5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Apartment in New York City
New York City is renowned for having one of the most competitive renting markets in the United States, if not the world. Apartments can be available for rent one day and unavailable the next. The city’s high demand for housing and high rent prices can make apartment hunting feel like an endless uphill battle. However, with a bit of research and strategy, finding your dream apartment is not impossible. Here are five tips to help you find the perfect home in New York City.
1. Determine Your Budget
New York City is notorious for having high rent prices, so it is very important to set a budget that you can realistically afford. As a general rule of thumb, your rent should not exceed 30% of your monthly income. Take into consideration other costs such as utilities, transportation or groceries when determining your budget.
With rents as high as $5000 dollars per month, you should also consider getting roommates to split the costs with. Also, keep in mind the neighbourhoods you want to move into. Manhattan might seem like a great deal, but who can afford the sky-high rental prices? Neighbourhoods such as Brooklyn or Queens might be more affordable.
You should also think about your must-haves. Is having an apartment with two bathrooms a must? What about doing your laundry in the building? Having a clear idea of your non-negotiables will help narrow down your search and budget.
2. Consider Your Ideal Location
New York City is a vast metropolis with many distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own unique vibe and character. Consider what location best suits your lifestyle and needs. Central locations such as Manhattan might seem like a dream to live in, but rents are sky-high there. Instead, maybe look at neighbourhoods that are a bit cheaper. While they might be quieter and have a more residential atmosphere, the unequivocal charm of New York City will still be there.
Locations such as Ridgewood, Astoria or Crown Heights might serve you better than Greenwich, Upper East Side or West Village. Whether you’re looking for a lively neighbourhood with a great food scene or a quiet residential area with historic architecture, there are plenty of good places to choose from that won’t break the bank.
3. Start Early and Be Prepared
New York City moves quickly, and so does its rental market. Florin, an NYC mover with a lot of experience in the city’s rental market, says: “It’s important to start your search as early as possible, so you can give yourself enough breathing room to find your dream home. You might find a couple of amazing apartments early on, but by the time you decide to move in, they might already be unavailable.”
Once you’ve found an apartment you like, be prepared for the application process. Most landlords require a credit check and proof of income, so make sure to have those documents ready. You may also need to provide references from previous landlords or personal references from friends, family or even from your workplace. With the market being as competitive as it is, these things will give you an edge against other potential renters.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
As mentioned before, rent prices in New York City are notoriously high, but that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. If you find an apartment you love, but the rent is out of your budget, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the landlord. Offer to sign a longer lease or pay a higher security deposit in exchange for a lower monthly rent. Try to be respectful and polite, and remember that your landlord is also a business person. They may have their own expenses and financial goals, so treat them with respect and be open to compromise.
You can also highlight your strengths as a tenant. If you’ve been a reliable renter who pays on time and takes good care of the property, makes sure to emphasize these qualities. This will give your landlord a reason to want to keep you as a tenant.
Once you and your landlord come to an agreement, make sure to put it in writing. This can be a simple agreement signed by both parties outlining the new rental terms. This will help ensure there are no misunderstandings o disputes later on.
5. Schedule viewings and ask questions
Once you’ve found some apartments that meet your criteria, schedule viewings and ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask about the landlord’s policies, building amenities, and the neighbourhood’s safety and accessibility. Take note of any potential red flags, such as a dirty building or an unresponsive landlord. It’s also a good idea to visit the neighbourhood at different times of the day to get a feel of the area’s atmosphere and noise level.
Pay great attention to the condition of the apartment. Take note of any damage, such as cracks or holes in the walls or floors. Check that all appliances are in working order and that there are no leaks or water damage. Take note of the cleanliness of the apartment as well. A well-maintained apartment is a good indicator that the landlord or property manager is attentive and responsive.