New York is considered to be the city where all dreams become a reality, and people put up with a lot to be there. There's the congestion, the cockroaches and the high cost of living.
With around eight million residents and steel real estate prices precluding most from home ownership, there is also the frenzied and competitive apartment renting process. The following tips should help you get in.
1. Consider subletting.
If you don’t consider yourself in being very familiar with the city, and you find the thought of both relocating and committing to an apartment is too daunting, then consider a transitional home.
You can be less discriminating when only committing for a month or two. Many sublets even come furnished.
2. Find roommates.
We would all love to have a spacious and well-located Manhattan New York apartment all for our own, but for most, this is only just a dream. In fact, it is very common for single 30 and 40-year olds to still have roommates.
Even though you may be able to find a tiny studio or one-bedroom in your budget, you will be able to afford a much nicer and spacious place with friends. So the tip is to round up as many roommates as you can.
3. Set a budget
You need a target rent, by setting a budget, thereby you must compare your salary and monthly expenses. Remember that utilities, gas and cable are all at an additional charge.
Most landlords require a combined annual income of forty times the monthly rent, so if say, you and two roommates each earn $40,000, look for apartments under $3,000 monthly.
4. Temper your expectations.
It is very rare to find a one-bedroom for less than $2,000 in coveted areas like the West Village or the Upper West Side. On the other hand, in northern Manhattan neighbourhoods such as Washington Height or Inwood, one-bedrooms may go as low as $1,300.
$1,300 for a one-bedroom is a bargain in New York City, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
5. Decide what to sacrifice.
If you don’t have a trust fund, or a six-figure salary, you are most likely going to have to make many sacrifices. Deciding ahead of time what’s essential and what you can live without will quicken your search.
Some factors to take into consideration are the neighbourhood, proximity to subway, commute time, doorman, elevator, laundry, square footage, eat-in kitchen, central air, and hardwood floors.
6. Explore new neighbourhoods.
Treat neighbourhoods like you did colleges, meaning have reaches, good bets and safeties. Good bets might be Harlem, the Queens neighbourhoods of Astoria and Long Island City, or Greenpoint, Fort Greene and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Safety neighbourhoods might be Brooklyn’s Red Hood and Bushwick. Visit unfamiliar neighbourhoods or the Mecca for NYC apartment listings.
Apartments are very often, rented the same day they are listed. Even though it is considered to be an excellent resource, beware of scams. One of the most famous involve an apartment listed far under market value. If the owner is overseas and asks you to send the money so as to give you the keys, don’t!
7. Understand “Fee” vs. “No Fee.”
Apartments which are rented directly from the owner are usually called “no fee,” which means that anything you pay beyond a small application fee is refundable or applied to your rent.
“Fee” apartment transactions are normally handled by brokers, who you pay a portion of the annual rent. Before moving forward clarify whether the apartments which advertised as “no fee” really turn out to be “no fee” and not “fee”.
8. Exhaust all options.
In addition to Craigslist, make sure to check to see if your university has a housing bulletin board for alumni, and ask colleagues and friends about vacancies in their buildings.
Working with a broker does not cost you anything up front, and sometimes he/she has connections that can get you an apartment which is cheaper than your budget on your own, even after the broker’s fee.
9. Prepare necessary documentation
Gather and make copies of your two most recent W2s, your last three pay-checks, and employment letter from your employer which states your job title and salary, your driver’s license and recommendation letter from your previous landlord.
If you don’t have any of the stated above or a good credit score, you may need a guarantor which is someone (who is usually a parent) whose salary is at least 80 times the monthly rent and who can provide all the above documentation.
Make sure to see as many places as you can, and bring along all your paperwork and check-book so you can act as quickly as possible if you find something good, before it’s taken by someone else. Be the first person to show up to open houses and try to arrange private viewing as soon as you can.
Let yourself be picky until two weeks before your desired move in date, but if you still haven’t found by then, make a few more sacrifices.