10 Things I Learned From Apartment Hunting In NYC


Apartment hunting in NYC but don’t know where to start? You and I both know that rental search engines have made life so much easier for apartment hunting in NYC. Which is #amazing. But if you’re still a little overwhelmed by the process, look no further.

10 Things I Learned From Apartment Hunting In NYC

Here are 10 Things I Learned From Apartment Hunting In NYC:

1. Save, save, save

New York City is not exactly the most affordable place in the world. Before you even consider moving to the Big Apple, you’ll want to have a good chunk of change stored away as a financial buffer.

2. Consider subletting first

Subletting is known as renting a room without adding your name to the lease. If you’re not committed to signing a lease just yet, try subletting in different neighborhoods to get a feel for what you like best.

3. Get on all the apartment hunting sites

Gone are the days of scouring newspapers and bulletin boards for an apartment. Many apartment sites now have apps to sift through listings. Use filters to save searches and set up notifications for listings in your price range and preferred neighborhood! Check out Zillow, Naked Apartments and StreetEasy.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

4. Beware of housing scams

I cannot stress this enough… never sign a lease without seeing the apartment first. If you think a listing sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I also suggest investigating the building and the neighborhood more closely, and asking about bedbug history and neighborhood crime rate. Rent is expensive in New York City, so you’ll want to know exactly what you’re paying for before you jump the gun.

5. The NYC market pauses for no one!

Find an apartment listing you love? Chances are that very apartment is in high demand… and someone else might just snatch it up before you. Act fast!

6. Broker fees are no joke

Some brokers are awesome at their jobs, and may open the door for you (literally) to the apartment of your dreams. But is a broker’s help really worth the money? That’s for you to decide. Though you can occasionally negotiate, broker’s fees in NYC can run upwards of 15% of a full year’s rent.

7. Will you need a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who will pay the rent if you’re ever unable to come up with the full amount. Usually this is a parent, trusted relative or friend, or anyone who’s willing to help you in a tight spot. Some landlords will require a guarantor to sign the lease if you make below a certain salary.

8. Air conditioning is nearly non-existent 

Finding an apartment in New York City with central air is near impossible. Trust me. And summers in New York City can be brutal. Do yourself a favor and factor in a window AC unit into your apartment budget. You’ll thank me later.

9. Read between the lines

Landlords and real-estate agents can be good (and I mean, really good) at covering up flaws with cute descriptions. Generally, be aware of these terms you’ll frequently see in apartment listings.

  • Cozy = tiny
  • Charming = old
  • Converted = room turned into a bedroom
  • Loft-style = loft bed was built above a living space

10. Consider moving in the winter

Apartments are high demand during the summer. If you have the option, wait until winter to start your apartment search to take advantage of a far less congested market. Trust me.

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