744: Big City Brokers: What It’s Like Selling Real Estate in NYC with Jay Glazer

Have you ever wondered what it’s like selling real estate in the big city? Jay Glazer runs a highly successful brokerage in New York City and joins us today to discuss what it’s like working as a real estate professional in the nation’s biggest, busiest city. Listen and learn about the distinct challenges agents face in cities like New York, what it takes to qualify buyers for multi-million-dollar apartments, and why Jay wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. Don’t miss it

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Battle of the airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines Is the best

Battle of the airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines Is the best


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Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

The one change I would love to see American Express make to its improve cards in 2021

The one change I would love to see American Express make to its improve cards in 2021


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

The Income Needed to Afford Home Payments in 15 Cities

Couple with house key
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.

Housing costs eat up more of the average American’s salary each month than any other single expense, reaching about one-third of average expenditures in 2019, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while homeownership is coded into the DNA of the American dream, buying a home isn’t easy for many. Car payments, student loans, credit card bills and other debts can make it difficult to qualify for a home loan and keep up with mortgage payments. That’s why SmartAsset analyzed data from the 15 biggest U.S. cities to estimate how much money you will need to make — and not exceed the recommended 36% debt-to-income ratio — to afford monthly home payments.

Our study compares these cities using the following factors: median home value, property tax rate, down payment, homeowners insurance and other monthly non-mortgage debt payments. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

This is SmartAsset’s fourth study on the salary needed to afford home payments in the 15 largest U.S. cities. Check out the 2020 version of the study here.

1. San Jose, CA

pbk-pg / Shutterstock.com

Homeowners in San Jose, California, need to have the highest income out of all 15 cities to afford their home payments. Our study shows that they have to earn $143,233 (with no debt) to afford a property with a median home value of $999,900. That income goes up to $159,900 when a homeowner has $500 in monthly debt payments, $168,233 if he or she owes $750 a month and $176,657 with $1,000 of additional monthly debt. On a more affordable note, the property tax rate in San Jose is relatively low, at 0.76%.

2. New York City, NY

New York City homes neighborhood
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

The Big Apple comes in second, but if you want to buy a home in New York City, you will need to earn at least $98,867 with no additional debt to afford house payments. If you owe $1,000 in monthly debt payments, you will need a salary of $132,200. The median home value in NYC is $680,800, and the median real estate tax bill is $5,633.

3. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles neighborhood.
Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles’ median home value is slightly higher than New York City’s and the second-highest in the study ($697,200). The property tax rate, however, is the second-lowest overall – at just 0.68%. If you have no debt, you’ll need to earn at least $98,333 to make home payments and keep your debt-to-income ratio less than 36%. But if you owe $500 each month, you’ll need an income of at least $115,000.

4. San Diego, CA

San Diego home
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

San Diego, California’s median home value is $658,400, fourth-highest in the study. The average property tax rate, however, is third-lowest at 0.69%. If you have monthly debt payments of $1,000 before you take out a mortgage, you’ll need to earn at least $126,367 to afford house payments in San Diego. By comparison, if you have a monthly debt of $750, you will need to make $118,033.

5. Austin, TX

Row houses in Austin, Texas
Tricia Daniel / Shutterstock.com

Austin, Texas, homeowners without debt must earn a minimum of $64,600 to make their housing payments. Their income requirement rises to $81,267 if they have a monthly debt payment of $500. The median home value in Austin is significantly lower when compared with the top four cities on this list, at just $378,300. But the property tax rate is more than twice as high, at 1.75%.

6. Chicago, IL

Chicago row houses at sunset
Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

The median home value in the Windy City is $275,200. Chicago homeowners have to pay a fairly high property tax rate, at 1.54%. If they do not have any monthly debts, they’ll need to earn at least $45,400 to afford monthly home payments without exceeding the 36% debt-to-income ratio. If they owe $1,000 in debt payments outside their mortgage, they’ll need to earn $78,733.

7. Dallas, TX

NicholasGeraldinePhotos / Shutterstock.com

Dallas has the fifth-highest property tax rate in this study, at 1.66%. The median home value in the city is $231,400. Homeowners without debt must earn at least $38,933. But if they owe $750 in monthly debt, they’ll need to make at least $63,933 to afford a mortgage.

