Stefanie Lew and Timothy Annunziata are like so many of their friends in their 20s on Long Island — they are finding it difficult to afford living here, which is why they have temporarily moved in with Annunziata’s family in Merrick. But Lew, 28, and Annunziata, 26, who have been dating four years, are not moving South just yet. Instead, they are holding out for the perfect apartment in either Nassau or Suffolk for themselves and their Chihuahua, Austin. They want a one-bedroom, one-bath rental with utilities included and near highways. They’d love a cottage but will settle for a one-bedroom apartment in a complex, above a store or on the first floor of a house. Lew, a preschool teacher who works part-time in art therapy for children with disabilities, and Annunziata, who works for a program helping with adults with special needs in assisted living, want to pay between $800 to $1,000 a month. “We understand what we’re looking for may be difficult given our budget, but we’re in a position to wait until we find the place we like,” says Lew.
Three Realtors were asked to sort through apartment listings to find the perfect place: Renee Weinberg of Petrey Real Estate, Louise Grinsell of Netter Real Estate and Joyce Friedman of Century 21 AA Realty.
Weinberg’s pick — this one-bedroom, one-bath first-floor rental — is $1,300 a month and does not include heat and electricity. But the listing agent, Barbara Gunn of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, says there might be some flexibility in the price. “It basically met all their requirements,” Weinberg says, adding, “In their limited budget, there is not a large variety, especially one that will take a dog and include all utilities.”
Friedman chose this first-floor one-bedroom, one-bath studio apartment in the Fairfield Station at Deer Park development. It is on the outer edge of where they want to rent, but it will be available at the end of April for $1,005 a month. “The price was right, and, most of all, they will allow their special puppy,” she says. One issue: There is a $35 a month pet charge and a $500 dog security deposit.
Grinsell’s choice — this one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in a house — is $1,050 a month. The landlord will accept a small dog with a slightly higher security deposit. “This apartment is very private and feels like your own cottage,” Grinsell says. “It’s in Stefanie and Timothy’s price range.”
Lew and Annunziata like the Deer Park apartment, which they describe as “crisp and clean.” But the dog charges seem steep, they say. “Valley Stream is a great location for us,” says Lew, who thinks the apartment there looks spacious. She says they’re glad to hear that the rent could come down since utilities are not included. Although utilities are also not included in the Oyster Bay rental, Lew says they love the neighborhood.
Which apartment should they pick? Take the poll below. Then come back later for an update on what Lew and Annunziata chose.