New York City is a very busy area. It’s also the place where you can find anything you need at any hour. Nevertheless, finding an apartment here can be a real adventure. Apartment-hunting in New York City can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ve ever had unless you have a system to help you through. We’ve created a guide with a series of tips that you might find helpful.
Get to know the city.
Before you start looking for an apartment here, it would be wise to get familiar with the area. This way you can understand the dynamics of the city and you can have a clearer image of how it’s going to be like living here. You can also get to know a few of the residents of the neighborhood you plan on moving into or you could visit a friend that leaves here and that can give you some tips.
You should also learn about the culture and try to understand it and figure out whether or not you can integrate there. Also, learn about the social and economic issues of the city and try to find the areas you’d be most comfortable living in. Learning the geography is important as well. If you want convenient transportation you should look into that. If you already have an idea of where exactly you’d like to live, walk through the area both at night and during the day to see what the atmosphere is like. Just remember to get as much information as you can about the neighborhood and the city in general. Each detail is important.
Choose a date.
The move-in date is an important step of the process. It allows you to start planning and organizing everything that needs to be done before that date. You should start looking for an apartment at least three weeks before the date you have chosen. This should give you enough time to make a good decision. When you first look at an apartment it might be difficult to make a decision on the spot so it would be helpful to prepare a list with things you’re looking for and things you want to avoid. It could help you make a logical decision quicker.
Be realistic about the budget.
The budget is very important but it’s also important to be realistic when calculating it. This means you should take into consideration every detail that requires money to be spent. Besides the rent you will also need to pay for utilities, cable, internet and everything else. As a rule, you should make 40x the rent and this should guarantee you enough money for everything, including entertainment and personal expenses.
Search listings towards the end of the month.
It’s much more probable to find an apartment towards the end of the month. It’s the period when apartment are available and landlords get worried because they don’t want their apartment to remain empty for another month. So you should wait until the 23rd of the month if you want to find some quality listings.
Recognize a fake deal.
When you’re new at searching for apartment it can be easy to be fooled. But it’s important to know when a deal is too good to be true. For example, if you want an apartment in a great neighborhood at a very low price, it’s most likely located close to that neighborhood but it’s not part of it. It’s why knowing the geography is also important. Make sure you know the boundaries of each neighborhood or at least research the information before you make a deal that you’ll regret later.
Research the history of the building.
Sometimes knowing the past of a building can unveil secrets that can change your mind about buying an apartment there. So it would be good to search the internet for information about the property before making a deal. You might find details such as the fact that the building has been neglected or poorly managed in the past or that the apartment you plan on moving into lacks privacy because of the building next door.
Everything you described until now is important. These are steps that are necessary in order to make an intelligent decision. But before you research all that, if you see a listing on an apartment that you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to call. Be quick and don’t wait until the next, not even the next hour. Set up an appointment immediately and, in the meantime, you can also do some more research. Otherwise, the apartment might be gone by the time you make the call.
Imagine yourself living there.
One you step into your apartment, try to feel it. Imagine yourself living there and see if you could actually do it. Imagine you doing all your routine activities and see how the apartment responds to your needs. All the little details are important. Don’t take a deal just because you’re tired of searching. Also, don’t get pressured into taking the apartment by the landlord or the broker. They are often pushy and choose to ignore or sugar-coat some of the aspects related to the apartment.
Be a smart negotiator.
When it comes to negotiating the price for the apartment, the landlord or broker will ask you what your budget is. In this case, tell him/her your budget is a little lower than it really is. Most likely, he/she won’t want to lose you over $100 and the negotiation will start. If you make it clear that you really like the apartment but you can’t really afford it you might be able to make a good deal.
Don’t get demoralized.
It might happen for you to find an apartment that you like but to lose it because someone else put the deposit before you did. Also, you might not get accepted for an apartment. But these are not reasons for you to get demoralized. It’s a normal part of the process. Maybe that apartment wasn’t even as good as you thought it was and maybe an even better one awaits you.