On the Hunt: Finding the Perfect NYC Apartment
Writing this from the comfort of my cozy Upper East Side studio, it’s safe to say I scored a true New York gem. If you’re planning to make your move to the big apple any time soon, be well prepared for people to question your sanity for enduring the quick turnover rates, questionable building codes and less than appealing prices. All of which are very real struggles, but don’t let that deter you from making your home in this incredible, inspirational and never dull city.
If you’re looking to sign your own lease: Apartment Finder, Naked Apartments and Streeteasy will become more frequented apps than Instagram—seriously. There’s many more, but I loved these three the most due to their broker reviews, to-the-minute updates and insights on listings outside of the basics. I used these to find apartments and connect with brokers. You’re able to choose fee/no fee, specific neighborhoods and even access prior history on the unit you’re planning to view which was incredibly helpful.
Do your research: What’s the norm for the time of year you’re moving? How many agents are working on the property? Will you need a guarantor? Do you have a proof of employment letter ready to go?
Be prepared to drop on-the-spot “good faith” fees: Especially in the summer, if you love a place or if it’s an absolute gem, you’ll need to take it off the market immediately. Be prepared to run to an ATM or have a few hundred to thousand on hand to ensure the unit will be yours before someone else swoops in. Often times, if you take the rest of the day to think about it, your apartment will be gone the next morning.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate: Offer to pay months in advance, set a higher good faith fee, haggle the price depending on the time of year, etc…
If you’re looking for roommates/sublets: Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting with other people in the same situation as you. Whether you end up as roommates or great friends, it’s worth exploring all your resources. I highly recommend Gypsy Housing on Facebook, along with other similar groups, to form those connections. There’s also a plethora of sublet/roommates seeking sites, like Roomster, Flip and even Craigslist, which are great for quick moves.
Bring out those social media stalking skills (it’s okay, we all have them) and be wary of scams: If it seems too good to be true, it 100% is.
Make sure your timing matches up: lease start/end dates can be tricky to work out amongst groups of people and can catalyst issues in your agenda
Pay attention to the details (fees, guarantors, deadlines, paperwork, etc.) to make sure you're all on the same page