July 11, 2004


So on July 11th, we sold the house. One month to closing and one month to get ourselves to New York. You can click the picture for more images if you care.
The house sold in 9 days and went for asking. We sold it for double the price I paid in 2000. Not bad, but we're not sure we made enough to get a place we love in NYC. Our broker convinced us to list a bit lower than we wanted, this might have been a mistake as I wouldn't have minded waiting for a higher price. Still it's hard to argue with the profit. Time to get motivated.

July 20, 2004

Renter's lament

I never thought I would rent again, but with the baby due in November and the short time we have, it seems like the most practical choice at least for this year. We don't want to be rushed into buying something and with a 60-90 day close we would be moving in just as Jenn is going into labor. So rent we must. There is no economic way to justify renting. It's money out the door. I hate it.

July 26, 2004

It's a girl.

Haven't done a damn thing about packing the house, but that seems like a minor issue right now. More importantly we went to the OB and found out the baby is a girl. Her first name will be Olivia after my grandmother. The middle name is still undetermined. This was a perfect birthday present for Jenn (in addition to the letterpress I am giving her).

In the evening we went out to the Buffalo Club to celebrate and enjoy what was left of her final day here.

July 27, 2004

14 Days

So I have 14 days to pack up the house and get myself to New York.
I'm not sure I'm ready. Jenn left last night and is already in the mix of looking for a apartment (I can't have Jenn who is 5 months pregnant lifting heavy boxes). This snapshot was taken as she walked out the door for the last time:

July 30, 2004

What have I done?!

When packing up a house, there is always a point in which you think you have lost your mind. I am at that point. Why are we leaving this beautiful place? What madness inspired this rash decision? It's beautiful day, clear, sunny and I just had a nice afternoon swim. Will I ever experience this kind of domestic bliss again?

I'm on day four of packing and haven't even finished the garage yet.
On my feet. LL Bean Blucher moccasins circa 1985. I found them in an box of old Princeton stuff.

Everything feels bittersweet.

July 31, 2004

The Hunt

Jenn has been relentlessly searching for rental apartments in the city. I've been trying to help her online from here in LA. I haven't found a truly great site for rentals yet (if you know of one, please leave the name in the comments), but I'm looking. This is what I've found so far:

The big brokers: (Corcoran, Citi Habitats, etc):
Many if not most of the listings on these sites are fake or expired. They seem to put up nice reasonable looking apartments (but actually unavailable) to draw you in. Many of the brokers we've dealt with have been lazy, rude, or incompetent... All this joy for 12-15%... I know, I know, welcome to New York. After 10 years away you forget what a nightmare house hunting can be. For reference, here in LA a few years ago myself and 4 friends rented a 1920's mansion from record producer Rick Rubin with a handshake and one month deposit. The rent was around $5000/month. In NY that same rent gets you.... but why go down that road. Must accept new reality. Ok. Next.

This is a site for buyers but can be useful to get building info if there happens to be an apartment for sale in a building you are considering.

Rent Direct
This company has lots of listings for big horrible buildings. The site is hard to navigate and search. Also there are many bait and switch listings.

I've been disappointed by craigslist new york. In LA and San Francisco craigslist is probably the best way to find an apartment, but in NY it's full of bad broker listings and quacks. Disappointing.

Edit a few weeks later: If you are diligent you will eventually learn how to weed out the bad seeds. Craigslist is still the best site to find a no fee apartment in New York.

We didn't discover this site until too late, but it's a good source for by owner listings. Especially down in the East Villiage.

This is by far the best site I've found, but it's not free... 4 nice features: full addresses are shown, the listings are good, detailed building info, and email updates. It's not perfect though--the user interface is busy, you can't sort in detail view, and there are still too many expired listings. After one day on the service Jenn finally saw some places she liked. The one she REALLY liked was out of our price range (6500/month and it already had 2 offers) but then again it was a 4 story brownstone:

Edit a few weeks later: In the end MLX wasn't that useful for us. Most of the apartment listings were for big high rise buildings.


Jenn says Olivia has been kicking much higher than last week. I wonder if that means anything. Maybe she gets tired of all the traipsing around in the heat...


ps I should note that on the buying/selling side we have had some great experiences with NY brokers. Louise Devin of Brown Harris worked tirelessly to sell a family apartment on 63rd Street and in Brooklyn Heather McMaster of Corcoran has done a fantastic job of letting us know the lay of the land...

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