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Old 08-28-2007, 12:27 AM   #41
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I am in Seattle and have lived in many states, FL, GA, AZ, CA, OH, MI, AK and have driven back and forth across the land several times. I haven't been to NYC but I have been to Niagara Falls. Most places have something good to offer and somethings others like and I don't. First I hate flat land, I spent maybe 6 years in Detroit, Michigan it was so boring landscape wise. A view seems important to me, my favorite view is driving south out of Seattle along Boeing field with an airplane landing yards away and Mt Rainier in front of me, it always makes me smile. I like trees and lakes and Puget Sound and most of all I like being a native not a visitor. We were salmon fishing yesterday and I was trying to tell a man where a lake is but he was from Idaho so didn't know where anything was until I said a river he knew. I love living where I can go where ever I want, never need a map and never get lost and know exactly what I will find when I get there. I don't change much, we are going camping next month saying in the same campsite we get every time, fishing for the same fish in the same part of the lake. Yesterday the river we fished was the same river we fish every odd numbered fall using the same tackle that we buy in the same store. Sure I live 2 hours to the ocean and 2 hours to ski slopes but I have never been skiing and only go to the ocean every few years probably not 15 times in 40 years but I know the towns and beaches since I have been going almost 60 years so when we decide to go we can choose which town to go to without looking anything up.
We don't like hot weather or really cold weather, Seattle has nice overcast days and drizzle, yesterday fishing it rained the first half hour then let up and by noon coats came off but it never got too hot. We used air conditioning a little in July but haven't had it on lately thinking of removing it for winter soon maybe before we go on vacation it won't get very hot again this year.
I can't think of any place more miserable for me than Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami, New Mexico, LA or New Orleans I have been to most of them and lived in half of them and they aren't my kinda towns. I know I don't like Detroit, or anywhere in Ohio and don't think I would enjoy any cold states in the winter.
I won't move farther than the lake where we go camping and fishing the rest of my life, my family is here and it is home.
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:39 AM   #42
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Wow! I didn't think I'd get such a response! And nice to see people come out of the NYC closet :P

I completely agree that someone should charge as much as they can, the whole free market system. What I was most peeved about was the fact that we were "sold" on the fact that the building was great since they "rarely raise the rent more than 4-5% a year". This is the crap you get to deal with day-to-day, double talk to get you sold, rip you off, and move on to the next victimcustomer. I didn't mean that I wanted to sue property owners for jacking up the rent, I wanted to sue these sleazy sweatshop brokers that lie at every turn, and collect 15% of a year's rent to open a door for you and ask you if you want it or not.

That is a great point that it is sorta a balance game. As soon as the balance tips in a direction, I really start to question whether it is worth it. I could *never* do a 2 hour commute for a larger house. I live 15 minutes from my work by express train, and have enough of the train as it is

Unfortunately, I have the perspective of someone who grew up in the suburbs in the south. My friends are all engineers back home, like myself, and though I earn 2-3x as much money as them, they all have the 3000sq ft cookie cutter McMansions, and can't believe "I can survive in only 400sq ft and pay how much"

Funny story, I just came back from visiting family back in Florida where I grew up. I walked into a Super Wal-mart, and almost fell over at the expanse of it all. It is hard to fathom how cheap land must be down there in comparison. You literally couldn't see end to end.

I guess the problem is I still have the Florida suburban mind-set, but am living the urban life. So, it is some sort of mental context switch to try to join the two concepts. Buying isn't much of an option in NYC. Even if you can afford the mortgage itself, they put $1500 right on top for maintenance. So, paying $2k for a rental unit, or paying $1500 for maintenance +$500 for the actual apartment won't get you much. Maybe a cardboard box without a river view

I originally lived in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn when I first moved to NYC. Then the market heated up significantly and oddly it was the same price as living in Manhattan. Park Slope, and the other nice areas of Brooklyn are similar. I admit I have never been to Queens, but have heard some stuff is cheap out there. I've heard that it has a lot of pollution and the trains suck on weekends. That is mostly hearsay, though I admit, and might be city-elitism

I have been reading that if you are willing to move to Jersey City, they have "luxury" apartments on the waterfront. One place, Liberty Towers, offers a heated indoor pool on a high floor with a view, a gym in the building, washer and dryer in every unit, game room, etc. And the studios are double the size of a comparable unit in the city for the same price. Now, I imagine they aren't giving this away. The area is probably sketchy outside of the indoor oasis, but I'm gonna go check it out this weekend. I don't know enough about Queens to even know where to start. I've also read some lux buildings have gone up in Long Island City, with a similar story. Beautiful building, but be careful leaving the building. This is the cost of doing business in NYC. Pay a significant premium to live in a nice area, or enjoy luxuries nearby with the risk of living across the street from a ghetto. And having a 5'2" wife, that is just an option I want to avoid.

