I have spent two days running around with a relocating renter and I am tired. Relos are hard, because in the quest to find them the neighborhood that “fits” you end up showing them every single possible area — usually on foot. We saw the Financial District, we saw Battery Park City, we saw Union Square and Chelsea and Midtown. We saw Greenwich Village, twice, and I waved at Chinatown because there’s nothing good there now, but it’s where my last renter ended up.
So at the end of the day I am pretty ready to sack out when I get a call from Hayley … the best friend of my very first client. She is losing her great budget sublet in the Village, can I help find another?
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, no, I cannot help. NYC vacancy rates are under 1 percent, and Hayley’s budget is about 20 percent under market prices. If I knew where great cheap apartments were in one of my favorite sections of New York City, I would be living in one myself.
On the other hand, I am proud to be thought of, by my very first clients, as some kind of miracle worker. That’s what all this striving is for, isn’t it? So people think of me as the broker that can discover radium?
So I spent an hour and a half with my computer, searching for Hayley’s miracle. It didn’t pop up. My favorite was an apartment in the right area in her price range … seven flights up. I called the listing broker to make sure it was still available, and she said that Hayley had already called about it — and apparently rejected it.
So I kept going. I pulled out a piece of lined paper with my favorites, making notes so I could tell her what the parameters of her decision would be — you can climb seven flights or go 10 blocks north, spend $300 more than your budget or live in an apartment that is 10 feet wide. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck and Yuck — it was like, would you rather have a stomachache or a headache? I wasn’t finding a solution, and I knew I wasn’t making any money.
But at least when I called to tell Hayley how dire the market was, I had done my research. When she told me about the thing she had found on craigslist (which was only yuck with a little y) I heartily told her to go for it. I told her with great confidence how much time I had spent pounding the computer in her honor, and I heard all this get relayed back to her best friend, my first client. So I think of this not as an hour and a half spent in vain, but an hour and a half spent on marketing — I could have used the time to address postcards, but instead I proved to two dedicated customers that all the stones in Manhattan had been turned.
Now if they would just tell their rich friends that.