Archive | Naive Renter RSS feed for this section

Spam Filtering on Craigslist (or How NOT to Get Swindled)

1 May

I got an email today from someone looking to sublet an NYC apartment this summer, and of course, I suggested good ol’ Craigslist.  There are more listings on that site than anywhere else (for the general public, anyway).  Plus, the lack of formality can make the site less stressful to use than real estate companies’ websites or other online apartment-finders.  Still, “the Craigslist method” of apartment hunting is riddled with problems, not the least of which is fake ads.  Craigslist pulls these fake ads down if they get flagged for removal by users, but it’s impossible to catch every offending post.  So, as a user, the best thing you can do is to learn what to watch out for.  In simply knowing the tell-tale signs of a fishy ad, you can save yourself tons of time and energy.  Who knows?  Maybe your search can be as painless as mine was when I moved to Harlem (the apartment I moved into was the first one and only one I saw).

Below, I’ve listed a couple of the signs of a scam.  Some of this may sound confusing, and that’s because the goal of scams IS to confuse you.  You might read by examples and go, “But wait, that doesn’t make any sense!”  You’d be correct, but people fall for these ads all the time, no matter how ridiculous they seem.  There is nothing straight-forward about what scammers do.  So, try to follow me here, as I describe the twisted logic of fake listings:

FAKE: If you buy a Louis Vuitton purse on Canal Street for $5, it ain’t Louis Vuitton. Hate to break it to ya.

Total fakeness #1:  The Misrepresentation

There are real estate companies – real ones and fake ones – that like to stretch the truth when posting on Craigslist.  One oft-used tactic is to mis-categorize listings.  Studios and junior-1s will be listed as 1BRs.  You might go to see a place that is called a 1BR on the listing, only to find out it actually doesn’t have a separate bedroom at all.

Another way for them to skirt reality is to include multiple apartment sizes within a building, on the same Craigslist ad, but only show the pricing of the least expensive size.  For example, an ad for a $1900 1BR in the Financial District might then show generic photos of a luxury building and say “offering studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms.”  When you call about the $1900 1BR listing you saw, they’ll say, “Oh, $1900 is for the studio.”

Here are two simple ways to avoid dealing with this bullsh*t:

  1. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.  If every 1BR that you’ve seen listed for the Financial District is at least $2500, then a $1900 listing for the same size unit in the same area is probably not legit.
  2. If you see a real estate company with oodles of listings that look virtually identical (all in the exact same format and showing the exact same photos), but vary in price and wording, be skeptical.

FAKE: This body type is not real. No one is shaped like this. Not even Princess Kate Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton Windsor. Damn close, but no cigar.

Total fakeness #2:  The Imaginary Apartment (aka the send-me-money scam)

I once watched an episode of the A&E show Intervention, wherein a man’s addiction to prescription drugs led him to make horrible choices (as with all the folks on that show).  This including making the choice to send money to scam artists.  He was addicted to sending money to lunatics in other countries who told him he’d won something.  Until I saw that episode, I had no idea that anyone fell for “send-me-money scams.”

But people do fall for money scams.  That’s why the scams still exist.  And Craigslist is a great place for scammers to prey on the naïve.  It’s a smart ploy, too.  First time apartment hunters, and people hunting for apartments in new cities, are often stressed out by the process and under-informed.

Do yourself a favor here:

  1. If you don’t know much about the city you’re moving into, use a realtor.  Try to find an agent who comes recommended by a friend or colleague.  If you don’t know anyone in the area, talk to multiple realtors to get a feel for how far your money will go in a given neighborhood.  This is what realtors are there for.  It is worth the money to avoid getting ripped off.
  2. If you live in the city and you’re just looking for a new apartment, nothing should be taken care of over the phone.  Go see all apartments in person.  Get a business card from the showing agent and look for their website online to confirm that they’re legit.  Do not send any money to anyone.  A lease signing should be done with the building management company or landlord, and the agent showing you the apartment should be involved in the process.  Checks should be handed over in person.

