Real estate in NYC terminology

Real estate in NYC terminology


Moving to NYC requires deeper knowledge of local real estate types and conditions. A broker or an agent can be helpful, especially if you are new in the city and don’t have much time for finding an apartment. Luckily, there are specialists who will be able to assist you during your quest and find a housing option according to your personal criteria.
As a result, you will have to explore the real estate market in the Big Apple and establish some basic rules and standards. Apartment options in NYC are almost infinite, so make sure to get an insight into real estate situation, so that you can decide what’s right for you.

Here is the most common terminology necessary for understanding how finding an apartment in New York City really works.

Is finding a no fee apartment in NYC really free of charge?

Finding a no fee apartment means that a middleman (in this case broker) won’t charge tenants upon signing a lease, but the homeowner/landlord. However, in NYC it is typical of tenants to hire a broker and pay his services. They usually charge from 8.5% to 17% of the annual rent. A totally no fee apartment can be found only in case you communicate directly with the landlord or property manager without any middleman. Luckily, since direct communication between landlord and tenant is much cheaper for both sides, homeowners are making their ads available and easily accessible on the internet.

Rent-stabilized (rent-controlled) vs non-stabilized

Rent-stabilized apartments are most sought after units in NYC. It’s hard to find them, but it is worth all the effort, since they will provide some kind of finacial stability and security. Due to some unpredictable changes on the real estate market, rent for the non-stabilized apartments can go up significantly at the moment of renewing the lease.

Know the difference between some basic home types:

– Condo is a multiple-unit complex that consists of several units which are owned individually, common lobbies, hallways,…
– Studio apartment is usually a small apartment with one living space and a bathroom. By using some creative solutions like curtains or partitions or by arranging the furniture properly, the main living space can be divided.
– Co-op building is owned by a group of people, and each of them is considered a proprietary lessee. Rental applications are reviewed by the co-op board and each potential tenant has to go through a very demanding approval procedure.
– Loft is a large open space, usually not divided by walls, with high ceilings and large windows. Artists seem to prefer lofts, since similar spaces are huge and have industrial and artistic character. Lofts are very popular in Brooklyn and downtown NYC. Lofts are considered as industrial or commercial buildings converted into residential apartments.
– Pre-war apartments were built before World War II featuring high ceilings, thick walls, crown molding, ceiling and walls ornaments, plaster walls, wide hallways, large foyers, arched doorways. On the other hand, post-war apartments are the mid-century units that have much thinner walls and it seems that they are more affordable than pre-war apartments.
– Brownstones are made of brownish-red sandstone. Usually, there are no certain services like in co-ops and condos – doormen or elevator. A brownstone can be a sigle dwelling or divided into a few apartments.
– Penthouse apartment is a unit built on the rooftop or on the uppermost floor.
– Railroad apartment is an apartment which contains a lot of rooms lined up with each other and connected by a long hallway. Living in a railroad apartment usually means that you will have to walk through one room in order to reach another, which is not very convenient if you are sharing the apartment with one or more roommates.
– Walkup is usually a five-story building without an elevator.

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