Guidelines for finding an apartment in NYC

Guidelines for finding an apartment in NYC

By now you’ve probably heard from various resources that finding an apartment in NYC is difficult. Most people describe this task as a very stressful, time and energy-consuming experience. As it turns out, it could be a huge understatement, especially for those who are embarking on this adventure for the first time. Sooner rather than later, they will discover that a challenging and competitive nature of the NYC real estate is not comparable to any other city. Considering its unique features, be sure to make room for a variety of emotions such as disappointment, frustration, despair.

two armchairs in an apartment
Finding an apartment in NYC doesn’t have to be a nightmare

With so many eager millennials flocking to the city that never sleeps chasing their dreams, real estate costs keep rising. Finding your dream home in NYC should be based on timely and thorough research. In order to make the apartment hunting process less overwhelming, make sure to be fully prepared and keep yourself informed on current real estate trends.

However, if you are moving on a budget, it won’t be long before you realize that instead of a dream home, you will get a modest yet expensive place barely large enough to accommodate one person. There are a lot of variables that come into play when finding an apartment in NYC, and its price is most definitely on the top of the list. Having reviewed your monthly income, credit score and monthly expenses involved in home renting/buying, you will be able to figure out if you can meet the median home price. Let’s shed some light on this complex and much-dreaded endeavor. Hopefully, you will find our guidelines precious while apartment hunting in NYC.

Demystifying unrealistic expectations about finding an apartment in NYC

Even if you are more of an experienced house hunter and rather accustomed to a challenging real estate market, finding one in NYC may leave you completely exhausted and with empty pockets. Although you’ve probably braced yourself for tiny but pricey real estate, chances are your perception of small apartments will change throughout the process. Tiny living seems to be a lifestyle in NYC. Due to the decreasing availability of space and skyrocketing costs, on the other hand, many people start considering micro-apartments assuming they are more affordable. But, the truth is there are no many cheap places in the Big Apple.

a checklist and a cup of coffee
Evaluate your budget before you decide to move

If you are moving on a tight budget, everything’s about setting your priorities and compromising. So, adjust your expectations before reality hits you. Surely there are good deals on NYC apartments out there, but first-time renters are likely to miss them due to lack of experience.

As frightening as it may sound, being new in town doesn’t have to be that difficult. Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone means that you are ready to start afresh outside your comfort zone. Although there are no friends, relatives or acquaintances who could help you navigate the city, recommend a good neighborhood or a decent apartment, you are not alone. Thankfully, the city abounds in real estate agents and brokers you can rely on when finding an apartment in NYC. In addition to that, people who don’t have much time or patience to search for apartments seem to prefer this kind of professional help.

Hiring a real estate agent is a way to go!

If you need someone to assist you in finding an NYC apartment, then make sure to budget for the extra fee that hiring a real estate agent entails. Once you enlist the help of a real estate agent, feel free to share your expectations and demands in terms of preferred location, borough, apartment size, amenities, costs…If you are lucky enough to come across a good agent who will help you narrow down your options, the entire process will be much easier. They will indicate the right neighborhood featuring the kind of apartments that are likely to fit your budget.

two hands holding a coin and a house model
Get in touch with a reputable real estate agent when on the lookout for a dream home

Once they schedule tours for you to inspect the rentals, they will assist you in negotiating with prospective landlords. If you are like most first-time renters, chances are you will have trouble understanding the complicated lease terms. In a city where the competition for apartments is very high, it is essential that you have someone reliable by your side who will guide you through the daunting process. Your broker will find apartments that meet all your standards, show them to you, and in case you like some of them, he will help you with the paperwork in order to sign a lease. Otherwise, he will continue the quest and keep you informed all the time.

But, before you sign any contract with the agent, make sure to completely understand how he can help you find a rental property. Also, it’s important to discuss fees upfront so as to figure out if they fit in your moving budget.

How to tell if my real estate agent is being completely honest with me?

Considering the competitive nature of the real estate market, no wonder so many people decide to hire a professional real estate agent. Your final choice should be based on thorough upfront research. Although we are all hoping for the best, sometimes things don’t turn out the way we want. Unfortunately, some brokers won’t be as honest and dedicated to your needs as you expect them to be. In case you don’t rent any of the apartments you were shown, your broker might ignore you and move on to the next client.

