2. Our apartment meeting didn't quite go as well as we'd hoped, but that's really the real estate agent's fault - he told us that we could talk the owner down from $1550 to $1450 and gas/electric was included. What the owner actually said was that he wanted $1650 and gas/electric was not included. Obviously, that's a substantial difference. And to be fair, I can sympathize with the owner's point of view - he'd already been renting it at $1500, and he'd have absolutely no problem getting people to pay $1600 for it. He wanted to split the difference and go for $1575, which we can't do - $1550 is as high as we can go, and while there's not much of a difference between $1550 and $1575, it certainly seems that way when $1550 PLUS utilities is as far as you can possibly go while still eating on a semi-regular basis. Plus, if we want a dog, there's just no way we can afford it if we're already breaking our backs. The owner took our credit reports home and will call the agent today; we're already prepared to be let down. The good news is that there are plenty of other apartments in Astoria that we can look at, and probably even afford - hell, Craigslist makes that pretty obvious.
That's all I've got, until the caffiene kicks in.