for more support.
The downside for me was that my search was very niche. I knew I wanted to live in Astoria (by this point, I'm a Queens girl I suppose...) and I was only willing to pay a certain amount. I didn't end up finding my apartment through Rent Direct, but the extra $200 was nothing compared to what I could've paid a broker and I liked having this service to fall back on.
- No-fee brokers do exist! I called on an apartment I saw listed on Craig's List and got connected with Anu Dutta. He became my broker and I didn't have to pay him a cent. Certain building management companies hire agents to show their apartments, but they pay him, not me. Anu was great. Extremely helpful and I now have a new gchat and facebook friend, ha.
2. Even if you're setting out on your own, bring other people with you to check out each apartment. I had a rotation of 4 different people that I'd bring along every time I made an appointment to see a place. That way if it ended up being a creepy landlord or a dump in the wrong area of town, I wasn't alone. And if I loved it, I had someone else to bounce ideas off of, and sometimes to bring me back down to Earth.
EX: "Yea it's an okay apartment, but open the window. You're right next to the train!" (as the apartment rumbled and a train went by)
EX: "Adrienne that place was a shoebox and smelled like kitty litter. You can do better."
3. You're never too old to ask for help from family. This was the first move where I didn't throw all my crap in trashbags the night before and make my boyfriend lug anything heavy. I needed to sort through things, pack things in -gasp- real boxes and do it ahead of time. I needed help and I realized it. Thankfully, american girl's dad, the ultimate american dad (He's a truck driver, loves classic rock and owns a Harley - case in point.) and the rest of the fam came out to Queens for the weekend to help. Dad and brother = my movers. Mom = cleaning lady and decorator extraordinaire. I couldn't have done it without them.
And now, I'm settled and happy in Astoria. No more Angelo's (although I did celebrate with the family there one last time), now it's all about the Brick Cafe. Moving on up and starting fresh. :)