With hundreds, even thousands of hopefuls attempting to make their way to the city, many individuals fail to realize NYC’s astronomical cost of living, hefty broker fees, and are rather uneducated concerning safe and desirable neighborhoods.
Begin your search early
Moving to NYC is a pretty significant affair, and preparation is of the utmost importance. While you may think any neighborhood in New York is good enough for you, think again. Though most areas have been redeveloped, there are still many parts that aren’t as desirable, aren’t affordable, or simply not accessible enough to your necessary destinations. Be sure to begin researching neighborhoods of interest, and apartments in those areas, at least a month in advance.
Wait until after the hectic summer months
Apartment searching in New York during the summer is incredibly chaotic, so if you can avoid it, do so. In the summer, college grads hungry for jobs (and more debt, apparently) pour into the city while families with greater flexibility in their schedules begin looking for humble abodes. As a result of greater demand, prices typically sky rocket. If it is possible for you to postpone your NYC dreams until November, do so. Though there may not be as many options available as there were in the summer months, the competition will have declined, providing more room for negotiation. If you’re tolerable of passing up a few holidays with the family to conduct your search, your sanity and your wallet will be spared.
Know your budget
The cost of living in New York is drastically different from many other locations. A great first step to understand your budget is to utilize a COL calculator that allows you to estimate what your salary in your hometown would be if you were in New York or vice versa. For example, although you may have an offer in New York for $70,000, the equivalent of this salary in your hometown of Pittsburgh would only be $30,000. Prior to moving, ensure that your savings or your established NYC salary is enough to cover rent, groceries, and transportation. It’s important to determine a set range of affordable monthly rent as you conduct your search.
Consider finding a roommate
So you’re an independent go-getter set on taking on the city and ‘making it’ on your own, eh? Well it’s time to swallow your pride and blow out that candle of dignity because having a roommate is often the key to success in New York. When finding a roommate, whether it’s a lifelong friend or someone you found in an online forum, be sure to agree on specific terms concerning location, cost, and manner of living. You don’t want to live for an entire year with someone totally incompatible or untrustworthy.
Research neighborhoods of interest
While research is at your fingertips with technology, it is incredibly important and highly recommended that you physically investigate your areas of interest at different times of the day and speak with locals concerning the general opinion of the area. While a street may seem cozy at 3pm, does it still maintain that appealing and harmless atmosphere at 8pm after dark? Additionally, be sure that the area is within budget, easy to navigate, and your commute to grocery stores and work is as undemanding as possible.
Keep an eye out for ‘no broker fee’ specials. If it is within your budget, your best gamble for finding the perfect apartment would be to find a trusted broker. Even if you don’t seek a broker to assist you, odds are the apartments you find yourself and wish to view require a broker fee should you decide to sign the lease. Broker fees are the sharks in the shallow water of apartment searching in NYC, with most brokers requiring a fee between 8.5 percent and 17 percent of the annual rent. If your wallet isn’t quite fat enough, you can search for listings without broker fees. However, this will drastically limit your search.
Have your paperwork…And your money ready
If you have scheduled a viewing and the apartment is of incredible interest to you, have your paperwork and the down payment handy. Odds are if you’re incredibly interested in the place, at least ten others are too. If you view the apartment and everything checks out, you may sincerely wish to fill out the application for the apartment right then and there. If you plan on acting quickly, you’ll need to have your bank statements, a photocopy of your ID, a job offer letter, as well as a check for the first month’s rent and security deposit in tow.
Keep an open mind
An astonishing amount of television shows and popular movies give the impression that all New York apartments are lavish lofts with tons of space and an artistic ambiance. Not to disillusion any dreamers, but the reality of the New York apartment differs a tad. Affordable apartments are typically quite small, often less than 750 square feet, and lack amenities such as washing machines and dishwashers. Additionally, the average rent in the city has climbed in recent years to roughly $3,000. If you are looking for units with more space, amenities, and a cost-effective component, Brooklyn may be the borough for you. Just remember to compare the good and the bad, and to always find the silver lining.