My previous two posts in this series outlined the difficulties in finding available apartments on Craigslist and how finding these rentals is very much like dating. Once in a while though, after hours of tedious searching, frustrated tears and empty threats to ‘move back home’, the New York gods will look down on you and grant you your own slice of the delicious real estate cake.
This is what eventually happened to me. It did take visits to dodgy apartments down Avenue A in the dead of the night (I survived) and hours of scrolling through various websites, but after a couple of weeks, everything fell into place.
It started with three emails to the same listing, each worded slightly different from the last. The girl subletting her room had received 40 emails within hours of posting the advertisement, but luckily, a catchy subject line managed to cut through the avalanche of emails she received. Something along the lines of “Pick Us! 2 Fun and Responsible Australian Girls Looking for Rooms”.
When we eventually arranged a time for me to visit the apartment, I was apprehensively excited. I arrived to the building and tentatively pressed the buzzer, my mind going crazy with how to make myself look like the subletter sent from heaven to answer everyone’s prayers.
It turns out the apartment and the girls leasing it out were actually the answer to my prayers. Not only did the building boast a rooftop, a laundry room and an elevator (gasp) but the apartment itself was exactly what you envision living in when you arrive to NYC.
Exposed red brick walls encased a loft style apartment with high, raked ceilings and real wooden floors (none of this fake parkay nonsense). There was a loft style sleeping space with industrial features I knew my stylist friend would fall in love with. The girls were friendly, open but most importantly – my gut instinct told me they could be trusted.
I was somewhat apprehensive of the loft style of the apartment, meaning no doors or clearly separated rooms. But hey, that’s all part of the New York experience – a complete lack of privacy.
My friend and I decided to go for it and we haven’t looked back. We are each paying roughly $1100 each before utilities and live right near Battery Park City and all the subway lines. It is pretty much perfect.
I think the biggest factor attributing to our very own rental success story was the decision to follow our gut instincts and our ability to recognize that if something didn’t feel right, it probably wasn’t. The girls in our apartment offered to show us their lease to prove they weren’t overcharging us and were upfront with the answers to our questions.
They also drafted a sublease contract and were flexible about payment options. The sublease contract gave both parties peace of mind through outlining the conditions of the sublease, the amount of money exchanged and the time period initially agreed upon for the sublease term.
It took a while to get there, but it’s true that anything worth having isn’t going to come easy. My top tips for securing the Craigslist apartment would be to trust your instincts, brainstorm creative ways to stick out in the crowd and ask questions of your future roomies. Bring along our apartment checklist to help you and happy searching!