FAKE: The tooth fairy. No one except your mother would pay money for your baby teeth

There are a few things to look for when scanning Craigslist for your new apartment.  Here are some warning signs that can serve as quick red flags to potential listing problems:

  1. No phone number.  Listing agents want to get their apartments rented, so they definitely want you to call them.  99 times out of 100, they’ll list their cell phone number.  If you don’t see a phone number, this might mean something fishy is going on.
  2. @aol.com email addresses.  If the anonymous Craigslist email address is replaced with a generic personal email address, you may be staring at a scam listing.  Realtors will often include their work email in their listings, which will be easily recognizable, but if the sole contact email is a generic address, check the listing a bit more closely to see if everything else seems legitimate.
  3. The cheapest price around.  If you’re looking for a 1BR apartment in Soho and everything you’ve seen has cost $2800/month, a random listing for $1500 is probably not real.

More to come on Craigslist.  I’ll tell you about how realtors actually use the site and give you some info on wording, photos, and neighborhood names.  But for now, at least you can keep from falling victim to people who can only waste your time.  Apartment hunting on your own can feel like a full-time job, especially if you’re working with a deadline.  Taking heed to the points I listed here can filter out bad listings fast.

Anyone ever fallen victim to a Craigslist scam?  Anyone stealthily avoided scams?  If it was up to me, you’d be able to “cross listings off” of your search results, if you didn’t like them or if they seemed fake.  That way you could narrow down your search on the spot and not spend time scrolling through junk.  Craigslist creators, are you reading this?  Help a girl out!

Images:  (1) Flickr-wilrocka, (2) Flickr-HelgeThomas, (3) Flickr-Brad.Coy

How’s It Shakin’, Harlem?

14 Apr

My stories about moving seem to have gone on much longer than the actual move, itself!  Done with moving posts – I promise (for the moment!).  Now, on to where I actually moved when I left Sunset Park.

When I decided to look for a new apartment, I was really intent on moving closer to my friends.  For a whole year it had taken me so long to get home when I went to friends’ houses.  Even my commute to work in midtown was over an hour long.  So, you can imagine how long it took to get home from wayyyyy uptown.  At the time, I had seven friends living in Harlem, and I decided that Harlem would be a great place for me, too.

A general map of the areas of Harlem. For those who don't know, Harlem IS on the island of Manhattan. For some odd reason there seems to be some confusion about that fact. See here, for yourself. That large green box in the center of the image is Central Park.

There were added bonuses, in addition to proximity to friends:

  1. My commute would be cut in half
  2. I’d be closer to Central Park, where I like to hang out during the warm months
  3. Metro North would be right around the corner, making for easier trips to see my family in CT
  4. Soul food.  ‘Nuff said.

TIP!: This doesn’t really have anything to do with real estate, but it does pertain to Harlem.  In lieu of the more expensive soul food restaurants, like Sylvia’s, try something just slightly off the beaten path.  For the most delicious food and very inexpensive prices, my two favorite spots were Miss Maude’s Spoonbread Too and the Red Rose Diner.  More to come on those two local eateries.

This place was my home away from home. If you try it out, give Damion (the manager) a hug for me and tell him I sent you.

My apartment search was very quick.  Well, in truth, I spent a lot of time on Craigslist (when DON’T I do that, though?).  But when it came down to it, I signed a lease on the first place I saw.  I walked in and loved the apartment, which happened to be just one block from the 2/3 subway line.  And while the cost was slightly more than I’d initially wanted to spend, my research told me that it was on par with other comparable apartments in the area.

The building had its own management company, and one of their agents showed me the unit.  It was being renovated with a new kitchen and bathroom when I went for my viewing.  I was excited about having a place that felt new, rather than my 100 year old brownstone.  I was very anxious to live in a complex with a management company, rather than a landlord.  Plus, the unit had a dishwasher AND a washer/dryer combo.  Can a girl ask for anything more?  Long story short:  I signed on the dotted line within a couple of days.

Standing in front of my new building and loving it.

TIP!: If you work one-on-one with a “no fee” landlord (one who would normally be willing to pay your realtor a one month OP), you may be able to negotiate a deal for yourself.  Since they’d otherwise be paying a realtor, why not have them pay you?  Ask for a half-month to 2 months worth of free rent, depending on the length of your lease.  Can’t hurt to ask, and if you sound confident in your request, I’d say you’d have a good shot!  I should have done this.

The complex I moved to is called Riverton Square.  It stretches from 135th Street to 138th Street and from 5th Avenue to the FDR Drive.  The feel of the grounds, buildings, and apartments is very similar to that of Stuyvesant Town in Lower Manhattan, and it was actually developed by the same company, back in 1944.  There were good and bad aspects of living there, which I will delve into in the coming posts.  But for now, here is the blank slate I was working with:

The grounds at Riverton.