8. Charlotte, NC

Home surrounded by greenery in Charlotte,NC.
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Charlotte, North Carolina, has a median home value of $252,100 and a property tax rate of 0.94%. Homeowners here must earn $37,367 without any additional debt to afford housing payments. If you owe $500 in monthly debt payments outside your mortgage, you’ll need to make at least $54,033 for your housing payments.

9. Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth Texas
Barbara Smyers / Shutterstock.com

The property tax rate in Fort Worth is 1.98%, the highest rate across all 15 cities. The median home value is $209,400, and homeowners with additional monthly debt payments of $750 need to make $62,100 to live comfortably in this city. By comparison, if their non-mortgage debt obligation is only $500 each month, they will need to earn $53,767.

10. Phoenix, AZ

Aerial view of Phoenix, Arizona
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com

The property tax rate in Phoenix, Arizona, is 0.58%, the lowest in this study. The median home value is $266,600. Homeowners can afford making mortgage payments with an income of $36,867 as long as they have no other debt. But if they have $750 in monthly debt payments, they’ll need to earn at least $61,867.

11. Houston, TX

Houston homes neighborhood
Stephanie A Sellers / Shutterstock.com

Houston’s property tax rate, like in the other Texas cities in the top 15, is fairly high — third-highest in the study, in fact — at 1.78%. The median home value, though, is much lower on the list, at $195,800. To afford the home payments without breaking the 36% debt-to-income rule, you’ll need to earn at least $50,267 if you have $500 in other monthly debt. If you’ve managed to stay debt-free before the mortgage, you’ll only need $33,600 in annual income.

12. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio, Texas outdoors
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

The median property tax rate in San Antonio, Texas, is 1.91%, the second-highest property tax rate in the study. The median home value is $171,100. To afford payments on the median San Antonio home, you’ll need to earn at least $29,967 and have no additional debt payments. If you owe a monthly debt of $1,000 outside your mortgage, you’ll need to earn at least $63,300 to afford home payments comfortably.

13. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville homes neighborhood
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Jacksonville, Florida’s median home value is $200,200, and the property tax rate is relatively low at 0.87%. This means that you’ll need to make $29,300 to afford an average house payment as long as you have no additional monthly debt. If you are making other debt payments of $500 each month, you’ll need to earn at least $45,967 to afford home payments in Jacksonville comfortably.

14. Columbus, OH

Columbus, Ohio
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

Columbus, Ohio’s property tax rate is 1.60%, and the median home value is $173,300. Homeowners with additional debt payments of $500 each month must earn at least $45,533. Doubling those monthly non-mortgage debt payments to $1,000 means that they’ll need a salary of at least $62,200.

15. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia neighborhood homes
AnjelikaGr / Shutterstock.com

The median home value in the city of Brotherly Love is $183,200, and the property tax rate is 0.91%. If you have no other debt, you’ll need a salary of at least $27,000 to make home payments in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you owe $750 in monthly debt payments outside your mortgage, you will have to earn a minimum of $52,000 per year.

Data and Methodology

Business woman working from home in a dress
Alissa Kumarova / Shutterstock.com

To find the minimum required salary to afford home payments in the 15 largest U.S. cities, we used data from the U.S. Census Bureau. First, we took the median home value in each city and calculated the cost of a 20% down payment. We then used the average real estate taxes paid in each city and the median home value to find the average property tax rate. Using those figures and our mortgage calculator, we found the average monthly home payment in each city assuming a homebuyer would get a 30-year mortgage with a 3% interest rate for 80% of the home value (the balance after paying a 20% down payment). We also factored in an annual homeowners insurance payment of 0.35%.

After finding the average monthly home payment, we calculated the income needed to make those payments while not exceeding a 36% debt-to-income ratio. We also considered the necessary income to make home payments based on prospective homebuyer debt levels, which ranged from no monthly debt payments to debt payments totaling $1,000 per month.

We ranked each city from the highest minimum income (with no additional debt) needed to afford home payments to the lowest minimum income (with no additional debt) needed. Median home values and median household incomes are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Tyra Banks Snags a Picture-Perfect Malibu Beach House for $4.7M

Smize! The supermodel and real estate tycoon Tyra Banks has reportedly snapped up a Malibu beach house, according to Variety. The purchase must have her smizing, as in, “smiling with her eyes,” a term she invented.