If apartments suggested by brokers happen to be very attractive and at an excellent price, that could be the first indicator that something’s not quite right. Not necessarily, but those more than convenient offers might be a bait for you to take a look at some apartments inferior to your expectations and requirements.

Brokers’ fees in NYC may vary depending on the area, borough, neighborhood. In light of that, the cost of their services is higher in Manhattan whilst more affordable in the outer boroughs.

One of the advantages of hiring a broker is that they might know apartments’ owners and their relationship with tenants. So, by finding a dedicated broker you can trust you might get a friendly landlord as well.
However, by investing more effort, energy, and patience you can take it upon yourself and handle the apartment hunting on your own, without spending any money.

Know your priorities when researching NYC apartments

Brooklyn building
Research affordable Brooklyn neighborhoods when house hunting in NYC

Provided that you have already determined what type of apartment you are looking for, try to get to know NYC better. Perform a thorough research on the internet, get all relevant information about boroughs, neighborhoods, all diversities within the borders of New York – cultural, racial, economic, linguistic… Engage all your cyber (internet, social networks) and living resources (your relatives, friends, friends’ friends) to be fully informed and prepared for what’s to come.

Spread the word about your move, and you may even get a recommendation for some apartments or at least a piece of advice. Take into consideration other people’s experiences, read online moving reviews, compare them and decide what suits you best.

Once you have established preferences regarding the apartment, borough, and neighborhood, begin with the apartment hunting at least one month before the planned move. Visit all relevant real estate websites and give yourself enough time to perform this task without unnecessary pressure and additional stress. Search the listings, call the owners, ask for more information and make an appointment to see your potential home.

Set your search parameters to no-fee apartments if you are not willing to pay any additional costs. Sometimes, brokers offer no-fee apartments, which means that that there’s no fee for you to pay. But, since the broker is a liaison between you and your landlord, it is the owner of the apartment who has to pay the fee.

Budgeting for the upcoming move

a person holding dollars when finding an apartment in NYC
Consider all fees involved in finding an apartment in NYC

Finding an apartment in NYC is just one of the crucial tasks on your moving checklist. If you’ve decided to call Brooklyn home, make sure to research dependable Park Slope movers who will assist you with every aspect of the relocating process.

Hiring full service movers means that you won’t have to search for other service providers or additional packing services NYC as your movers will be able to accommodate any particular moving request.

Make an estimate of your budget and plan how much you are willing to pay for moving services and monthly rent. Depending on the season when you are moving, you could be able to score some special moving deals and offers.

When it comes to budgeting, you should know that some landlords have specific income and credit demands, which is why new graduates must engage guarantor to sign the lease. As it turns out, many landlords require you to earn more than 40 times the rent to be eligible for the tenant role.  In case the costs of living and finding an apartment in NYC are extremely high for you, you might opt for sharing them with a roommate. It’s one of the compromises you could make in order to make your way to the city that never sleeps.

Know what you can afford

When visiting apartments, your potential landlord might require to see your personal documents, so have your bank statement and ID copy ready. In order to prevent illegal rent increases and allow the landlord to take care and maintain the property, there is a legal rent regulation in NYC. By finding a rent-stabilized apartment you can rest assured that you are protected by low. However, those apartments are hard to find, because people who are lucky to find ones usually stick to them for a long time. No matter how frustrating and exhausting apartment seeking process in NYC, sooner or later you will succeed and the effort you have invested will eventually pay off.

If you are unsure if you can afford your rent, you should know that the further you go from the downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, the more likely you are to find a reasonably priced place. There are livable neighborhoods that are a bit further from the city center, but still easily accessible via subway.

Also, young people often decide to share their living space with one or more roommates to be able to afford a larger and conveniently located place. Deciding what to sacrifice and compromise on could be difficult, but financial burden compels most young people to move in with roommates.

Finding an apartment in NYC is notorious for being a major ordeal, but with the right mindset, it could be a seamless experience. If you have a solid idea of what you are looking for and you’ve set the right expectations, the house hunting process will go off without a hitch.

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