3 Tips to Help You Get That NYC Rental

If you know the pain that comes from having a rental slip through your fingers, you’ll make sure it never happens again. This article gives tips on how to beat out other applicants when applying for an apartment.

You never forget the rental that got away. This all-too-common cautionary tale from the competitive NYC rental market usually goes something like this: At the viewing, you went gaga over the place’s original crown molding and that quirky patch of exposed brick in the kitchen, but what really made it your apartment was the classic clawfoot tub in the bathroom. You went on and on and on about the place to your mom, your boss, your best friend, and even some random stranger on the train. You’d already decorated it in your head, envisioning a faux-fur-throw-draped tiny wooden chair in the bathroom next to your clawfoot tub. You couldn’t wait to call your broker in the morning. But then you got the dreadful news. Someone else swiped your apartment out directly from under you — they handed over all the paperwork and presented the owner with a check before you did!

Anyone who’s ever had this experience learned the cardinal rule of NYC apartment hunting: You snooze, you lose. Want to make sure you never lose your dream pad again? Just follow the tips below.

Money Talks

If you hear of a listing that even remotely sounds like a place that you’d want to call home, have a check ready to go when you arrive at the apartment showing. But don’t just hand your money over — you have to do your due diligence first. Before you arrive, find out how much it will cost to move in and make sure to screen your landlord. If you’ve found the listing on your own, you need to do a quick background check on the apartment owner to help ensure that you’re not handing over your hard-earned money to an impostor. If you’ve gone through a broker, all that background work will have been done for you already.

Bring Your Paperwork with You

If you go to see an apartment and fall in love with it, make sure that you have all of your financial paperwork (e.g., W-2, credit report, reference letters, and pay stubs) ready to give to the landlord. Why? Because apartments have been loved and lost in the time it took a potential renter to “be right back.” A landlord is under no obligation to hold an apartment for you while you run off to get your documents. If another prospective tenant arrives with everything in order, you can kiss that rental goodbye. If your credentials are less than stellar, make sure you have a guarantor on board to help boost your financial credibility. If you don’t have a relative who can co-sign for you, you could try working with a lease guarantor company.

Find and Work with a Good Agent

It’s possible to find an apartment without a real estate agent, but working with a passionate, dedicated agent can help you stand out from the crowd. Agents often know which apartments are about to hit the market but haven’t been advertised yet. They can also put in a good word about prospective tenants with landlords. Working with an agent like this could very likely give you the advantage over other apartment seekers.

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