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Looking for Apartments, Update 4

This article was written by in Uncategorized. 22 comments.


Last time, I mentioned my girlfriend and I had our eyes set on The River Club in Edgewater, NJ. We saw that apartment this weekend, and this is what we learned.

The price for this one-bedroom apartment seems to be going up daily. An internet listing that was several months old stated the monthly rent was $1,599. A more recent listing said $1,700. When I called last week, I was quoted $1,779. And finally, when visiting the complex, the least expensive apartment was $1,799. We felt like we were being scammed.

The River Club wasn’t great. Some units had a nice view of New York City across the river, but we weren’t impressed with anything substantial. IThe only benefit would be that no security deposit would be needed, because my current apartment is owned by the same corporation.

Additionally, the “word around town” is despite the River Club’s attempts at security, there have been numerous break-ins recently. The girl who was showing us around avoided our questions about security. Thankfully, the River Club wasn’t our only visit. It was a good thing we also took the time to see another apartment.

Last week, I followed up with a listing for a one bedroom apartment for $1,540. This was the least expensive we’ve been able to find in the location we needed. With my expectations low, I asked for more information from the listing agent.

The apartment is above a store. I was immediately reminded of one time I lived above a bodega. It was a horrible place, with roaches and other insects as the primary tenants who only allowed me to share their space. Nevertheless, we decided it would be worth it just to see.

At 855 square feet, this apartment is significantly larger than the one at the River Club. It includes underground parking for one car and parking lot spaces for any others. It includes wall-to-wall carpeting, which I like better than hardwood floors, and a huge walk-in closet in the large bedroom. The kitchen is about twice as large as my current kitchen, and the appliances are new.

The dining room/living room area is a little smaller than my current apartment.

We will also have to pay no realtor’s fee and the first month’s rent is waived. That’s a significant money saver. There is a downside. Although they originally told us the apartment would be available July 1, we later found out — when we were ready to complete the application — that the current tenants would be moving out on July 1 and the apartment wouldn’t be ready for several weeks after that.

I felt scammed yet again. Still, the apartment is the best we’ve seen at a great price, so I’ll have to adjust my move-out date in my current apartment. As far as being above stores, the apartment is in a 64-unit building whose ground floor contains a Men’s Wearhouse, Annie Sez, and similar non-food-related retail spaces. Within the apartment, everything was very clean. I’d be surprised if we’d find any bugs at all.

Staying in my current apartment beyond the extent of my lease will carry a penalty charge. I’m not looking forward to that.

Updated July 16, 2010 and originally published June 5, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar FMF

You need to seriously look at moving to another area of the country. For the amounts you’re paying in rent, you could BUY a great HOUSE in 90% of the country.

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avatar brett

Good heavens!!!

I tend to think things are not substantially cheaper for me than in other areas of the country. But apparently housing costs are.

You’re apparently excited about $1,540 / mo for no equity, no tax deductions, and a small space . . .

My $1200 / mo mortgage for a 3-bedroom house in Tucson, AZ suddenly seems like a steal despite the brutal summers.

Not sure what my point is other than a general sense that everything seems to be high-priced these days (energy costs (thank heavens we have solar panels) prices for consumer goods, costs of housing, etc.).

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Amy’s family lives in New York City and she wants to stay nearby. Moving away is not an option yet.

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avatar ib

good luck with the apt hunt and decisions!

i think criticism (from others) of your chosen living area is unfair. you also tend to get paid more in that area than places where property is cheaper. owning isn’t for everyone ALL of the time, either.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Thanks, ib. I had written a longer response to that issue than what I posted right above your comment, with regards to teacher’s salaries in NYC being above the cost of living index. I decided to go with the shorter response.

When it comes down to it, we have our reasons for staying in the NYC for the time being. That doesn’t mean we will stay forever, but I think people often forget there are considerations other than financial to any major decision in life.

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avatar kyle

I agree with ib. NYC housing is more expensive, but the salaries are generally higher to reflect that.

Also, I used to live there when they first built those apts. I paid $1700 so maybe prices have decreased. It’s great, since it’s next to Whole Foods (though not cheap) and right on the bus line into NYC. My biggest complaint there was that the walls were really really thin. I can hear my neighbors upstairs and next door. Otherwise, it’s a clean apt. If you need info on the area, email me. Good luck!

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Thanks, Kyle. We’ll probably do most of our grocery shopping at the Pathmark which should have lower prices and more selection than Whole Foods, but with its proximity, we might stop by once in a while.

The walls seemed thicker than those at the River Club, but thickness by itself can’t really determine how sound travels. I have loud neighbors now, and anything will likely be better. If not, we can semi-soundproof with fabric. I may even be able to get my hands on soundproofing material which we can hide behind that fabric.

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avatar Hazzard

Flexo,
I don’t envy you for having to rent. I think the most positive moment in my adult life was moving to a place that was mine (okay, well, I suppose it was the banks but it was at least a percentage mine). I liked being able to improve the place and really liked not having someone living above or below me.

That being said, I still had some terrible neighbors off and on that brought back memories of apt life. Hope you get the apt you want!!
Hazzard

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avatar Matt

Nice blog. I’m just starting my own personal finance blog. Keep up the good work.

http://roadtoretirement.blogspot.com

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avatar andy

Re: the price changes. When you were quoted the prices, did you give them your name, so that they knew you were the same person coming back each time (and had it on record)?

This practice will become more and more common in the near future. Apartment management companies are constantly looking for the best price they can get for a given unit – a price that can change on a daily basis based on market conditions, availability, etc. It’s called a “Lease Rent Optimizer” program and is modelled after the airline industry’s fare pricing system (ever notice on Expedia that the same flight on the same day will come up different prices on consecutive days you search?).

However, if you are quoted a rate on a particular day, and they record that the contact took place and what price was quoted (which they should do, if they’re doing things right), then your first quote should be the price you pay.

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avatar Denise

this looks nice place to live, but in the other hand there should be a lot of noise as the road is next to houses. if i were you i’d prefer another apartment for rent.

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