Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cathartic (Apartment) Cleansing





What you are gazing upon above is a "before and after" snapshot (click on images to see closer shots) of two days spent cleaning out our apartment. It's Christmas break (feels like we are back in college) and we decided to take advantage of it by beginning the process of cleaning out our closets (both literally and figuratively) of everything that we will and won't be taking with us to the new apartment. (Never mind you that we will be staying with her parents for a few months as we decided to pass on renewing our lease and instead opt for living with the 'rents' in order to save some dough).

The blessing and curse of our current apartment is the unbelievable amount of closet space it afforded us. Of course, it also afforded us the opportunity to save everything and just throw stuff everywhere (as you can see by the before picture of our master closet). As our new apartment doesn't have nearly as much space and knowing that we have tons of crap we don't really need, we used this exorcising exercise as an opportunity to be brutal and get rid of EVERYTHING we don't need. Amanda found herself saying goodbye to old purses, outfits, shoes, makeup, cards, and more. I was tasked with going through our book collection and discovering just how much crap we had that 1)we never read and 2)read and would not only never read again, but would be embarrassed as to have part of our permanent collection. So with that, i went through the books, organizing and creating piles, and found a nice selection of about fifty that we can soon donate to a local salvation army or library (whoever does pickups gets the books!) In organizing everything (especially the books, we even created a section of the closet that is dedicated to books that have yet to be read, we both agreed that we wouldn't buy any new books until we've read all the ones that we own...for me that's about 20, for her it's about 3), we discovered that moving and packing will be much easier, as everything is organized and just needs to be boxed.

There is something cathartic in cleaning your apartment, forcing yourself to say goodbye to things that you think you want, but realize you don't. It also gives you a chance to go through all your old things: pictures, love letters, short stories, childhood memorabilia, that you only look at when you are moving and won't look at again until the next time you do. Sometimes, you find the unexpected, like my grandfather's old porno collection from the 1960's that look like a laugh-in factory photo shoot as done by Hugh Hefner's camera lens.

But despite the dust you inhale and the inevitable allergic reactions (if one is so prone), it is a truly wild experience where you are forced to ask yourself: what do i really need? Is this really important? Am I EVER going to use this, look at this, read this, wear this, think of this again? For the majority of what we did, the answer was actually no.

Before this weekend I was a little freaked out about the actual move (I'm still freaked out about the whole construction and co-op application thing), i now feel like it will pretty seamless as we know that everything we are taking are things that we actually want to take.

And for the record, we each did keep a little box of random things that we don't know what to do with, but we're keeping anyway.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tailor Made



Jeez, I hope no one else got my vague I love New York 2 (electric bugaloo?) reference. It's just so sad that this is what my life has been reduced to. It's not even my fault, I go to the gym to work out and it's just ALWAYS on TV.

Amanda and I paid a visit to our new pad this weekend to do some measurements and what not. Since I'm about as handy with any type of tool as a border collie, Amanda's dad did most of the measuring and I did most of the 'holding' of the other side of the measurement.

We also brought our resident in-house designer, Ron, who works with Amanda and has an incredible eye, to take a first look at the apaartment. He and Amanda started to plot the layout of the furniture, and debate the placement of a new, large flatscreen TV. I'm still praying for my recliner/lazy-boy. (Which might possibly happen-ok, it probably wont).

After we did all the measurements, our potential contractor stopped by to take a look at the apartment. We showed him the bathroom that is going to be gut renovated, and the plus room which will be made into our dressing room. We discovered we might actually be able to expand the bathroom into the closet of the second bedroom, which although would cost more money, would certainly make the apartment more valuable in the long run. And who does't want a bigger bathroom?? We also discovered more places that we could do some fixing up, such as the kitchen, and my head started to spin as the dollar signs added up in my head. More info on that to come later.

The good news about our contractor is that he is actually a tenant in the building that Amanda's company owns, so should he not do a good job, rent might suddenly go up, u hurr?

anyhow, that was our weekend. we came back to the city, checked out the crafts fair at Bryant park (pic above), and then saw Into the wild on Saturday night, and I am legend on Sunday. Into the wild was great, although we knew how it was going to end, and I am Legend was a little disappointing, but an intriguing movie none the same.

