Renting

Here Is Your Open Thread

Here is your open thread.

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On Living Cheaply in Los Angeles, Or Trying To

I knew from the beginning that I wasn’t in love with the apartment. The living room space was nice in theory, but difficult to appreciate under its permanent cover of the other girls’ stuff and clutter. My bedroom was at the end of a long, narrow hallway, with one high, small north-facing window that provided dingy light in the mornings, and none at all by noon. There was no built-in storage, and the ancient stove ran cold, with one reliable burner and two that never worked at all. The backyard, which had seemed charmingly ramshackle when I first saw it on a nighttime tour, turned out to be brown and barren, and the front porch was filthy with years’ worth of dust and dog hair.

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Soon We’ll All Be Somebody’s Roommate

In a country of stagnant incomes and rising costs of living, cutting costs often means having to find an affordable city to live in, but more commonly, it means finding roommates to split the rent.

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Places I’ve Lived: Detroit Edition

We lived in a brownstone off of Eight Mile in a decidedly not dangerous and predominantly gay area. To the west of us, houses began to fall in on themselves and the night became progressively darker. The streetlights were out.

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Airbnb: Bad For New York, Great For Me

I guess like most things in this new disrupted world of ours, I think Airbnb is bad for New York, but when family is in town and needs a place to stay, that’s exactly where I send them. On her last visit, my mom stayed in a place one block from us for $60/night.

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How A Person With a Five-Figure Income Buys an Apartment in New York City

When The New York Times ran a story in late June on income-restricted housing, I almost didn’t read it. After a six-month apartment search on a New-York-poor budget, I was something of an expert on the ins and outs of different types of buildings. But I had just curled up with a mug of coffee at my parents’ suburban kitchen table, their print Times arrayed before me.

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On Seattle and Small Apartments

That’s my apartment.

The whole thing.

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It’s Heating Season In New York City

I spent all night freezing my ass off and debating whether I should get out of bed to put on a sweatshirt, which means it must be late October in my rented apartment!

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“Freelance Money Isn’t Like Other Money”

This aggrieved response, in Salon, to the NYT magazine piece about Portland — why people move there, what they do then, and how the city is changing — makes some sobering points about how our culture views freelance work and the money that results.

In 2013 my husband had a salaried position and did some freelance work — freelance work he has been doing for the past 10 years — on the side. In 2014 he quit the salaried job to pursue freelance full-time and is making roughly three times what he used to. Had he left that salaried job for another, we’d have no problem. We’d produce his last two pay stubs and even though it was a new job his work history would demonstrate some indelible quality about him and we’d have our mortgage.

But it doesn’t work like that for freelancers. The invoices we send out every month, the checks we deposit, the estimated taxes we’ve already paid — none of it really means anything until we file our tax return. Freelance money, we’ve come to realize, isn’t like other money. At a time in our economy when a salaried worker can lose his job without warning and then be unemployed for months, if not years, he’s still seen as a safer bet than a freelancer. Our money doesn’t count, and neither do our jobs. This is cultural, I understand, and there are countless ways — from healthcare to the tax code — that our culture is set up to favor salaried workers.

No one who reads this site could mistake freelancers for slackers. But it’s true that when Ben and I both jumped off the freelance cliff, we didn’t consider the long-term ramifications in terms of things like mortgages. (Move somewhere significantly cheaper and buy in cash?) Anyone have experience convincing banks to lend to you as something other than a FT employee?

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“Behind Every Jane Jacobs Comes Giuliani with his Nightstick.”

Mueller’s painting with too broad a brush. Not so much a broad brush, even: a flamethrower.

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Reconsidering a Living Situation

I mulled over the fact that I had just dropped off a rent check for an apartment in Manhattan that I hadn’t even lived in for half of the month.

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