The courtyard outside my building.

Click here to see my floorplan at Riverton, in Harlem.

Facing back toward the entryway of the apartment. Two closets on the left, as you walk in.

Walking in from the front door, the kitchen is on the left. All new stainless steel appliances. Woo woo!

Walking through the dining room.

Looking left into the living room.

From the mini hallway, the bedroom was on the left. Theres one more window that I couldn't fit into this shot, on the right.

The closets across from my bedroom. Beware of the innocent looking washer/dryer. Might seem like it would be a gift from the apartment gods, but it's more like a Trojan horse. More to come on that.

The bathroom was straight at the end of the hallway. Ooohhh, new tile!

Now, if you’re from out of town, this apartment may not look like anything grand.  But, again, by NYC standards, this is a very spacious abode.  As a single person, the apartment was an amazing size, and while my friends all lived close-by, 135th & Madison was an ideal location.  Slowly, though, some problems did rear their ugly heads.  We’ll get into all of that.  But first, bask with slightly-less-naïve-renter-Rebecca for a moment, in the glow of a new apartment.

Any Harlem fans out there?  Tell me what you love above 100th Street!

Images:  (1) WikiVoyage, (2) NYCGo, (3) Rebecca for Happy City Living, (4-6) Riverton Square, All others Rebecca for Happy City Living

Movin’ On Up

8 Apr

I now know that there are three options when moving apartments in the city.  When I was moving out of my Sunset Park apartment, I thought there were only two options.  I’ll tell you about those two first, so that you can see where my head was at the time.  You’ll have to wait with baited breath for the third option – the “right” option – until tomorrow.  Poor you.

So…Options 1 and 2:

The beauty of having lots of space in an apartment – an office, plus a catch-all room – as a single person is that you get the chance to accumulate lots of prized belongings unnecessary items.  Unfortunately, when it’s time to leave your palatial space, you have to move your monstrous pile of possessions into your new place.  Or you have to part with some of them, which I have a hard time doing.  Agent Owens tells me I’m a hoarder.  I’m actually not, but when I do spend my money, I buy furniture and home goods that I really love.  So, letting go of them if/when I downsize is always hard.

This is a red jewelery dresser I picked up at Pier 1. I used it to store candles (my house always has candles lit). Seriously, though, what kind of 20-something city-dweller has room for a random furniture piece like this? Yes, I had too much space for my own good.

When I moved out of Sunset Park, I moved up to Harlem, and joy of all joys, the place was big enough to hold almost everything I owned.  As my interwebs idol, Sherry, from Young House Love would say, “Oh happy day!”

So, once I secured my second “new” place (which I’ll tell you all about, if you stay tuned next week), I got down to planning my move.  In my brain, “moving” meant you boxed your stuff up and hired a big moving company to transport everything you own to your new digs.  Reasonable, right?  I thought so, too.  And off I went to call all the moving companies that advertised low rates on TV commercials.  Thought process:  How much could it cost to move an apartment?  Maybe like $300?  That’s kind of a lot, but, oh well!  Gotta do it!

  • R: Oh, hi.  I was calling to get a quote for moving my one bedroom apartment.
  • Moving company X: Ok.  Please list the items you need moved.
  • R: 1 couch, 1 overstuffed chair, 1 coffee table, 1 flatscreen, 1 TV stand, 1 tall lamp, 1 short lamp, 1 kitchen table, 1 bookshelf, 1 desk, 1 file cabinet, 5 chairs, 1 mattress, 1 box spring, 3 dressers, 1 vanity table, 2 large mirrors, 1 chaise lounge, 2 plants, 20 boxes…. (insert 50 more things I owned at the time).
  • Moving company X: That will be $900.
  • R: *GASP*
  • Moving company Y: $1000.
  • R: *GASP GASP*
  • Moving company Z: $100000000000.
  • R: Oh shit.

Not gonna work.  Ya know how in life they say you should have enough money saved up to cover you’re a$$ for three months?  Yea, well I didn’t have enough for one month, let alone an extra $1000 lying around.  Option 1, the hire-movers-like-they-do-in-the-movies method, was officially out.

Option 2 was decidedly more labor intensive, and it was all I had (because I didn’t know about the magical Option 3 at the time.  Poor me).  Option 2 was to rent a U-Haul, round up my friends and family, and move everything from apartment to truck to apartment, the old fashioned way.  Thank goodness I have nice friends and family who are always willing to help out!