All in all, to be honest, the plan is to work for another year or two here and then move back to the 'burbs down south. I think it is probably similar for many people here. Earn a nice income for a few years, then take that premium of cash and move back south to enjoy the wealth in comparison to your peers, and relax. It is sorta early-retirement from the urban stress as I see it. Instead of a date countdown of when I am retiring, it is more of a date where I can kick back and go back to that slow lifestyle of the south (and working for less pay, but having a nice size savings to reduce the risks), if that makes sense.

And there are a ton of places you *could* live. I think a lot of times it ends up being where you put down roots. It is that balance between enough attractions and a group of friends and family for support. Cellphones, webcams, instant messenger, it doesn't change the landscape. There is just something to be said for face time with friends and family.

Wow, I sorta rambled on for too long, but thanks everyone for the responses!
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:40 AM   #43
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I have been reading that if you are willing to move to Jersey City, they have "luxury" apartments on the waterfront. One place, Liberty Towers, offers a heated indoor pool on a high floor with a view, a gym in the building, washer and dryer in every unit, game room, etc. And the studios are double the size of a comparable unit in the city for the same price. Now, I imagine they aren't giving this away. The area is probably sketchy outside of the indoor oasis, but I'm gonna go check it out this weekend. I don't know enough about Queens to even know where to start. I've also read some lux buildings have gone up in Long Island City, with a similar story. Beautiful building, but be careful leaving the building. This is the cost of doing business in NYC. Pay a significant premium to live in a nice area, or enjoy luxuries nearby with the risk of living across the street from a ghetto. And having a 5'2" wife, that is just an option I want to avoid.
Jersey City is fine around the waterfront, but gets sketchy pretty quickly as you drift further away.

I'd skip LIC. Nice enough in the gentrified areas, but Queensbridge (projects) is still there and like all newly gentrified areas, it has crappy infrastructure and lingering higher crime. Its worth at least taking a look at Astoria, which is pretty nice and fairly hip.

I am getting sick of my extreme commute, but I feel trapped in my job. I don't want to move within the area and I can't afford the areas materially closer to the job.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:41 AM   #44
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the worst i've seen the subway in queens is the queens blvd lines run express once every few months in one direction for construction. but pretty much everyone in queens has a car so no one cares.

i work in LIC and construction everywhere with manhattan prices. been working here for a few years and the change in the area is amazing. there is like 4 subway trains that stop here bringing people from all over. there is a strip of a few blocks on Vernon blvd with all the nice restaraunts that is close to the City Lights building. everything else is kind of grungy. 2 years it will be better since they are moving the UN here and some of the old buildings are being knocked down to build hotels or whatever.

NYC RE is pretty much fair value now. 10 years ago you could buy a 2 bedroom in a nice area of queens like forest hills for about what your income was or a little less. now it's 3 to 1 price to income ratio or mortgage to income ratio. once in a while i check the prices of the old apartment my mom sold to move out west and it hasn't gone up in 2 years because it's a bad building. my place is up like 20% over last year. you have to be very picky with the building you choose
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:13 PM   #45
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After graduation I worked in NYC (lived at the London Terrace for a while). Loved it but didn't expect to earn enough to buy a co-op and raise a family there. However, I recommend the city as a great place to gain professional experiance. Yes, housing isn't cheap but consider it part of the cost of a real-life internship.

Portland has Oregon Graduate Institute which serves the Silicon Forrest workforce, Seattle has UW - which is no slouch either (except football ). What Universities add to the community is a workforce that serves the needs of employment creating businesses. That, in turn, supports a vibrant cultural life (and home values).

