This family made it their mission to keep costs as low as possible
Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality.
The Hunters: Patrice Fenton and Ra’id Bey
Dream: Under $2,000 a month
Reality: $1,890 a month
Dream: Crown Heights or Bed-Stuy
Dream: Small building, new or renovated interior, storage space
Reality: Two-bedroom in a four-story building, no broker’s fee
In Miami, Patrice Fenton and her husband Ra’id Bey rented a large two-bedroom apartment for just $925 a month. But after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Miami, Fenton and her family would be relocating back to their hometown of Brooklyn where she had accepted a new position. Though they once stayed in Clinton Hill with Fenton’s parents, they knew that trying to afford the neighborhood on their own wouldn’t be feasible so they chose to hunt in Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy.
With Fenton leading the hunt, she sought out to find a two-bedroom apartment for under $2,000 a month. In an attempt to save on the broker’s fee, she opted to hunt on her own while her husband stayed in Miami prepping for moving day.
She first visited Ebbets Field Apartments, the place where she grew up, but what she found was old, run-down apartments and grounds. Even still, she checked out one of Ebbets’ two-bedroom asking $1,900 a month with utilities included but wasn’t impressed with the complex as a whole so she moved along to a renovated two-bedroom in a small Bed-Stuy building. She fell in love with the model apartment but knew her and Bey wouldn’t meet the income requirement nor escape the fifteen percent broker’s fee.
Every place she viewed after that just didn’t fit the script. Fenton decided to try her luck again with the Bed-Stuy apartment that she loved but this time she would negotiate the terms. She successfully convinced the building owners to accept her mother as a guarantor and through her luck, they decided to pick up the tab on the broker’s fee and give her two months rent-free. They’d end up paying $1,890 a month for a two-bedroom in the walk-up building. In the end, everything fell into place.
- A Bed-Stuy Apartment: Well-Known Terrain [The New York Times]