The Hunt for an Upper East Side Apartment


For Kristen Buccholz and Ashley Savage, this was the second apartment hunt within the year and this time they had a system. They knew what they were looking for in a rental agent, what they needed in an apartment, and had their expectations in line with what they could afford. But even with their act together, it wasn’t long before they had seen dozens of listings, extended their current lease another month, and lost out on ideal apartments. In the end, their diligence paid off and their story offers an opinion or two on what kind of agents make the sale.

The move was motivated by the addition of their new roommate, Corinne Viana, and between the three of them it was crucial that they remained organized. With the help of a Google Doc, the future roomies kept track of things like listing URLs, agent contact info, rent, who they had contacted and when. Within the document, they also kept a calendar so they could keep track of when all three were available for viewing appointments. These were simple but effective ways of coordinating their efforts, enabling the three to hunt for a New York City apartment even amidst their busy work schedules.

The three work from early morning until around 6:30 at night, so the time to tour apartments was limited to a few key points during the week. In terms of scheduling, this made apartment hunting slightly more logistically challenging, but it gave certain rental agents the time to shine.

“They knew that all three of us work pretty late and if we’re going to go see a place at night, we’re just leaving our jobs. So if it’s not worth seeing, they would cancel the appointment because they would see it and know that it wasn’t for us. And on the flipside, they would call us and say, ‘This apartment is really great. You should leave work during lunch to come and see it because you’re going to love it.’  That was the kind of work that made us feel like if we had to pay the fee at the end that it was justifiable.”

When it comes to agents, deference to client’s time as well as honesty is what really stuck with these apartment hunters.

“One of the agents we really liked always gave us the information up front and he would say ‘I really like this building,’ or ‘I would live here.’ But it is also comforting to know that someone else will even tell you, ‘This apartment won’t be good for you.'”

Additionally, the agents that Kristen, Ashley, and Corinne were drawn to the most had reasonably quick response times. The three were not expecting an immediate email or call, but a response within the same day was enough to show that the agent was on their game.

“I would even provide my contact information in every email that I sent because I wanted that fast response time.”

In terms of advice for other renters, the three reiterated the fact that they had to extend their lease another month. The actual act of getting the apartment happens very quickly, but it is the planning that takes place in advance that removes some of the speed bumps along the way. Furthermore, not letting those unexpected issues get in your way will save valuable emotional energy.

“It is very easy to get stressed out and burnt out when you are not finding what you need. But you have to remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world and that you’re going to find a place.”