Choices abound... If you are feeling trapped it is time to map a solution that works for you.
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:22 PM   #46
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I completely agree that someone should charge as much as they can, the whole free market system. What I was most peeved about was the fact that we were "sold" on the fact that the building was great since they "rarely raise the rent more than 4-5% a year". This is the crap you get to deal with day-to-day, double talk to get you sold, rip you off, and move on to the next victimcustomer. I didn't mean that I wanted to sue property owners for jacking up the rent, I wanted to sue these sleazy sweatshop brokers that lie at every turn, and collect 15% of a year's rent to open a door for you and ask you if you want it or not.
OK, there is something that I am not understanding. Since you have an apartment now that can be your base of operations, so to speak, could you now go out and find another apartment on your own without the "assistance" of one of these lying brokers, and move there? That sounds like a possible solution to these problems. This broker sounds like bad news.
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:34 PM   #47
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this is how renting in NYC works. most landlords list with RE brokers since the renter pays the fee. a no-fee apartment in NYC is like a myth. it's possible to find, but extremely difficult
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:42 PM   #48
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this is how renting in NYC works. most landlords list with RE brokers since the renter pays the fee. a no-fee apartment in NYC is like a myth. it's possible to find, but extremely difficult
What a racket. Thanks for the info, al.
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Old 08-28-2007, 02:25 PM   #49
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Yes, exactly what Al says. They advertise in free advertisements like Craigslist with the promise of a "$1500 a month, no-fee apartment, not through a broker". You call, and it is the ol' bait and switch. You get transferred to a call center full of these brokers working in big sweatshops, and they tell you that "it was just rented, but they have lots of other listings if you are interested, but are not no-fee".

Life is just so much simpler in the 'burbs. And yes, I don't plan to raise a family here. I am just trying to racket up the salary as much as possible before the long term-plan of moving back to easy suburban life.
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Old 08-28-2007, 02:31 PM   #50
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New York City is a great place to live for awhile .To me once you've seen a play on Broadway everything else just doesn't cut it but I have to say my favorite city is Boston .I could move there in a minute .
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:51 PM   #51
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New York City is a great place to live for awhile .To me once you've seen a play on Broadway everything else just doesn't cut it but I have to say my favorite city is Boston .I could move there in a minute .
I guess to each their own. Someone above listed a bunch of cities they hated, and included my two dream ER spots, New Orleans and Miami. Both cities have quite an energy about them. Not sure if NO has changed after Katrina, but I could die a happy man living in the Garden or French quarter districts, sipping a mint julep on the big porch (and watching the coeds, as someone else alluded to) And the same can be said for Miami

On another note, I called to see if I could do a bit of negotiating. Sounds like they were trying to test the waters. After asking politely they came down from $2300 to $2250, and then to $2200. Still pricey, and a 8% increase, but sure beats 15%. So a bit of stress relief anyway. The lesson learned is, be a good tenant, and call and try to negotiate. It can never HURT you, only help.
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Old 08-30-2007, 03:49 AM   #52
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as far as nyc the high rents are partially due to the citys own stupid policies. rent stabilization and rent control are to blame.

rentals havent been built in 20 years .
Where in other walks of life or business is one forced by law to subsidize out of their own pockets someone who canít afford to buy their products goods or services? The answer is no where except in real estate in New York City, and all New Yorkers suffer because of it. Because one chooses to earn a living in real estate they now have to support someone who canít afford to live in a particular area or building by getting below-market rates, and accepting less for their investments than the market rate.


Letís not confuse the fact that someone may live in a building a long time with their net worth or income. They are unrelated. My wife and I live in a rent stabilized building and enjoy a below-market rate. We earn upper-middle class incomes and just because my wife lived in the building for 20 years we pay a lower rent than others in our building. landlords have a right to earn a market-level income from their business just as you or I do. If the city wants to hold the rent levels artificially low, let them put up the buildings and subsidize lower, below-market rentals out of their pockets. Can you imagine going into a grocery store for a quart of milk and telling the store owner I only have a quarter so take it out of your pocket and give me the milk? Letís see that happen.


