Renting in the Big City

Safe to say growing up in the 90’s most people watched either New York City based TV show, FRIENDS or Seinfeld. Personally I was always a FRIENDS girl (I shamelessly can prob recite almost every word of almost every episode) and my father was a Seinfeld man so naturally I watched both. The reason why both shows were so successful was mainly because the situations the characters found themselves in were in many ways relatable to young adults everywhere. But there’s SO MUCH MORE behind these shows that weren’t really discussed until the latter years of both productions; one popular topic being their apartments!

Lets start with Seinfeld. How is the world did a man like Cosmo Kramer who had no actual job, actually afford, what we imagine is a studio or one bedroom on the Upper West Side?! Not only that, at one point the man had a freaking hot tub in his apartment, something that would require LOTS of electricity and back in those days nothing was energy efficient. HOW DID KRAMER DO IT?! Now let’s put some thought into FRIENDS, more specifically, Monica’s apartment. Not until the very last episode did we learn that all those times Monica and Ross mentioned “nana’s name is on the lease” translated into the freaking apartment was rent controlled! Today’s world in that neighborhood, a 4/5th floor walk-up 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment with that terrace, windows (light), and all that space would EASILY go for $5,000+!

I remember an apartment we sold in the village a few years back for over $2M – the apartment was renovated maybe 6 or 7 years prior (nothing over the top just modernized), 2 bedroom, 3rd floor walk up, that could be comparable to Monica’s apartment. That very unit easily could rent for $6000 – $7000 a month!

Moral of the story: I’m extremely envious of those apartments and I’m sure I’m not alone. Now-a-days when I watch these shows I’m re-configuring walls, changing appliances, redesigning kitchens etc. Has my career ruined the nostalgia of these shows?

All that being said, in reality, millennials veer towards renting over owning which still blows my mind. Please do not get me wrong, rentals keep the money flow coming in-between closings of sales, but when people start saying they want to spend $10-15k/mo in rent (yes, you read that correctly; I’ve worked with clients upwards of $50k/mo) I always try to broaden their horizons and introduce the client to the thoughts of purchasing. Even though I’m in the industry and write big rental deals in regularly, whenever I hear my friends paying $5000-$7000/mo for apartments they rarely use because they travel all the time, it literally guts me LOL.

What many people do not realize, it’s not just the expenditure of a monthly rental payment, there are NORMALLY utilities that still need to be paid monthly like electricity and gas. I’ve also seen a very expensive trend with more luxurious apartments; customizations. The amount of money tenants spend to customize an apartment they only plan on occupying for year or two BLOWS MY MIND!! Everything from custom pricey window treatments to building out custom closets or piece of furniture STRICTLY FOR THAT PARTICULAR SPACE, like why? I’d rather invest that money into a watch or into a bag that goes up in value like a Chanel or Birkin. Then again, everyone is different, but to sum it up WOW (and that’s coming from someone who deals with this on a regular basis). Come to think of it… I only remember 2 customizations being done to either the FRIENDS or Seinfeld apartments and they were living there for DECADES. In Seinfeld, Jerry asked the super to add to his kitchen island and then had him take it all down, but again that was his building super, not out of his own pocket. In FRIENDS, Joey went ahead and re-tiled his bathroom, then Monica’s (well…sorta lol).

 

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