WE NO LONGER LIVE IN OUR PARENTS’ BASEMENTS.
On April 6th, 2019, we moved into our Brooklyn apartment. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly, it took us a few months of planning.
We started our search with a $1,800/month budget, open to apartments in Jersey City and a list of must-haves: decent size bedroom, open concept space, less than 40-minute commute, no subway transfers, close to public transportation. We quickly realized we wanted to be in Brooklyn and that our initial budget was unrealistic for our expectations so naturally we increased our budget! That’s what people do right? Yeah… I don’t recommend it. We went from $1,800 to $2,000 and finally to $2,100.
We found our apartment after 15 viewings and were convinced right away that we forgot to think about the long-term impacts of having a high rent. Our scarcity mindset blinded our judgement. This was OUR home. The PERFECT place destined for us! We would be lucky to have that apartment. No way were we going to find something better.
As soon as we walked out, we turned to each other, smiled and in unison declared “we’re getting this apartment!!!” We immediately texted the broker and by the time we were in bed that night we had received the application invitation.
In that initial email we learned that we had fallen for a “net effective” apartment listing. Net effective rent means that the price advertised was not going to be what we would be paying. By listing their rent as net effective, landlords are able to attract more interested renters. It also allows them to significantly increase the following year’s rent.
The net effective preferential rent was an already stretch in our budget of $2,100 per month, which made our gross monthly rent (aka what we’re paying each month) $2,290.91… brb cyring … ridiculous. It was a 12-month lease (starting April 1st) but we would only be paying rent for 11 months because May would be “free”.
In our case, the net effective preferential rent was calculated by dividing the total amount of rent payable during our lease term by the number of months in our lease:
$2,290.91 times 11 (rather than 12 because May is free) equals $25,200.
$25,200 divided by 12 (representing the 12 month total term of the lease) equals $2,100 per month which is the net effective preferential rent.
WAIT, I’m sorry, did you say $25,200 a year? Yes, I too, gasped at that amount. The amount became less scary when divided by two… remember, I moved in with my boyfriend… for a total of $12,600. This amount was a few thousand more than what I was already spending by living at home.
On the plus side, we did not need to pay a broker fee and our total costs to the landlord for moving was $2,290.91 (my half), which included first month’s rent and security deposit. The application fee per renter was $75 and security deposit cashier’s check was $10 each.
Total Cost for Apartment – $2,375.91
The cost of the apartment isn’t the only expense to consider when moving out, furniture can be a big one! We were very fortunate to receive hand-me-downs from Ari’s family and ‘college Ari’’s apartment. We did purchase a used kitchen table, TV stand, night stands, and household cleaning supplies.
After two months of sharing the bed, Ari realized he couldn’t take a full-sized bed with another human.
“Let’s upgrade?” he asked.
“I don’t need to.” I said.
This meant he was on his own for buying our new queen mattress, but I’d happily split the cost of our bed frame.
Total Cost for Furniture – $478.05
We were funny in thinking that we wouldn’t need a big truck for all
of Ari’s our things. Our plan was to ask our family members to drive our furniture down, which would’ve required at least six cars. When you consider that we were moving to Brooklyn aka limited parking spaces and expensive tolls, it didn’t make sense.
U-Haul was the best decision even if it meant spending more money. The truck didn’t fit everything, we still needed two extra cars to carry our stuff. I paid all costs for driving my sister’s car, which included paying for the cost she incurred for not having access to her car.
Uber – $6.57
Gas – $42.22
Tolls – $24.50
U-Haul – $102.00
Total Cost for Transportation – $175.29
They’re not kidding when they say moving is expensive. Shit just adds up! I was able to move out without incurring debt because I started saving for it in January (three months out!). This meant putting aside my goal of paying off my student loan debt for a later date, more on that another time.
We still love our home, but we are considering downgrading next year so we can prioritize savings, something we miss deeply.