Visiting Park Slope early on a Saturday morning was fantastic. We couldn't believe how quiet it was, how peaceful. We loved Ozzie's on 5th ave, an independent coffee house, complete with yummy baked goods, wanted/for sale leaflets, and condoms (yes, they had condoms near the condiments...ha!) The vibe was just perfect, and as we walked up the street to our apartment, we knew that no matter what cosmetic changes we made to our apartment, we would love life in BKLYN no matter what.

Seacrest out......

Monday, December 10, 2007

A picasso or a garfunkel...


So while there isn't much to report just yet, (after Amma's friend does the CAD sketch next week we'll upload for you all to see), this weekend, while fighting through a sinus and ear infection (plus the possibility of strep throat, I'll find out tmw for sure) we went to this crafts/christmas fair down in union square, while on our way to see Juno (awesome movie btw, trailer below), and found this awesome art work that we bought for our apartment! It's a hybrid of photography and graphic design, which is really really cool. We bought 4 pictures, one of which is posted at the top of this posting, which as you can see is a day time photo of a city skyline with stars superimposed below. (Be sure to take note, as your kids will one day ask you what it was like to see the stars from the sky). I fell in love with this instantly.

The other three photos, which we bought as a set to be displayed as three consecutive images, are of trees, that instead of leaves, have been altered to look like a kaleidoscope of pinwheels. They are very very cool, and the only reason they aren't posted is that when i tried to take a photo of them, they came out poor, and since we won't frame them until we move, i did not feel like removing them from the plastic. (If you REALLY want to imagine what they look like, imagine yourself in Amsterdam, having ingested some foreign substance, and then talk a walk among the trees. How's that? ) Either way, they are awesome, and we are both really excited. The designer/photographer, unfortunately did not give us a card, and of course we have both forgotten his name...so for the moment if you want to see their work, you'll have to come to our house...in April.

Not much else to report right now...the contracts are signed and the down payment made. As of now, it looks like we probably won't move in until may or even June, as we have decided that we will have to redo the bathroom since it is stuck in the 70's and takes us back to our visits to Forest Hills and the land of the Golden Girls. We will keep you all posted as that moves along too.

That's all for now...enjoy the Juno trailer and definitely go and see.
Seacrest out!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Not much to report but still...

well we are in a holding pattern for now. The contracts are signed an the deposit has been made. So now we are going to begin getting things in order for the co-op board, which brings us to a funny article that we found in new york magazine this week. You can find the original link here, http://nymag.com/realestate/realestatecolumn/41526/

But we’ve also cut and paste below. Enjoy!




Getting the offer accepted is, strange as it sounds, often the easy part. It’s passing muster with the co-op board that’s tough. Assembling a killer package is key, of course (stellar references, wad of cash in the bank). Then comes the interview—and by this point, it’s your game to lose. “Ninety-five percent of the work has been done. The 5 percent is up to you, and that’s a very important 5 percent,” says Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Jacky Teplitzky. Most rules are standard—arrive early, dress conservatively—but brokers say some strategies appear counterintuitive. Take name-dropping. Though it may seem advantageous to mention friends in the building, agent Alison Rogers, author of Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, says skip it, unless you’re certain they’re adored by their neighbors. “You may score points with some, but annoy others who may not like them,” she says. In fact, steer clear of talking about anything specific about the building in general (the new fitness room or the chatty doorman). Those are what Corcoran’s Deanna Kory calls “hot points.” The gym could have come at a massive and controversial hike in maintenance; that doorman may be on his way out. “Somebody on the board may hate [them],” she explains—and your innocent enthusiasm will leave a bad taste in their mouths. Samantha Kleier Forbes of Gumley Haft Kleier once had a buyer, hoping to look interested in the future of the co-op, ask if the lobby was scheduled to be renovated. Unfortunately for him, the lobby had just been done over. “The board meeting is never the time to ask these questions,” she says.

Served on the board of your old building? Resist touting your accomplishments. “That’s a big N-O!” says Teplitzky. No one likes a braggart, for starters, and you may unnerve board members who like things the way they are. And though it may seem smart to dress to the hilt to gain entry to a chic co-op, Bellmarc’s Cayle White recommends leaving the diamonds and Birkin bag at home. “You don’t want to look like you’re trying to look rich. It’s very ostentatious and gauche,” she says. “Your financial information speaks for itself.” And, says Kleier Forbes, “you don’t want to look like someone who’ll steal someone else’s husband. No one’s ever been turned down for looking boring.”