The television personality and home flipper must have flipped for the property, splashing out $4,717,555 for the oceanfront contemporary.

The savvy businesswoman managed to chip away at the asking price, which was $5.5 million when it debuted on the market in November 2020. No doubt she’ll use the discount to budget for a home makeover of the 1980s-era abode, which is in need of refreshing.

As beach pads go, this one certainly makes waves. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom, two-story home right on the Malibu coastline offers awe-inspiring views of the Pacific.

The entrance features a soaring, two-story atrium topped with a skylight, allowing sunlight to pour in to the open floor plan. The layout features an open kitchen with dizzying gridlike tiles on every surface, and features an island and room for a breakfast table.

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Watch: Matt Damon’s $21M Pacific Palisades Home Says ‘Big Time’

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In addition, the 4,000 square feet of living space include a den, a bar, and laundry units in the kitchen, the listing notes. A mix of Mexican tile and wood floors run throughout the main level.

The kitchen adjoins a more formal dining room. Just adjacent, the sunny, sunken living room includes a fireplace with a brick surround, built-ins, and glass doors that open to the deck.

Upstairs, the master bedroom includes a fireplace, deck access, walk-in closet, and a bathroom, with more gridded tile covering the counters and even the tub surround.

Multiple decks take full advantage of the water views on all levels, including the roof. A two-car garage completes the property.

The co-host of “Dancing With the Stars” is no stranger to real estate deals. As we’ve reported in the past, Banks has multiple land holdings.

Her transactions have mostly focused on the posh Pacific Palisades area, where she owns a modern, $7 million contemporary home that she purchased in 2018.

The five-bedroom home offers views of the Pacific Ocean and the Palisades upscale shopping and dining district below. The space includes a backyard with pool, as well as balconies on every level, including a roof deck with a hot tub.

In 2019, Banks scooped up a Pacific Palisades traditional for a little over $3 million, which she had planned to transform into a modern farmhouse-style beach cottage.

However, without refurbishing the dated domicile, she recently sold it for $3.2 million, Variety reported. Perhaps her makeover efforts will now be focused on the Malibu home instead.

Banks has also held on to a swanky New York City condo that she picked up for $10.1 million in 2009, and remodeled at a cost of millions. Located in Battery Park City, the two-floor, 7,000-square foot spread is made up of four adjoining units.

Although she did test out the NYC market with a $17.5 million price tag on her place in 2017, the mansion-sized duplex has since been taken off the market.

We can see why it’s a keeper: The five-bedroom, eight-bathroom residence offers superstar amenities, including a hair salon, a gym, a 360-degree mirrored dressing room, staff quarters, and Hudson River views.

When not trading in real estate, the creator of “America’s Next Top Model” recently founded a premium ice cream brand, SMiZE Cream.

Jonathan Macht with Coldwell Banker Realty represented the seller. James Respondek with Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer.

Source: realtor.com

Following NYC’s COVID-19 travel rules? Expect to hear from the sheriff.

Following NYC’s COVID-19 travel rules? Expect to hear from the sheriff.



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Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

Here’s How to Get Started With Comic Book Investing

You may have heard stories of people cleaning out attics to find older comic books they then sold at a hefty profit.

That does happen — but it’s not just older books that are becoming valuable. Even comic books from the last 20 years are becoming more collectible. Some have jumped in value from just a few dollars five years ago to over $2,000 today.

Smart investors are finding they can make money off of this trend, but only if they treat it like they would any serious investment.

I started investing in comics in the mid-1970s with the change I could find in the cushions of our couch. Through careful savings and picking the right comics, I invested and parlayed my profits into bigger and bigger purchases. Here’s my advice for anyone looking to get started.

How to Get Started With Comic Book Investing

The idea of comic books as an investment first picked up steam during the 2008 recession. Between the turbulent stock and real estate markets and next-to-nothing interest rates offered by banks, people had to come up with creative ways to invest and make money.

Many people did, and continue to do, well by investing in comic books, but it’s not like throwing a dart at a dartboard and hoping for the best. To make a profit on what some still think of as “kiddie fare,” you have to act like a kid in school and do your homework.

