Found! A Brooklyn Apartment On Craigslist

Friday, July 13, 2012

We found it on Craigslist, advertised with no photos - a 1 bedroom apartment 'by owner '(i.e. no 15% broker fee!). It took us an hour on the subway from the Upper West Side and three flights of red carpeted stairs, and we were there. 

It was just so Brooklyn, and just what I had imagined our apartment would be like in New York. It was at the back of the third floor of an old brownstone, with a fireplace (although no longer functional  - to the disappointment of Mr M), large windows overlooking the back of a church (with good light - very important!), and a clean, but teeny kitchen that I have convinced myself I can adapt to.

We asked all the right questions (i.e. does the price include heat and hot water?, is there a laundry? building super?) and then headed out to see what we thought of the neighbourhood - Brooklyn Heights. Which begs the questions, how could anyone not love Brooklyn Heights?

I took these pics last time I was in BH, so none are our apartment.
More photos to come once we live there!

So we called the owner back 10 minutes later, wondering how he would feel renting to a couple of Australians with no jobs and no credit history.....hmmmm. Typically landlords here expect your annual salary to be 40 to 50 times the monthly rent.

But he took a leap of faith and we signed a lease - we move in at the end of July. We are sad to leave our lovely Upper West Side apartment with enormous kitchen (NYC standards), but are excited to experience another side of New York.

The next challenge? Figuring out how to move apartments in New York City.

Tips for apartment hunting on Craiglist
  1. You can find a good apartment (we did), but just be prepared for all sorts of dodginess
  2. For a 'no fee' apartment (i.e. no broker fee) look at the categories "All no fee apartments" or "by owner" or "no fee broker"
  3. These are not always categorised correctly (see point 1) - If you want a ' by owner' apartment look for adverts that are written a little differently from the others (i.e. not capitalised) - owners write differently to brokers.
  4. Always see the apartment in person
  5. Don't ignore adverts without photos from owners - I have been told by one owner that they don't include photos because the response is too overwhelming. Less people respond to adverts without photos. It is higher risk (time-wise) but possibly high return.
And for more apartment hunting advice visit my article on here.


  1. Good for you! Brooklyn Heights is lovely. From the pictures the apartment looks to be the quintessential Brooklyn place.

    1. We are pretty excited. But I have to confess that isn't our apartment in the photo - just a nice picture I took a little while ago when I was wandering Brooklyn Heights. I promise to get our apartment up once we move!

  2. Those pics make Brooklyn Heights look quite quaint. Can't wait to see the real pics.

  3. How exciting! I LOVE Brooklyn Heights - congratulations on finding a place! Also, thank you so much for your sweet comment on Friday - I appreciate it! :)

    1. Thanks Shoko. Only 9 months to go until my blogiversary :)

  4. Should be fun, it's definitely a different vibe from where you are now. I'm old school so I still only consider Manhattan to be NYC but I know that's changed... now Hell's Kitchen is Clinton Heights?!? You might want to check out the Tenement Museum to see how immigrants in the last century lived. Helps you appreciate your new space.

    Oh, and please do come across the river more often. NJers don't bite. And although I will not deny that there are people who do act like a Jersey reality show, most of us don't (I share a zip code with Jerseylicious and noone in the area is like that at all. The hairdressers don't even work at the Gatsby in "real life.") We have great wineries, lots of parks, and we don't have sales tax on clothing:)

    1. Thanks for the tip on the Tenement Musum Heidi. We will be sure to do that. And we will be sure to come over to NJ more often as well. Maybe a shopping trip to Jersey City is required ;) Any tips?