The U-Haul option is cheap, as moving goes.  However, if you don’t have friends and family with some muscle and winning attitudes, you’re looking at a rough time.  Heck, even if they do have muscles and a winning attitude it’s not fun.  When my dream sofa (read about in in this post) arrived from Crate & Barrel, it was delivered by two lovely gentlemen who practically ran up my stairs with the furniture on their backs.  However, getting that dream sofa OUT of the old apartment and IN to the new apartment meant three people needed to hurt their backs.

The crew I had with me included:  my dad, my mom, Aunt Betty, and my friends Henry, Amber, and Joe.

My friends and I taking a beer break at 8:45 AM on moving day, in Sunset Park.

The plan was to rent the U-Haul in Connecticut, where my parents live, and where the cost would be lower.  My parents would make some trips out to Brooklyn the week before the move to transport as many items as possible to their suburban basement, and the night before the move, they’d load all those items into the truck, to save time on moving day (we’d be starting with a half loaded truck).  They’d then drive the truck down to Brooklyn on the morning of moving day, and we’d all load up the rest of the boxes and furniture, to cart all my worldly possessions to Harlem.

Now, you may be wondering, “Why the big rush on moving day?”  Well, moving in NYC is not like moving in the rest of the world.  If you are moving into or out of an elevator building, there are often time constraints because the elevators need to be shared by everyone in the building.  For instance, my building in Harlem required that tenants move between 9 AM and 5 PM, when the rest of the tenants would likely be at work or out of the house.  Since I was moving on a weekend, I was allotted a timeframe between 10 AM and 1 PM.

Obviously, we had to begin the move in Sunset Park quite early, in order to finish by 1 PM.  We began at 6:30 AM, and finished getting everything out of my old apartment by 8:45.  We then paused for beers and cold pizza – the breakfast of champions (see the photo above) – and we were on the road to Harlem by 9:15.  We arrived at the new building just before 10:00, and we were finished bringing everything upstairs just before 1:00.  If we hadn’t had 7 people working on the job, it may never have gotten done.  Well, that’s an exaggeration.  But it certainly wouldn’t have gotten done in our allotted time frame.

Loading stuff into the U-Haul on moving day, in Sunset Park. Looking surprisingly perky, given the time of day and the task at hand.

A pile of stuff waiting to go into the U-Haul. Yes, I filled a 17' truck to the brim.

Cramming into the cab of the U-Haul.

My dad and Henry, happy to have the U-Haul mostly unloaded in Harlem.

Relaxing for a minute after getting all my furniture into my new Harlem apartment.

The total cost for Option 2 – the U-Haul/DIY option – was about $250 in truck and gas fees.  Plus about $50 to nourish the helpers.  $300 for the whole kit and kaboodle was significantly less than the $900-$1 Gazillion I was quoted by the big moving companies.  However, I ate up seven people’s Saturday morning.  No good.

So, there you have it.  Option 1:  way too expensive.  Option 2:  cheaper, but exhausting.  I’m starting to feel like I’m presenting the three houses on House Hunters.  Ya know those episodes where the first two houses are SO wrong for the person, that you’re positive they’ll pick #3?  That’s where we are in the Happy City Living world.  No surprises; Option 3 is clearly the one I’ll pick.  But what could option 3 possibly be?  Stick around to find out!

Have any disastrous moving stories?  Enjoy beer and cold pizza before 9 AM?  Share!

 

Images: Rebecca for Happy City Living (all)

What Was I Thinking? I Wasn’t.

29 Mar

So, in the search for my first NYC apartment, I’d landed on the stoop of a place I loved (read all about how I landed at that apartment here).  Unfortunately, in my love-at-first-sight haze, I neglected to notice the obvious issues with the apartment I was about to sign a lease on:

On the stoop (!!!!!) of my new building, with my mom and Aunt Betty. My brain: "Ahhh, life is great when you're standing on your very own stoop in the sunshine!"

1.  My building was a 5-block walk to the subway, and coming home I’d be walking straight up a hill.  Yup, at the end of every long and weary day in my first real, salaried job, I had to hike up a hill that would wear me out, before I even got to the 2 flights of stairs I had to climb.

