Finding and moving into a new apartment takes a lot of work, time, and money. It is supremely frustrating when after all this hassle the new apartment has all sorts of problems, especially after paying a security deposit, first month’s rent, and fees to a broker.

In this week’s Apartment Guru, Bitten and Burned paid out a sizable amount of money for her new apartment, but when she went to move, she discovered that the apartment has a flea infestation and severe water damage in the kitchen. Instead of moving in, she took pictures of the apartment and then compared them to the pictures of the apartment when she went to see it with her husband.

Go to to read Apartment Guru’s advice, and go to Neighborhood NYC at to find your next home.


A recent trend at bridal shops is a suggested limit on the bride’s entourage because having too many voices and opinions can be overwhelming. Lately, many New York City real estate agents wish that they could put a similar limit on their clients’ entourage as folks are bringing their parents, friends, decorators, and casual acquaintances before deciding on an apartment.

Last month, New York Magazine covered this trend in their article Just One More Look. They interviewed Jeffrey Schleider of Miron Properties and Adriano Hultmann of Prudential Douglas Elliman, both of whom have experienced wishy-washy buyers.

Schleider tells New York Magazine, “I had one person come back three additional times. First he came with his mother, then a girlfriend and co-worker, and then an interior design and a painter. This is all before putting together a number.” The most frustrating part was that after all this work and time, the client decided not to buy the apartment.

Why are clients feeling more comfortable taking their time? Schleider thinks that the poor economy is a major factor. Buyers want to be more cautious with their investments, so they want confirmation that they are making the right decision from lots of people who have their best interests at heart. Schleider explains, “They want to make sure that if they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it right.

To read more about this trend, check out New York Magazine’s full article at

Rented Spaces’ columnist Apartment Guru is a favorite at Benjamin James Real Estate. She gives consistently good advice about difficult situations, and this week was no different. Girl Living Alone wrote in asking for advice for her creepy predicament. She has suspected for a while that her building manager has been letting himself into her apartment with his spare key so he can eat her food and watch her television while she is at work.

Should she buy a nanny cam to catch the building manager in her apartment? What are her rights as a tenant? Is the building manager ever allowed to enter her apartment without her expressed consent? You can find out by reading Apartment Guru at

Looking for a new apartment? Check out our informational website Neighborhood NYC at

Sometimes it is difficult for real estate agents to write a glowing ad for an apartment. Words like “tiny” and “cramped” are substituted for words like “intimate.” NY1 real estate reporter Jill Urban recently wrote about the truth behind real estate ads and how the average apartment hunter can save time  by eliminating certain apartment listings altogether. Her trick? Apartment hunters just need to know what adjectives to look for.

“Cozy,” “interesting,”and “potential” are red flags that an apartment might have problems. “Cozy” usually means undersized while “interesting” means that this apartment isn’t to everyone’s tastes. “Potential” is almost always the realtor’s way of saying that the apartment will need work. Even if the place is marked down considerably, apartment hunters should move along. A discount is not as much of a discount after sinking lots of money into fixing up an apartment with “potential.”

To read the full article, go to, and find out the right and wrong words to look for in a real estate ad.

Check out residential buildings all over Manhattan at our informational website Neighborhood NYC at

Manhattan is full of artistic folks who want an apartment that is completely unique. Some people hang a friend’s artwork or build their own bookshelves or sew their own bed sheets, but for those who actually have jobs, it can be difficult to have entirely original decorations.

Rented Spaces suggests that an apartment can still be different while incorporating items like off-beat coasters or furniture that wasn’t the result of a DIY project. Plastic furniture like the chair pictured to the left can be purchased at or

To read the full article, go to Comment below and tell us how you decorated your apartment!

Check out our informational site Neighborhood NYC at to see residential buildings all over Manhattan.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported on an ethically sticky practice by many prominent art and history museums in New York City. Museum presidents and directors are not only getting sizable salaries but are oftentimes given tax-free apartments worth millions of dollars, making some question if this is an abuse of tax law.

The American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art are a few of the museums in New York City that house their presidents and directors in posh apartments. They get away with their tax-free status by claiming that the heads of museums spend a lot of time entertaining donors in their home, so their apartment is also their workplace.

What do you think? Should directors of museums get large salaries in addition to tax-free apartments worth millions of dollars, or is this an abuse of tax law? Comment below and let us know what you think!

At Benjamin James Real Estate, we are big fans of Rented Spaces’ column Apartment Guru. We think that the column offers great advice from how to deal with tenants who are smoking marijuana to getting a good night’s sleep when the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking and handling a passive-aggressive roommate.

This week, the Apartment Guru is tackling the uncertainty of new neighbors and whether it is against the law to encourage couples with children or cats to look elsewhere for their new home. Can “Discerning, Not Discriminating” do anything to prevent the pitter-patter of little feet or conflict between their dog and a new neighbor’s cat? Click here or go to to read the column.

Check out residential buildings across the city at our informational site Neighborhood NYC at

Religion and Roommates

August 9, 2010

For some folks in New York, religion means going to church on Easter and Christmas Eve. For others, however, faith is so much a part of their life that they have to factor it in when searching for roommates or a new apartment.

Faith can affect a living situation in a major way from making certain that a kitchen is kosher to making certain that a roommate will be okay with Islamic prayers five times a day. In a big city like New York, it is not as difficult to find a roommate or a community with similar beliefs. Last week, the New York Times did a wonderful piece called “Sharing the Faith, Splitting the Rent” that looked at individuals seeking roommates with similar values as well as larger faith communities like Radical Living.

To read the original article, go to and leave a comment below. Does faith factor into your living situation? Would you care if a roommate practiced their religious beliefs in your apartment? Let us know what you think!

Check out apartments from all over Manhattan at our informational website Neighborhood NYC at

At Benjamin James Real Estate, we love a terrible roommate story (see Worst Roommates on Craigslist Parts 1 and 2), so when we saw this post on Gizmodo, we had to share it with you.

There has been a lot of backlash over the iPhone 4 over issues with phone reception, but more recently, there has been backlash against people who use iPhones and other Apple products. Vince Thomas has such a strong hatred for Apple users that in his Craigslist roommate-wanted ad, he wrote:

I have two major criteria

1) NO IPHONE USERS. I refuse to live with anyone who has sold their immortal soul to Steve Jobs. I don’t care about your app that tells you when you need to water your plants. I don’t care that your phone can function as a Speak N Spell. I don’t care that your phone has a million “exciting” features that exist elsewhere. NO IPHONES. Oh, and probably no iPads, either. Upon meeting, you must show me your phone (no scammers! I will be calling it in person to confirm that it is indeed your phone)

I know what you must be wondering. What was Vince’s second major criterion? Was it doing the dishes, picking up dirty clothes, or having a vegan lifestyle?

2) STARCRAFT 2 experience is a big plus. If you play, please post a link to your profile. The more experience, the better. No bronze leaguers.

Oh boy.

To see the original ad, click here or go to

Avoid the crazy roommates and find your own apartment at Neighborhood NYC at

On Monday, 230 ballerinas broke a world record by standing en pointe in Central Park for a minute and seven seconds.

The ballerinas congregated at the Naumburg Bandshell for the event that was organized by Michele Wiles and Craig Salstein, principal dancers for the American Ballet Theatre.

These dancers were attempting to break the record, but the main goal for the event was to raise funds for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club dance program. Each dancer was asked to donate $10 to participate.

As part of the event, dancers from the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club’s dance program performed, and Angelina Ballerina was there to greet the young dancers.

To see more pictures from the event, click here or go to

Check out residential buildings nearby Central Park on the Upper West and Upper East Sides at