Every New Yorker pays higher rents because of this. Landlords havenít built new rentals in years because of it. Apartments are stored and passed from parents to kids and never see the open market. Iíd predict if we did away with rent stabilization and rent control, the supply of rentals would drastically increase and rents for all would come down, not just the select few that live in these buildings
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:07 AM   #53
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you have a point, but it goes both ways. the reason some apartments are rent stabilized or controlled is because the original developer got a huge tax break for having some below market rate units in his building.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:21 AM   #54
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That wasn't the case when I lived in NYC, rent stabilization was a hang-over of WWII price control - long before tax abatement. In those days a 'new' building was a post WWII structure.

Since that era below market rate apartments have been constructed with tax abatement programs, but the program doesn't last indefinitely as some San Francisco residents can attest.

NYC is a special case from a rental pov, but all around the country housing costs are increasing because of the cost of new building code requirements and Planners who act like princes.
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:31 PM   #55
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you have a point, but it goes both ways. the reason some apartments are rent stabilized or controlled is because the original developer got a huge tax break for having some below market rate units in his building.

The difference is that these units are for 'poor' folks... the NYC law applies to the apartment no matter what you make...

I met a lady that was a consultant... she paid $800 per month for a 2 bedroom place... said she would not move because it is SO cheap.. yet she makes more than $150K...
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:39 PM   #56
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I think the rule is once the rent hits $2k, the rent control designation goes away. That is what I've heard anyway. Also, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't be receiving some kind of subsidies from the gubment for the rent controlled properties. Is this really true? The owners have to eat the difference?

Milk isn't a good comparison because it IS in fact subsidized by Uncle Sam

And Texas, hook a brother up. How do I bribe her out of that? Does she like young men, or cheap booze? :P
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:01 PM   #57
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,,,Also, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't be receiving some kind of subsidies from the gubment for the rent controlled properties. Is this really true? The owners have to eat the difference?
You are much to young....
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:35 AM   #58
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I think the rule is once the rent hits $2k, the rent control designation goes away. That is what I've heard anyway. Also, I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't be receiving some kind of subsidies from the gubment for the rent controlled properties. Is this really true? The owners have to eat the difference?

Milk isn't a good comparison because it IS in fact subsidized by Uncle Sam

And Texas, hook a brother up. How do I bribe her out of that? Does she like young men, or cheap booze? :P
2,000 in rent and 2 years of 175,000 in agi income takes away the rent control. big deal, that rarley happens
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:15 PM   #59
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you can also do renovations and there is a formula that says that you can prorate it and it will take away rent stabilization. there is a hole in it where you can literally will an apartment to someone that you rent. but my wife looks at some of these offers and the rent stabilized rents in some of the new buildings aren't cheap and there is an income limitation so it's not like a millionaire can move into a new rent stabilized apartment.
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:06 PM   #60
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This thread covers about every aspect of my living arrangements over the course of my life. While I haven't lived in NYC in nearly 35 years, I know a little about rent control. My Dad had great foresight in 1960, when he was still among the working poor, to convince his brother to lend him some money for the down payment to buy a 4 family residential unit in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, which was primarily known as Red Hook back then. We lived in the ground floor, railroad flat apartment, while the other tenants lived in the upper units.

The rent from the 3 other apartments paid for the mortgage he obtained to finance the purchase. All three of the other units were rent-controlled apartments. In the early 1970's, rent control restrictions were slightly relaxed, I believe, such that once a tenant vacated the rent-controlled unit, it ceased to be rent-controlled. My family was really working poor -- Dad was essentially an unskilled laborer and the only real significant income we had was from the rents and later my Dad's social security income.

As tenants vacated the rent-controlled units, my siblings later moved into these apartments. In fact, my sister still lives in one of these units. One of the units, however, is still rent-controlled by someone who knew my family for many years. This tenant has been living in the unit for over 40 years and pays $204 in rent a month. Yes, that's no typo! The prevailing rate for a similar apartment is $2000.

A true rent-controlled apartment, especially since many of them are occupied by senior citizens, is virtually impossible to break. The landlord is at the mercy of the tenant. The rent can only be increased in small increments, even if the landlord makes substantial capital improvements to the dwelling. And if you tried to sell the dwelling the new owner takes subject to the rent-controlled tenant. In fact, there was an article some time ago in the WSJ about lawyers/real estate agents who specialize in negotiating deals with rent-controlled tenants to get them out of buildings for new development projects.

So, yes, owners eat the subsidy created by rent-control; my parents have been eating it for many years; they were truly house rich, cash poor, and rent-control has a lot to do with that.
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