2.  The very old apartment was not in great condition (my parents would tell you that’s the understatement of the year).  There weren’t roaches or mice or mold, but the place needed a lot of TLC.  Lots (read:  too much) of time and money were put into cleaning and painting just to get the place up to snuff. (TIP!Any apartment you move into should be cleaned and freshly painted before you move in.  In apartment buildings where management companies run the show, this will likely be taken care of.  However, if you’re renting from a landlord who lives in the building and just has one or two apartments, they will often neglect to properly prep your new place.  INSIST ON A THOROUGH CLEANING!  And insist on a fresh coat of paint if you feel like the place needs it.)  This place surely did!

Yes, the living room walls were a grassy forest green when I moved in. What? You never had green walls? You haven't lived.

3.  I was in over my budget.  My agent told me that I’d pay the same cost over the course of a year at this no-fee apartment, which was $1300, as I would have paid on a standard fee $1200 apartment (WHAT FEE?!) I hadn’t even thought that I’d need to pay a fee.  When I said my budget was $1200, that did NOT include any room for a fee, and $1200 was the TOP of my budget.  But all that sensible brain chatter went out the window, as I let the guy convince me I was getting a deal.  If you’re unsure of what the deal is with fees, see a post all about it here.

4.  This leads to my last misstep (for the moment, anyway), which was that I didn’t even bother trying to negotiate.  This is real estate.  This is the biggest city in the United States.  With the exception of a few really, truly good hearted realtors I know, people will most likely try to take you for all you’re worth.  Especially if you look like naïve-renter-Rebecca.  (TIP!: Negotiate all rental costs.  Even if the price doesn’t go down, get creative and ask for something else to make your deal sweeter.  More to come on this.)

Ignoring each of the above problems, all I could see was the huge space, the bay window, the stoop I’d dreamed about having, and my future decorating ideas.  I was going to be an employed, official NYC resident with her own place.  Holy crap, I was happy!

Here are some shots of the place on my first visit to see it.  These will give you an idea of the rest of the place I was moving into:

Immediately when you walked in the front door, there was a cut-out for a coat closet to your left. The bathroom was on the wall to the right. The kitchen (yes, it was orange), was straight ahead, and the doorway to the rest of the place was on the far right.

The orange kitchen. Actually, when I decided to repaint, the kitchen stayed orange. After you get beyond the abrasive brightness and the feeling of being inside a glass of Tropicana, it was cheery!

If you'd gone through the doorway on the right of the entry hallway, it would have led you into the green living room you saw earlier. The green view was looking left from that doorway. This is the view to the right. We're looking through the office and into the bedroom. Nice faux tile floor, huh?

This is the bedroom, featuring the bay window that I loved. I even loved the old hardwood floors, even though they gave out nasty splinters. Off to the left is a small, RED office or tiny second bedroom. I used this room as a dressing room (i.e. a place to store junk when people came over). I wish I had a picture from when we walked into that red room the first time. I swear to you, a child under the age of 10 painted that room.

What can I say.  I loved the place.  I loved it even on the day I moved out.  And if my landlady had not been the biggest pain in the ass ever to roam the planet, I probably would have stayed put.  Don’t worry, I’ll devote an entire post to good ol’ Dorothy the landlady.

Now, lease signing was not all hearts and rainbows.  It was scarey.  Even for a happy girl.  I felt like I was signing my life away.  And while, I didn’t have a handy, cohesive list of items to be aware of (like this one, under the “Tools” tab on HCL), I was smart enough to know that I knew nothing about legalese.  I sat there feeling pressured to read the whole lease document within 10 seconds; I paid the real estate agent my upfront money (first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a one month security deposit); I asked my parents to co-sign my lease as my guarantor, since I didn’t make 40x the rent; and I signed on the dotted line.

TIP!: Most city landlords and management companies want to see that you make (yearly) 40x the monthly rent.  If you can’t show pay stubs or a letter of employment stating that you earn 40x the rent, you will need a guarantor to co-sign your lease.  This is someone who will vouch for you and promise that if you can’t pay, they will.  Typically, guarantors must be able to prove that they earn 80x the monthly rent.  So, for those of you who aren’t so hot at math:  if you make a starting salary of $35,000 a year, the real estate community in NYC believes you’ll reliably be able to pay $875 a month.  This means you can rent your very own broom closet in Manhattan, or you can live with a roommate, or you can live in Far Rockaway.  And please don’t think I meant on the beach in Far Rockaway.  I meant the little shack next to a dumpster.  Unless you have a guarantor.

