If you’re trying to work out where to live in NYC, check out one New Yorker’s experience moving from the Upper East Side to a converted 2BR in Hell’s Kitchen. Find out about the search, the apartment, what the neighborhood’s like and advice for negotiating a deal.
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Kelly Kreth, 42, publicist and freelance writer.
Broker’s fee: 15 percent of annual rent ($3,600).
Deposit: One month’s rent, plus $500 refundable pet fee.
Moved in: March 2012.
THE SEARCH: “I had been living on the Upper East Side on York Avenue for seven years, but I never really liked it. It’s far from the subway and somewhat off the beaten path, but the real deal breaker came when I started having a Peeping Tom,” says Kreth. “After he began contacting me, I was so freaked out that I knew I had to move. I’m a real-estate publicist, so I put the word out to clients and friends in the industry. I checked StreetEasy daily, went around with a broker and saw 30 apartments. I ended up seeing my current place through a broker I found on Craigslist.”
THE APARTMENT: “There’s a huge eat-in kitchen with brand new stainless steel appliances,” she enthuses. “When I moved in, I decided to use the 250-square-foot living room as my bedroom instead. I got permission to have a contractor take the closet out of the larger room so it could serve as my living room, and he made the smaller room into a walk-in closet and dressing area.”
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: “There are endless restaurants and bars to explore, especially on Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. I go to Tehuitzingo [695 Tenth Ave between 47th and 48th Sts, 212-397-5956] for $2.50 tacos, Je and Jo [515 W 47th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves; 212-967-4856, hello.jeandjo.com] for the best latte around, and the Press Lounge on Ink48’s rooftop [653 Eleventh Ave at 48th St; 212-757-2224, thepresslounge.com] for drinks and an almost 360-degree unobstructed view of the city.”
THE TRADE-OFF: “The biggest negative is that the building itself looks like a crack house. There are no bugs, but it’s very unappealing,” explains Kreth. “It’s also directly above a very noisy bar.”
HER ADVICE: “It was pretty nonnegotiable that I needed to pay $2,000 a month or less. I knew it was the one, but I almost walked out the door when I heard it was $2,200,” she recalls. “The broker told me to make a lower offer, but as a freelancer, it can be difficult to show what my actual salary is, and that I make 40 percent more than the rent. I told the building I would give them the full year’s rent up front if they lowered the price by $200 a month. It was a lot to pay at once, but it showed the owner that I would be a reliable tenant.”