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life...


So…

We got our inspector’s report back, although frustratingly it took a little while longer than expected. This caused a minor panic on the part of our sellers who were worried that something was wrong. This irregardless of the fact that the inspector we used was one recommended to us by both brokers (ours and theirs). I guess there were other buyers in the wings whose offers were on the table until Friday…regardless, the contracts were signed this morning, and our down payment check is processed on its way (bye bye moolah!)

So needless to say this is real. This baby is happening whether we want it to or not. (just quoting Paul Rudd in knocked up).

We are excited, and once this is taken care of, most of the work is done..it’s all legally binding so we now have an apartment!!

Next steps will be to do some measurements and start planning (that’s all Amma). We also have to figure out if we are extending our lease or crashing with the mitt man rents or what not!

That’s all for now!

PS...long day yesterday so my image searching skills are a little off their game

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I pity the inspector

We are still waiting for our inspector's report...so in the meantime, here's something funny...just b/c years ago matt wrote commercials with this fool!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pictures Pictures Pictures!

As Amma and I watch Biggest Loser (Kaye looks pretty hot), I have been delegated the task of uploading and commenting on the pics listed below. Some you have seen (living room, kitchen), some are small things that I thought were cool (can you say key box!), and some were purposefully hidden on the corcoran website (um, bathroom?).

Also wanted to show the view from the roof and the garden which is pretty amazing. I realize now that we didn't get too many pictures of the "+" room, but that is OK...it has officially been demarcated as Amanda's dressing room...

Anyhow...next steps are continuing on with the lawyer process...although we found out that a friend of ours as a house-warming gift is going to come and measure the apt and enter it into CAD, which is a program that will show us a virtual layout. Since we have months to go, this will give Amanda and the design kids a chance to come up with a kick ass layout...(I'm still hoping for a recliner (a.k.a. lazy boy).

Until next time...

PS: For higher-rez versions of the pictures, just click on them individually.



Please don't take our chandelier!


Well we went to the inspection today and let me say it is quite a process. It's interesting to go and meet with a guy who points out the good and bad about your apartment. Our guy was a little pot-bellied man with grey hair who took a lot of time to make sure everything was great. The good news is that our apartment on the whole is in great shape. There are a few concerns (minor asbestos in the basement, new safety gate for second bedroom, and awful sink and color scheme of bathroom!) but for the whole we are really in great shape.

I just sent a long list of the things to our broker so I guess next steps are talking with the sellers and negotiating the deal.

Funny note: Most of the stuff is staying in the apartment but the one thing the seller is planning to take is an old family heirloom, a chandelier. We kind of smiled to ourselves as that would be the first thing we'd get rid of (enclosed pic on top).

We took more pictures today than you will want to see, and they'll get posted a little later. IN the meantime, here's a short video a took of the shelves which proves that 1)This apartment is really cool and 2)I'm a big dork.
video

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Where's Penny?



Ok, over the weekend you probably stayed up late on Saturday night wondering, "what are Amanda and Matt's next steps?"

Well, since you asked...i'll tell you...on Tuesday Matt is going with dad-in-law to meet with the inspector. If he approves, then we move on to the next of 300 steps.

anyway...till then...

Friday, November 16, 2007

HOT DATE!

As Matt just posted, we've been dealing with a lot lately. This is our first foray into being adults, and we're scared, anxious, nervous, naive, and PUMPED!
However, we havent really celebrated yet, so tonight, my hubby and I are having a delicious dinner at Riingo (http://www.riingo.com/).
I'm wearing a hot outfit, getting my hair did, and all will be perfect. Cheers!

And now the fun begins...


So while searching for an apartment is fun and exhausting, and frustrating and exhilarating (hence the name of this blog), nothing quite compares with hearing that you got the apartment of your dreams. Needless to say we’re psyched.

Amazingly, almost immediately though, the not-so-fun part begins.

I’ll recap the past 24 hours for you.

