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Renting ‘Sight Unseen’? A Broker and Face Time Helped

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In 2017, it was time for Jean-Baptiste and her husband Scott Honeychurch to downsize. They have owned a three-bedroom condominium in Washington DC’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood since 2006. We will part for careers. Rent in Houston will be too high if you’re trying to keep your mortgage. “

Honeychurch, now 63 and working in nursing administration, stayed in Washington and began renting the top floor of a Victorian house on Mount Pleasant. Dr. Baptiste, now 65, found an apartment in Houston where he got a job as chief of his school in St. Johns and his diversity officer.

Moving to Texas together was not an option as their careers dictated where they would live.The couple managed the distance for four years. , unable to find a job comparable to a nursing job in Washington, returned to DC after a few months.

Dr. Batiste traveled between Houston and San Antonio for three years, taking about four hours. lived. She passed away in May 2020, in the throes of Covid’s lockdown, but he was able to spend her last five weeks of her life by her side.

After the funeral, Dr. Baptiste began considering his next move. “Since she died, nothing has bound me in Texas,” he said. He began his job search, looking for an opportunity to approach Mr. Honeychurch.

In the spring of 2021, he received an offer from a private school in northern New Jersey. He was thrilled with the position — he would be vice-principal at the School for Development — but the job created logistical problems. I couldn’t take a break before the school year ended and I started looking for an apartment. He had never lived in the New Jersey or New York area and he soon had to rent an apartment.

Luckily, Dwight Inglewood’s administrators managed to connect him with Roberta Friedman, who once had a child at school and was also a realtor at Sotheby’s International Realty in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. , threw a lifeline at him.

“Roberta was amazing,” said Dr. Batiste. “It was very coincidental.” She gave him the layout of the land, explained different parts of the area, and helped him understand what he could afford.

Working with an agent associated with the new school allowed Dr. Baptiste to feel comfortable participating in the process and trusting Ms. Friedman. “She had an unspoken trust that she wasn’t going to lead me astray,” he said.

That trust was secured when Ms. Friedman sent several rental options, including a three-bedroom unit in the building where she lived in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Mr. Batiste was intrigued, but when Mr. Friedman met him on FaceTime from his apartment, his jaw dropped.

he was quickly sold for a stunning view Moved to Hudson River and Manhattan July 2021. Even his welsh he terrier, bravo, was impressed. Dogs often sit and stare at the city.

“I think we have to thank Apple,” said Dr. Batiste, for making it easy to view apartments from a distance without having to set foot in them.

Dr. Batiste enjoys the area he lives in and especially appreciates the area he can see from his window. He once tried to take Bravo across the nearby George Washington Bridge, but he ended up getting caught in heavy rain. He called Mr Honeychurch and explained the unfortunate event. “He said, ‘George, did he Washington, did he play Bravo on the bridge, in all that rain and all that noise?'” Dr. Batiste recalled with a laugh. “He never cared about me!”

$5,000 | Fort Lee, New Jersey

Profession: school administrator

new jersey holidays: “When Scott comes over, we go to our favorite restaurant in Edgewater called Haven. It’s right on the ocean. And we love Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.”

About Manhattan’s Theater District Tour: “I’ve tried New Jersey Transit once and it was a disaster. I’ll try it again, but for now I’m driving and I use a parking app called BestParking. Very easy. “

Dr. Batiste and Mr. Honeychurch have been together for 20 years. They met at a hotel bar in Marina Del Heray, near Los Angeles, where Dr. Batiste was on a business trip as Vice President of the National Association of Independent Schools. He lived in Crystal Springs, Virginia at the time, and Mr. Honeychurch lived in Los Angeles and worked as a medical practitioner.

Dr. Batiste wanted to make things official when Mr. Honeychurch suggested they lived in the same place. , whatever it was in 2003, I said yes.”

They had their engagement ceremony in Hawaii on Valentine’s Day in 2003, and Mr. Honeychurch moved to Virginia soon after. Married at St. Margaret Episcopal Church. Marriage was recognized nationally.

They found the distance between Washington and Fort Lee easily manageable. According to Dr. Batiste, the two see each other every five to six weeks of hers and often meet up at work events.

Although his job and long-distance marriage leave little time for leisure, Dr. Baptiste enjoys being close to Manhattan. He was a professional opera singer, teacher and later a school administrator during his 1980s and his 90s. He loves to take advantage of New York’s cultural opportunities. Last fall he went to the Metropolitan Opera for the first time.

He saw “Fire Shut Up In My Bones” by Terrence Blanchard. 2014 memoir By New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow. “It was an amazing first Met experience for me,” he said.

He returned to the city frequently, seeing many plays on Broadway and Off-Broadway, and often hanging out with old classmates who lived in the area. “The city is my refuge at every opportunity,” Dr. Batiste said. “It’s for work and personal fulfillment, and frankly, for self-care.

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