1. Learn Everything You Can About Comic Books

The first step is to learn everything you can. Talk to experts. Follow auctions on sites like ebay and ComicConnect to see what’s selling and for how much. [Editor’s note: The author is the owner of ComicConnect.] Study the trends, such as a surge in popularity due to a character being featured in a new movie or TV show.

And, most importantly, know your superheroes. Comic books are about more than the “blue chip” superheroes: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the like. Expanding your knowledge beyond the big names can make you a savvier investor. For example, some heroes from the Golden Age (1930s-1950s), such as Catman, Black Terror, The Destroyer and Phantom Lady are very popular, despite the fact that they’re no longer in publication.

2. Decide Your Budget

The next step in investing is to decide on your budget. There’s room in the market for small and large investors alike, and that can mean anything from $10 to $3 million.

When figuring out your budget, determine how many comic books you want to buy per year, and how long you want to hold onto them. I recommend putting together a “want list” of the comics you want to buy and grades you want them in. You can then look at current market prices by using the Overstreet Price Guide, gpanalysis.com and gocollect.com.

I also like to leave about 10% of my budget for something that catches my eye — and something always catches my eye!

3. Start Buying — But Do Your Due Diligence

Before the pandemic, I would have suggested attending comic conventions to find comics for your collection, but now your best option is to check out dealer and auction sites.

For instance, my company ComicConnect holds four event auctions a year, featuring a wide range of vintage comics, original art and other collectibles. We also host monthly auctions, where you can find more great comics.

Many other sites sell comics,  but it’s important to find reputable sources that will stand behind what they are selling. Accurate grading and a return policy are important.

And if you’re considering getting into selling your comic books, be prepared to answer a lot of questions from seasoned collectors.

Is This a Long-Term vs. Short-Term Investment?

Consider whether you want to invest for the long or short-term. Long-term investors should select comics that have traditionally shown slow, steady growth. For example, people who bought a copy of “Amazing Fantasy 15” (the first appearance of Spider-Man) for $3,000 in 2010 own a comic book that’s worth $10,000 today.

For long-term investors, pre-1985 books are the best choice. These comics have shown they have legs to them, and by the time they’ve been around that long, they’ll have hit vintage status. There are plenty of modern comics from the last 20 years to read, collect and invest in, but the market for those books can be a bit more volatile.

For short-term investors, it’s all about timing. Try to buy books when they just start to get hot with the intention of selling them quickly before interest wanes. There are comics that have only been out for a few months that are selling for anywhere from $50 to $100.

But remember, the short-term market can be very volatile. For example, investors who bought “Green Lantern 7” a year before the “Green Lantern” movie came out saw huge profits if they sold within a few months. But if they waited until too close to the premiere of the movie — which totally flopped — they probably lost money.

Nobody wins all the time, not even experts like me. I was one of the guys who bought a high-grade “Green Lantern 7” the week the movie came out. I ended up taking a small hit when I was eventually able to sell it a few years later.

A man looks at a Superman comic at his comic book store in NYC.
Vincent Zurzolo, COO of Metropolis Collectibiles Inc., looks at a copy of the first Superman comic book he’s offering for sale at the Big Apple Comic Con, in New York Friday Oct. 16, 2009. Richard Drew/AP Photo

Some Tips for Identifying Potentially Valuable Comics

Whether investing in new or older comics, there are a few general rules you can follow to help determine whether a comic will increase in value.

Issues that feature a character’s first appearance or death, or an artist or writer’s first professional publication, are more likely to be good investments down the road. Individual pages from Action Comics 1 (Superman’s first appearance, in 1938) have sold for tens of thousands of dollars.

But it’s not just the big names that can prove valuable. It’s just as possible that the first appearance of a character in a low-grade comic can provide substantial returns one day. It’s a gamble, but one that could potentially pay off.

Remember, though, it’s not just a comic book’s significance that determines its value. Condition and rarity also have an impact. But nothing is set in stone. If there’s one copy of a book in near-mint condition but five more are found a year later, the value of that issue could drop.

Once you jump into the comic book market, remember to protect your investment. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box.

Finally, use professional appraisers and consider purchasing insurance for your collection. A quick search of your comic’s name and issue on reputable auction sites can help you gauge your comic’s value.