10am: Receive the call from broker we got the apartment.
10:15-relay info to Amma.
10:15-1030: post win celebraton.

1045-11. Talk to Broker
Call Mortgage Broker
Contact Lawyer
Contact Inspector
Recontact broker regarding mortgage broker, lawyer and inspector.

The list goes on and on.

But, we have good people working with us, family friends which means we feel safe. After all, we know where they live!

That’s all for now…

This clip could very well be what meeting the co-op board will be like…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What a difference a day makes

Ok, nothing new to write since earlier...but now this is what we had to say to all the other bidders...

America...F**K Yeah!






































Well, as you can tell by the barrage of beautiful imagery (beaver with guns…Freudian?) we have great news.

The call came in this morning around 10: 30 that we have officially gotten the apartment! We beat out 2 other fools and it’s ours baby…

Busy morning so more details later…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Going Once, Going Twice....

No, it's not sold yet!

We put a second offer on the apartment...we went way higher than the first bid, and
came up with what we think was a smart price, as was advised by our broker. (our broker, not the seller's broker, b/c that would be dumb for us to listen to her). We're waiting to see if the other couple is going to counter, and we'll probably hear back tmw. We also found out that our financials are better than the other couple's (um, BOO YAH!) so perhaps that will contribute to the decision.

We also found out that the couple would want to move in a few months, around May. That actually would work better for us, as we could save some major moolah by crashing with my parents for a few months until we would move.


So, basically...we're just waiting. And really trying to keep ourselves busy in the meantime!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Poop

Ok, this isn't meant to be misleading. We got the other bid in and we are going to counter. But we just feel like saying b/c this other couple made a bid, regardless of who they are, they are in fact, a poop head.

Waiting sucks

Amma and I are wiating to hear back from this other bidder.

So in the meantime, I wrote a little Hauiku

We are waiting.
Waiting sucks.
It sucks big time.

Anyone know a publisher? ( i Do not care if it matches the write number of syllables and what not!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's a reason why...

this blog is called apartment hunting sucks, apartment hunting rocks.

It rocks when you find an apartment you love, and you think you're only the bidder only to dsicover that there's another mother F**ker in the mix.

Love!Valor!Pain!Compassion!Misery!

Anyway, this was how I felt when I got a call from our broker saying there's another bidder in the mix.(Really just the first moment when you know who shows up...but the rest of the clip is comedy).

The Bid is on (updated)

(Update: I found the song/video i was referring to earlier. Enjoy!)

Ok, I don’t know if this is the song I’m thinking of, I’m thinking of the one from Beverly hills cop 2. Anyway, we have put in a bid for a second property that is actually much better than the one we didn’t get. Karma on our side…we will see.

It will be interesting to see what happens on this, as the owners are anxious to sell, and already have a new apartment they bought. I think they might be double dipping so it’s curious to see how much they will take below asking price. I’m sure they wont take our first offer, but that’s where the games begin…



Here are some pics in case you are wondering what this place looks like.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New apartment Part 2


So just a quick update.

Went today to take a second look at the apartment in the daytime, (although it was 415pm and not really 'daytime'). Think the apartment is a keeper.

Amanda's mom checked it out and gave it the thumbs up. Of course, i thought she didn't like it, and i probably overcompensated by saying (in front of the seller, faux pas i learned...yoni forgive me) what we could do with it. when the seller walked away, she politely told me that i can't get too excited or the seller will tell the owners that we are dying to have it, etc etc, so in other words she told me, 'shut the F up' it was a good lesson, that like with job interviews and everything else, it's all a poker game.

anyhow...A and I were talking and we think we are going to put a bid on the place. It will definitely need some work, but it's a great find. We also think that if we got a bid accepted, by the time everything went through, it would be only a few weeks (month at most) before our lease ends so we would hopefully have no overlap.

We also are taking some comfort that although we are not getting the condo, at least we wouldn't have to sink another $20-40 grand on top of the deposit down due to transfer taxes.

OK...off to the races. Tmw I'm going to go check out a few open houses just to see what else is out there. these are supposedly comparable to what we have in our sights so hopefully this will only confirm the feeling that this is the right place to go. Amma is out of town this weekend on business so I'm out and about.

