I’ve decided to sign on with a Real Estate agency for apartment hunting. Finding an apartment in NYC is a full-time job; I can either pay someone else to take that on for me, or I can take on that work on top of everything else. It’s an expensive investment, but one that makes a lot of sense for me considering all the other work that goes into moving and the office workload that never seems to diminish (i.e. the reason I’m moving in the first place).

I’ve selected Corcoran as I’ve met several of their agents, love their website, am impressed with the variety and quality of the rental properties they have listed (and the obvious specialization of their agents), and have heard great things from other happy customers. Since I’m not interested in moving between apartments once I get to the city, it’s really important that I get this right the first time.

Now I just need to decide between Manhattan and Brooklyn. I know, I was all excited about living in a tiny downtown studio—then it got cold and I started spending all of my time indoors, and I started looking at available properties, and rental costs per square foot based on location. Interior size, very specific neighborhood elements, and access to outdoor space are far more important now that I thought they were four months ago. So, I’m torn. Tips?

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I’m not planning to move until April, but every so often (every three days or so) I pop onto the newyork.craigslist/org apartment listings in manhattan, and poke around the neighborhoods I like.  It’s alway s”just to look,” to get a feel for what’s going on where.

Which explains how I’m now in the predicament of having sent my first official query out to a rental agent about a flat. A “large, quiet studio” in Chelsea, about 8 blocks from my office, on the West side, with easy access to many of the things I already love about my new city. What got me to send the query is the price (yay!), the address (a part of Chelsea I quite like, actually, in spite of my general discomfort in July), and the fact that it’s listed as ” Available for lease beginning February 1st 2009…lease is for one year with option to renew.”

We’ll see what will happen; I asked for photos, some square footage information, and the opportunity to apply in absentia, as I can’t plan a trip into the city until Sunday, at the earliest.

I’m a little freaked out by “February 1,” as that’s significantly earlier than I’ve been planning for, but it’s a bridge I can cross later. First steps are first steps, and from what I hear, I’m 99.9% likely to get a “no” response from the landlord. We shall see.