I had no idea what to realistically expect for my upcoming first year as a renter, but I was about to be in for a bumpy ride.  Stay tuned for tales from the crypt crib.

How about you?  Ever lived in a place you loved and later realized was not so glittering?  Any real dumps?  Somebody please make me feel like I’m not the only one who willingly rented a place with forest green walls.

Images:  all images Rebecca for Happy City Living

I Ended Up (or, Started Out) in Sunset Park

29 Mar

My first foray into the world of New York City apartment hunting/living was an adventure, to say the least.  I was lucky, in that I’d already lived in apartment-style dorms throughout the city during my college years at NYU.  As such, I knew what I liked and disliked about apartment living, which made my search a bit narrower than a city newbie (narrower = easier…well, sometimes).  My sole demand of my soon-to-be-first-new-place? After living in apartments with 2-4 other people for years, I wanted my own space – and a LOT of it.

The other thing I knew was that my budget was low by city standards. (If you don’t live in or around Manhattan, cover your ears for this part.  A low budget in this town is a fortune everywhere else.)  My starting salary at my new job seemed completely amazing since I was fresh out of college…until I worked out my monthly budget and saw that even a $1200 rent would be tight with a capital T.  Now, this was in the days when the rental market was really strong (You think apartments are expensive now?  Oh no, my friend).  So $1200 a month for a non-shoebox-studio meant moving to an outer borough or wayyyyy uptown.

Narrowing down the neighborhood/borough options:  riding a ferry every day was NOT happening, so Staten Island was out.  I knew absolutely nothing about the Bronx, and it was the furthest away from my previously downtown Manhattan life.  So I nixed it, too.  And between Brooklyn and Queens, I knew Brooklyn much better.

If you can't picture where each borough lies, here's a handy map. Don't worry, geography was never my strength either.

Come on, Brooklyn!  Choosing a neighborhood was narrowed down pretty quickly for me.  I saw a couple of apartments in downtown Brooklyn (the neighborhoods I liked were:  Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Boerum Hill, and Cobble Hill), which were small and expensive.  On the other hand, I wasn’t willing to travel as far as Bushwick, Crown Heights, or Prospect Heights, even though the homes there would be cheaper and space-y.  One thing I did know was that I loved Park Slope.  A few of my close friends lived there, and I thought if I got lucky I might be able to find something I could afford.  After only a couple of searches on Craigslist, I found a listing for a 1BR in Park Slope and went to see it that same day.  (If you don’t know the neighborhoods I’m mentioning, don’t worry.  I’ll do some neighborhood overview posts here at Happy City Living, to give you a snapshot of different areas.)

This is a street in Park Slope. Can you see why I might want to live there? If brownstones and their stoops give you a rush, this is all you.

Here is the real estate catch, my friends:  not all streets in a given neighborhood are created equal.  Furthermore, real estate agents love to stretch the boundaries of desirable neighborhoods to include areas where their listings are located.  You will most commonly find this in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy, a pair of abutting neighborhoods in Brooklyn.  There are about 1 million apartment listings that are labeled Clinton Hill, even though they are well within the bounds of Bed Stuy.  Simply put, Clinton Hill is currently considered a very desirable neighborhood.  Bed Stuy is adjacent to CH, but it is quite different in terms of vibe and feel.  It is certainly up and coming by real estate standards, but not all of its streets have “arrived” yet.  If you feel comfortable in the neighborhood, great!  If not, you’re right to think it’s quite different from CH.

TIP!: Always take a trip to see your prospective new apartment at night.  You will have to walk home alone in the dark at some point, and you absolutely need to feel safe!

But back to my search.  As you may have guessed from my “not all streets in a given neighborhood are created equal” warning, the agent I met with showed me an apartment that was NOT in the Park Slope I knew.  The place was pretty gross on the inside, plus it was small and in a semi-abandoned area on the western outskirts of the Slope.  Ummm, no thank you.

The agent could tell I wasn’t biting, but said he had a much bigger and better place in the neighborhood “right next door” to Park Slope, called Sunset Park.  We went to see the listing, and I loved it instantly.

This is a map of Brooklyn's neighborhoods. Note Park Slope and Sunset Park, marked in green. "Right next door" to each other? I think not. Naive-renter-Rebecca had no clue, though. Poor girl.

Preview of tomorrow’s post:  love-struck-apartment-searcher doesn’t think things through.  Uh-oh.

Images:  (1) WikiTravel (2) LevelGroup (3) RentCornerNYC