I've recently become addicted to Marc Maron's WTF podcast. It happened after I caught a really bad flu and somehow stumbled upon it. I found that Maron's voice somehow calmed me after long days, and while I hate to say this, it helped put me to sleep.
So what does Marc Maron have to do with me and my AptStar and my deciding, all of a sudden, after over one decade to start a behind the scenes blog? Maron has a page called Dispatches (aka blog) where he tells associates what's happening in his life, in his career, in his day to day existence. My days are full of insights into what's happening in the rental industry. One person at a time.
I am currently helping a young professional woman who is trying to downsize because she is paying too much money for rent in her already modest one bedroom apartment. And that's insane. She arrived in New York City two years ago and did little to no research into the cost of living. Specifically, she lacked the real knowledge of what it costs to rent an apartment and what it costs to live in New York City. Online ads with fake listings deceived her and once here she was faced with reality.
At this point, two years later, she's dipped into her savings (and lucky for her she has some), but has realized that if she doesn't move out of her one bedroom apartment and into a studio apartment where she could pay less (or even a roommate situation - which she is open to) -- she'd be broke.
Somehow she stumbled upon me and while my initial reaction was to say no because I thought she already had a good deal, the panic in her voice made me hesitate and I said yes. For reasons that are beyond my control I always want to help someone in need.
And so she's become, in many ways, an adopted little sister or a niece because she now texts me all the time and calls me without making an appointment. And, surprisingly, I'm okay with it.
While I try to maintain a pretty solid timeframe with almost all of my clients -- her case is unique -- and it doesn't have a one way to solve solution. It's a lot of work. But she doesn't feel she's alone in this big city anymore. And that makes me feel good.
Today I will be screening a potential client who, in her mid 40s, doesn't feel she has put enough money away and who also wants to downsize. She's currently paying $3,300 for a one bedroom and feels she can make do with a studio apartment priced below $2,500.
And then there are the parents of these two adorable newly graduated financial wizards. When I help newly minted professionals and they need guarantors, it is like I am working with 6 people (parents included), instead of two. Needless to say, some of the parents are easier to work with than the others. But I understand the situation from the parents' perspective who are suddenly sending their kids off to the big apple and are really nervous.
The just-graduated-soon-to-enter-the-workforce young men are elated, of course.
It somehow falls on me to make sure everyone feels okay through the insane process of finding the right apartment and making sure they are chosen by the landlord. Not easy keeping 6 people on track at the same time, but it's what I do.
The rental season is here. I can feel it and it's going to be a busy one.
Who knew! When I started this almost 12 years ago -- I had no idea how valuable a service it would be. So happy it is.
I guess this is where I thank Marc Maron for inspiring me to finally write it down.