BTW, for all 3 of you who read this thing, if and when we do get our apartment, fret not...the blogging will continue as we deal with bidding, contracts, meeting the board, renovations, and more...giving us a chance to write more inane yet mildly amusing anecdotes for you to read.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Daylight Savings Time


So you’re probably asking why I have a photo of Spy vs. Spy here, and perhaps how does it correlate to the subject header. It’s quite simple if you haven’t figured it out…ok, maybe not that simple.

The photo merely represents a mirror image, and I couldn’t find a photo (or was just to lazy to look) of the same location taken during the day and at night. My point in all this is merely to say that this weekend we’re taking another look at the apartment in the daytime, to see how it looks with natural light. However, it is closer to 415, and my only concern is that it might start to get dark and we won’t get the real impression of it as it might be at noon or 1pm (get the title reference now…daylight savings time screws up everything huh?), but at least we can get a picture of how the apartment looks when it’s not under the soft hum of a neon glow.

If all goes well, Amma will come back next week after a business trip with her dad, and we may very well put a bid on this sucka.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

In talks


Negotiations are under way for the new apartment that was visited last night by Matt and Amma. By negotiations, i simply mean we saw something we dug, and now are figuring out the practicalities and numbers.

OK, Matt, that doesn't really help us. It's actually quite boring. OK, 'third person who doesn't exist but is actually Matt talking to himself with air quotes (Aside: loser), here's the details.

This was our first time going to Park slope during the week, and especially after work. We wanted to get an idea of what the commute would be like and see what Park slope feels like after a work day. Now, of course we left work at 4pm, so maybe it wasn't completely accurate, but we got the general idea. The commute itself wasn't bad, I came from west 50 and 9, and Amanda from 59 and 3. Coincidentally, we both met up on the N express, getting there around the same time. There seems to be a million ways down there, so it's not bad at all. We were both able to sit and read, but I'm curious if that is possible during rush hours (feel free to jump in you brooklynites).

It was a cold brisk night. And thanks to daylight savings time, we got there just as the light was getting dark. We got to the apartment, and our broker was there, but didn't go up with us because he was allergic to the cats. (We are too, but figured if we were going to buy an apartment, perhaps we should look even despite). Our broker seems to be allergic to many things, like gluten and god knows what else. anyway.

A quick note: we were bummed we didn't get the last apartment, but we now realize it as a blessing in disguise. this apt is a true brownstone.

we saw the third floor (although the stairs were short) 2 bedroom apartment. It was great. It had a huge living room that fit a grand piano, plus a separate room for a dining table. The recently redone kitchen was open, and had a nice feng shui about it. The place had all the original molding, and the windows in the living room actually still had the original fold out shutters which was a nice touch. There was a washer and dryer, one bathroom (one of the things i wasn't crazy about), and nice closet space. the master bedroom was really great, with a faux fireplace (oh yes, one in the living room too, can u say digital flat screen mounted above?) Attached to it was a "+" room which can't be called a third bedroom but essentially is. it is connected to the master room via french doors and is currently being used by the owners as a room for their second child. Amanda saw it and proclaimed that at long last she found her dressing room. That's actually important as their are no closets in the master bedroom. this might be the deal breaker for her.

The second bathroom is a standard second room, small for sure, but great for an office, and eventually a baby's room. it also has a tin roof ceiling in that room which Amanda totally digs. It's also neat b/c of all the original molding and what not, and each room has a glass panelling at the top of the door which is really unique.

Overall, it's about 1100 sq feet and much bigger and inhabitable then previously mentioned apartment. Interestingly enough, it's been on the market a while and previous open houses has brought about no offers, and we know these guys are motivated to leave as they have another place in the works. So next steps are for us to bring the folks to take a look at, and then who knows...might be time for bid #2.

I also forgot to mention that for dinner we went to a new vegan restaurant (I don’t know how I get convinced to go to these places) and it was just awful. I ate the “meat lasagna” which was honestly just nasty and heavy. We were going to go to what was called the holy grail of Park slope…but instead got to enjoy this delightful attempt to create a place that both vegans and non-vegans can co-exist, by giving non-vegans the illusion that they are eating real food. Unfortunately, for me (and my gastric system, it just didn’t work out).