Sunday, March 16, 2008

Today's Meet and Greet

So after what felt like months of waiting, Amanda and I finally had our board meeting today. Like most experiences, it was kind of surreal, since 90% of your day to day is routine and doesn’t have as much impact as a meeting like this does.

We had to be in Brooklyn at 9:30 in the morning and wanted to be sure there were no hiccups, so we woke up pretty early. Like 6:45…on a Sunday. Luckily, we had taken it easy the night before, both falling asleep around 11pm. Ok, that’s not entirely true. We tried to go to sleep early but I could barely sleep.

I had spent a little bit of time talking with my broker about what and what not to say during the interview. We knew that we shouldn’t ask too much about things being fixed or our renovation ideas and just make sure we knew our financial information through and through. So we were feeling fairly confident going into the meeting, and I was very calm, up until about ten minutes before we go there, when I gave my broker a call. Just like before a big presentation, my head went blank, and I feared that most of my logical thought out responses were being sent to the back of my brain. That and I had just had a large cup of coffee.

The meeting was at our apartment building, which we hadn’t seen since we went with our contractor to check it out a few months ago. Luckily, not much had changed. We buzzed in and were greeted by the owners of the apartment 2, who were very nice and welcoming. They had bought into the building this past August and were relatively new; a young couple who appeared to be in their thirties. We also met the other neighbors: a couple (presumably in their 50’s) who lived on the top floor, and a woman who lived on the bottom floor. Everyone seemed affable and welcoming.

They had gotten coffee and bagels, but of course Amanda and I had already eaten so we got to talking. They first asked us how we ended up at the apartment. I said something that I don’t know if it made sense, but Amanda jumped in and told this beautiful story of looking around at different apartments, and searching until we finally settled on Brooklyn. When they asked how we knew we wanted to live in this building I told them the truth: It was kismet. From the moment we walked in to the apartment we could see ourselves living there. It was just a very powerful, visceral experience, and something that everyone else smiled and understood. We felt pretty good.

The meeting went really well. They asked us a few questions about being prepared “God forbid one of you gets hit by a bus” and if we are planning to get homeowners insurance. This was a fair question when you have a building with only 4 units. “Yes,” we answered, “we want to be prepared.”

We talked about our interests, our love of animals (I was this close to saying I hated cats, but caught myself thankfully), and our enthusiasm for moving to Brooklyn. They didn’t ask us about any plans for renovations, and were very forthcoming about the way the building operates. The interesting thing is that the building is very self-managed…they try to do things in-house as much as possible rather than have someone come in and fix things. This means they built their own deck on the roof, they sand doors and polish and stuff. They asked if we were handy (which we’re not), but we told them the truth, and that we were willing to learn. And willing to help. I feel that it could potentially be a good experience for the future when we buy our own house down the line.

We finished up the meeting after about 50 minutes, saying goodbye, and not having once to delve into our giant 15-pound bound notebook that contained all our financial files. Luckily, they had been very proactive in asking all the questions ahead of time so it really was a meet and greet.

Despite the informal nature of the interview, we realize it was in fact, still an interview, so despite everyone else wearing jeans and t-shirts, we’re glad we came dressed nicely.

This was a long entry, but hopefully tells the story well.

We should be hearing back very soon with the board’s decision.

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