A married couple contacted me because they wanted to move back into Manhattan after exiling themselves off into an apartment in Queens. Their request was for a 2-bedroom apartment price max at $4800/mo in either Upper West Side or the Upper East Side.
So, basically an under market priced rental since their request can easily start at roughly $5,200 per month. I receive a lot of below market price requests and I only accept someone if I know I can ferret out a good deal somewhere.
I knew that I could find “something” in their desired price range. The question for me in making this decision was whether I could find them a quality apartment. An apartment with a better landlord than the one they currently had (which they confessed was “super shady” at best); and an apartment that offered a decent quality of life.
I understood their desire to want to move back into what I call “The City.” Once you have lived in Manhattan (and this couple had once lived in Manhatttan) — well, no other borough or state compares. They also had a child and needed the extra room.
If they were willing to take an apartment in either a walk up or an elevator building their request price range was “doable.” However, their street parameters were crazy selective: “No further north than this, no further south than this." Add to this: they included a list of the most exclusive and sought-after schools in Manhattan.
And this is where I knew I had to be creative. The only way for them to get a place that would meet their needs was to introduce them to what is known as a “Convertible Two” aka “Junior Four.” For those of you who don’t know what this is — it is a larger one- bedroom apartment with a dining area that can be “converted” into a second bedroom.
These apartments tend to be in doormen buildings and in their desired neighborhood choices.
They loved the idea. It meant I had to explain temporary walls. It meant that I had to explain the landlord or management company does not put up a temporary wall for you. Some won't accept this partial separation at all. It meant I had to send them sample floorplans. But I was okay with all of these extra demands on my search. The goal was to get them enough space for their family within their budget.
And just when I thought “Great, we have a plan, I know which landlords have apartments like this and which ones will allow a "conversion." I began to compile my short-list of perfect apartments for them. However, instead of things getting clearer, getting better, the search went to hell.
I began receiving a barrage of emails from them full of addresses and links to apartment listings along with endless queries: “What do you think of this building, this owner, this management company?”
This is not what I do.
This is not how I help people find amazing apartments via my AptStar service.
Random apartment posts with questionable landlords (I tracked one of these down to an owner who had been convicted of raping an underage girl) — and so I had to slam the brakes and let them know that they were opening themselves up to the very real possibility of ending up with a landlord and an apartment that was on par or below their current apartment and their current "bad" landlord.
I narrowed down the apartment choice to one well run building on the Upper West Side and another older building on the Upper East Side.
They opted for the Upper East Side based on the school district and will be signing their lease tomorrow.
To request my help via my AptStar Program, please visit my AptStar website.