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Old 09-22-2011, 07:19 PM
 
20 posts, read 75,925 times
Reputation: 11

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I need some apartment/moving-related advice. For 4 years, my wife and I have been living in a two bedroom basement apartment of a private house in the Allerton ave section of the Bronx. The rent is $1150 with all utilities included. Landlord is very nice, apartment is really cozy, lots of food places, supermarket, etc. all in 10 min walking distance, including subway and bus. The overall area looks more like it belongs in Westchester as opposed to the Bronx, in my opinion.

The downside? It's a small two bedroom and there's 3 of us. There's only two closets that are pretty cramped, sometimes there's spiders, there's ants coming from behind the stove due to a new gas line being installed (I guess there's a hole there that wasn't sealed properly.

We both make a combined income of $4300-$4500 month (I have 2 jobs, one full-time and one per diem). Our long-term goal is to buy a mortgage on a condo in 2-3 years OR go to co-op city, live there for a while, then get the condo. But in between now and then, we want a bigger apartment, a halfway home you can say.

So we started looking for a new place last month (august) and found one in River Hill Gardens on Sedgwick ave, overlooking the major deegan and the river. The upside about this place is:

It's a 2 bedroom that's much bigger
A kitchen with tons of cabinets and built-in microwave plus dishwasher
Five closets
A prestige-looking bathroom with a glass shower door
Lots of sunlight
It's on a higher floor as opposed to a basement
Elevator
Laundry is in building
The entire block it's located on has lots of trees and looks like Manhattan/Central Park as opposed to the Bronx.
Pay rent online
Rent-stabilized

The downside?
Rent is $1475/month (it's really $1450 but we signed a 2 year lease so it's an extra $25) with all utilities included EXCEPT electricity.
The stores, supermarkets, etc. are located in two different places: One area is down the block on Burnside where everything starts to look really ghetto, its about 10 min walk. The other area is uphill on Fordham rd (which we prefer) and that's like 15 min walking distance.
The rent may go up a little bit when the 2 year lease is up.

When I tell people about how much it is, some are cool about it and some are like wow, that's like a $300 difference, too much. And now I'm beginning to feel a little bipolar about where we're moving. My wife is excited though. But it's making me look at our current place for $1150 differently and in a more positive light (like I didn't realize how good I had it there). So why sign the lease you ask? Well, on that day that we signed it a couple weeks ago, I was kind of hesitating but then there was a ticking clock because I had to go to work, my wife kept trying to convince me everything is going to be fine.

But I guess it's too late now, the lease is signed. In two years, our plan is to get an apartment for less, or go to Co-op city, or get a mortgage on a condo. My credit is not bad and is getting higher. So if I break this lease and stay at the $1150 place, not only will I have to pay some fees or backrent, but I'll probably mess up my credit score and chances of getting a co-op or condo. Should I be regretting this or should I just chill out? Is the rent too much for all the things we're getting here?
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
9,021 posts, read 22,188,472 times
Reputation: 7265
1,475/mo for a 2 br in University Heights seems a little high unless it has 2 baths and a river view or something, but only a little .

Living in a basement must have a negative affect on you so maybe it's worth it to get out of there.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,919 posts, read 28,742,349 times
Reputation: 7101
Honestly, I would not recommend breaking a lease as you will have to pay a penalty in terms of forfeiting security deposit, and might have to pay rent until a new tenant is found for the unit. Plus, if your wife is excited about moving out of a basement apartment, and it's not too difficult to afford on your income, so I can see making the transition. It's only for a two-year period, so you can begin to look for a co-op or condo in another area of The Bronx that you would like as a more permanent residence. There are some great neighborhoods to explore, where you may find something that you would like, and not have to be as far away from the city as Co-Op City.

You have a year and a few months to look before needing to move at the end of the lease, so that's more than enough time to take some trips around the area to find something that you'd really like to own.

If you could break the lease without financial penalty, that would be one thing, assuming your wife would be okay with that decision. Another thing to consider is that you are showing that you have taken on an increased financial responsibility with the move, and that can be favorable when you look at a co-op/condo and need to qualify for the board/lender.

Buyer's remorse is a normal phenomenon when you think about a large purchase or in this case increasing the rent on a new apartment. There's no need to put yourself at a financial disadvantage by breaking a lease, since you can always travel back from more distant shopping via car service, such as from Target on W225th, Inwood, or Kingsbridge along Broadway. And, since you have much more space, you can stock up on non-perishables and household goods on sale, and can perhaps save a good bit of the extra money spent for the new apartment.

Good luck with your move!
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
23,713 posts, read 32,685,300 times
Reputation: 11406
The die is cast.
Believe me, every time we upgrade from a miserable hole, all of a sudden the miserable hole seems to have hidden charms...that's human nature. I doubled my rent to go from rent-controlled tenement to luxury waterfront high rise and beat myself up over it for a year. It turned out to be one of the best moves I ever made.

Now, moving forward...the first thing I recommend to any friend moving into a stabilized apartment is to file a request with DHCR to determine the correct rent. Sometimes one finds a HUGE discrepancy and is entitltled to a rollback and rebate. It might take months or years but it is worth the trouble to get the iron in the fire.

But the history of rent-stabilized apartments has ALWAYS made them a good deal that gets better every year. You will soon be happy with your move and forget about the old dump.


Getting out of a basement apartment is good for the soul. Getting out of a cramped apartment is good for the soul. And we only get ONE soul.
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