Vincent Zurzolo is co-owner of the New York-based Metropolis Collectibles, the world’s largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect.com, the largest online vintage comic auction house. He and his partner, Stephen Fishler, hold five Guinness World Records for the most expensive comics and related collectibles ever sold. Contact him at [email protected].

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

[NYC] Restaurant Week: Get $20.21 Meals & $10 Off With Mastercard (1/25 – 2/28)

Update 2/6/28: This has been extended a full month through February 28th. Hat tip to FM

The Offer

Direct Link to offer | Mastercard registration

  • New York City Restaurant Week runs from January 25 through January 31 and features the following two offers:
    • Get lunch or dinner meals for $20.21 at participating restaurants.
    • Register and get $10 back with your Mastercard for every transaction of $20.21 or higher. Limit ten $10 credits. (This offer is now valid the following week as well, through February 7th.)

The Fine Print

  • Statement credit available only when ordering directly through restaurant website or on Bbot, Bento Box, Seamless, Grubhub, Opentable or Tock.

Our Verdict

I assume there must be some sort of restrictions or limits on which meals cost $20.21. Regardless, there should be some good deals to be had, especially when you get $10 back from Mastercard which brings the cost down to just $10.21 per meal. If you are ordering multiple meals, split the charges in order to get the $10 credit on each charge.

There’s also a separate Mastercard credit available of $10 per $20 spent at on attractions, museums, shopping and more; also $25 off $100 on hotels. Details here.

Hat tip to terpdeterp

Source: doctorofcredit.com

NYC Restaurant Week is back — here’s how to get up to $100 back with a Mastercard

NYC Restaurant Week is back — here’s how to get up to $100 back with a Mastercard


Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

How to Move Cross-Country: See How These Renters Made It Work

From NYC to PDX — these renters made the move and even found room for a pup!

When former New Yorkers Erica Warren and Cici Harrison drove across the country and settled in the Pacific Northwest, they had a list of criteria for their new rental.

They’d need a parking space, a home office so Erica could work remotely and, of course, a yard so they could adopt a dog. And this rental couldn’t be too splashy, because a cross-country move is expensive enough.

All of this complicated their search in Portland’s tough rental market. Luckily the couple were able to stay locally with friends until they found the right rental. And their new home ticks all the boxes — while requiring some minor compromises to make it all work.

We chatted with Warren to hear how she and her wife navigated a cross-country move, including finding a home in a new city and making their new rental feel like home.

Where is your home, and how long have you lived there?
We’re in the Southeast, specifically the Richmond neighborhood. We moved there in March of 2017, and we’ve been there a year and a half.

How did you find your rental?
When we got here, we were staying with Marty and Tera, our friends who live here locally. The day after we arrived, there was the biggest snowstorm Portland had ever had in 30 years. That put a damper on our apartment searching, because we couldn’t drive our car or get anywhere. This place was actually the first one we saw, because it was in walking distance from Marty and Tera’s house.

We heard about it because Tera had sent an email around at her job asking if anyone had a lead on a rental. Someone else who worked with her had recently purchased a duplex and was looking for renters for the other side.

We walked over and saw it, and it was a very nice place. But it was the first place we looked at. We had no context for if it was a good deal or not. Of course, it seemed like a good deal to us, coming from New York. I was like, “It has a washer and dryer, it has a yard — I’ll pay any amount of money for that!”

So we didn’t say yes right away, and then we probably spent the next two or three weeks looking at places. We looked at about a dozen places all over the city. We saw all the different variations.

At some point we were almost ready to sign a lease on a 1 bedroom in a new apartment complex. It was, on paper, everything we were looking for. And Cici, out of nowhere, goes, “Why didn’t we want that first place that we looked at?” The one we were going to sign a lease for was 1 bedroom, and this was 2 bedrooms, and it was bigger, and the monthly rent was less. And we were like, “Oh, that was a much better place!” So we emailed the landlords to see if it was still available, and it was.

What price range were you looking for, and what did you end up paying?
We were looking in the $1,500-$1,700 per month range. This place ended up being right in the middle. It was $1,600 when we started the first year we were here, and it’s now $1,685. It seems like a pretty reasonable price for the neighborhood we’re in, because the rental market in Portland seems to be growing so fast.

