Searching For A Unicorn and Dealing with the Devil


For two weeks my husband and I have been dangerously preoccupied with finding a new housing situation.

But why? Don’t you two live as nomads for free moving around from one apartment to the next petsitting?

That is the premise of NY Nomads, but actually always living this way can be challenging, especially in the post-holiday season when people are traveling less.

How do we combat a dearth of petsits?

1) I have joined Trusted Housesitters.

Jackson Heights, Queens

I even managed to find a 3 week petsit in Jackson Heights, but then I broke my big toe, fairly immobilizing me and making me a poor candidate for:

  1. the long commute between Jackson Heights and Lower Manhattan where I work (had been hoping to bike back and forth to work)
  2. walking a medium to large size rescue dog from India who deserves to have a healthier person walking him

I was able to pass the petsit on to friends of mine that also petsit, so I know he is in good hands. But now we have no guaranteed housing for January! WAHHH

2) I search for the unicorn.

I continue to send out messages via Gypsy Housing, Facebook Marketplace, Naked Apartments, and Craigslist.

Who is the Devil?


My husband and I did go the traditional route, and are continuing to, each day with less luster, of searching for an apartment. We found a few studios in the Lower East Side (our preferred neighborhood, if not Chelsea) that were within our price range and that fit our minimalist visions. One in particular:

Seemed perfect and we were ready to move on it after my husband visited the space with Damion King.

Damion king realtor

Our realtor is also a model.

However it turns out that the realtor who listed it, Caroline Barrientos, illegally falsely misrepresents her listing(s) as no fee, when she very much intends to charge one. Why?

  • To drive traffic
  • Because of greed
  • She doesn’t want to observe the laws that other realtors justly obey
  • She doesn’t care about her clientele
  • She is happy to lie to get what she wants

Go to look to rent one of her listings, and surprise! 15% broker’s fee. A 15% broker’s fee on a $1950 (or $1875 upper floor unit) is $3300, which is quite unexpected.

I wrote her an email to address the illegality and dishonesty of this practice, but have yet to hear back. She must not care and feel she is right to do as she pleases. I tagged her on this post because I would like to warn others against using a realtor that is dishonest and obviously will observe unjust practices to serve her own desires.

I’m next working on a draft to her employer as Keller Williams is a large real estate office and they should be aware of one of their employees observing illegal practices. Not a good start to one’s realtor career!

Now I know some of you are thinking… If you really want that apartment, just pay the fee. Sandy and I don’t have a problem with the $ amount. We have a problem with the dishonesty and the fact that in renting that place we would forever be reminded of the uncomfortable history that is associated with our studio apartment. So we will see what happens. Maybe an incident like this is just what is needed to tip Caroline Barrientos into being an honest realtor.

Erin Downs Realtor

We all make mistakes, and I understand that Caroline is just trying to turn a buck in this tough-to-live in city. However, there is a good and honest way to do so that doesn’t leave people feeling hurt. It involves working your butt off and treating others well. Our own realtor, Erin Downs, who helped us purchase both our Bnb and our 2 family rental building knows full well that every time I am asked by a friend for a realtor selling property in North Jersey that I am going to refer them to her. I’ve also written positive reviews (which join the many others reported experiences of working with her. We would have done the same with Damion and Caroline in referring our NYC based friends to them, but I’m afraid we can’t do that with Caroline (Damion has been lovely throughout this, so we will make referrals to him!).

Self Reflection

Self Reflection

It’s interesting in dealing with someone like Caroline because it provides me with time to reflect our own practices. We advertise our services on Rover, host guests through a work exchange and through a Bnb, and are regularly dealing with work related clients. However, we seek to be transparent and honest in what we offer. I see others listing false notions on these sites, but my husband and I would never went to mislead others to spur bookings. That’s not ok, and one seemingly minor misrepresentation can negatively affect another person’s life. It’s not right. It’s not fair.