What was the application and approval process like?
It was really straightforward. Our landlords live on the other side of the duplex, and they’re really nice people. I think they were looking for good neighbors as much as they were looking for good tenants. So I think that also helped with the relationship.

Were there any surprise fees?
We paid first month’s rent and a security deposit. The only extra fee when we moved in — we had just adopted Billie, and they had a $25 monthly dog rent. Which they told us about beforehand, because we were very particular about wanting a building that would allow us to adopt a dog. We got her a month after we moved in.

What was your cost of moving across the country?
We paid about $5,000 total for a full-service moving company, which is a lot of money. It was our biggest moving expense, but all we had to do was box up our things. They sent a whole team of people, packed our stuff into a storage cube, stored the cube for us, and then when we found a place, shipped it across the country. We didn’t have to do any of the logistics, and we didn’t have to do any of the carrying of things — we just had to pack a few boxes and unpack the boxes when we got here.

New York is notorious for small apartments. Is your Portland space bigger or smaller?
It’s slightly bigger, and I feel like it’s most noticeable in the kitchen. The kitchen that we have here is two or three times bigger than what we had in New York. I didn’t know how much I wanted a really nice kitchen, but now that I have one, I’m like yes, this is exactly where we needed the extra space!

We also have outdoor space, which makes a huge difference. It’s not huge — it’s more like a patio than a yard. We have a little grill, and we can sit out there on a nice day. Plus, it’s got a fence, so we can let our dog out.

Did you have any challenges making the place functional?
Nothing major. It was built in the ’60s or ’70s, but the landlords had renovated our unit before we moved in, so the kitchen, bathroom and flooring were all brand new — you know, everything works and is nicely designed, so that helped.

I did a little bit of work in the yard, just because it was a little muddy, and it’s Portland, so it’s wet in the winter, and Billie likes to dig. I got some pebble stones to fill in some of the muddy areas. We got into some light container gardening, because we never had outdoor space in Brooklyn. So we have a little blueberry bush, some star jasmine and some other little things I’m trying not to kill.

What else have you done to make your rental feel like home?
We painted a couple accent walls, which our landlords were totally fine with. We have this wide picture window in the living room that faces the road, but because of that you can see right into our house. So we got a custom shade that you can pull up from the bottom or pull down from the top, just so that we can have privacy but also sunlight if we want.

How long do you think you’ll stay?
I don’t know specifically. When we moved in, we talked about how we’d love to stay here until we’re in a position to buy a house. One day I’d like to own a house — a dining room would be nice at some point in my life. But where we’re at right now, this is the right amount of space, and it’s a really great neighborhood.

What do you want from your next place, other than a dining room?
A big fenced-in yard for Billie! Cici’s mom sent us an article about how the thing that’s finally getting millennials to buy houses is their dogs.

I’d also like a little bit more guest space so we could have people visit more frequently, because all of our family is on the East Coast.

And this is 100 percent because Cici has already claimed it — whatever house we buy has to have a basement so that she can play drums there. Number one is a yard for Billie, and number two is a basement for a drum kit and band practice.

Erica’s tips for finding a rental in a new city

1. Look around to get a sense of the market

Look at as many places as possible. Because even if you don’t want that unit, it gives you a sense of the market. So when you do find a good deal, you know that you have a good deal.

2. Know where you’re willing to compromise

If you have enough money that you don’t have to make sacrifices in renting, you probably don’t need to be renting. So everything’s a trade-off. There’s not a perfect rental out there. So it’s like, “This place has 2 bedrooms, but it’s more expensive, or this place has a bigger yard, but it’s farther out.”

3. Get a little help from your friends

We were so lucky to stay with Marty and Tera in their guest room until we found our own place. And Tera emailed co-workers to see if they knew of any rentals, which is how we ended up finding this place.

4. Conserve your energy and hire a full-service moving and storage company (if you can)

There’s enough stress in moving at all, amplified by moving cross-country. We probably could have gotten a U-Haul, packed it up, driven it cross-country and put our stuff into a storage unit here. But the logistics, let alone the physical labor, were not extra pieces of stress we needed. And even though it was really expensive, it was worth every penny.

Apartment photos by Erica Warren.

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Source: zillow.com