First-Time Renter in NYC? Here’s What You Need to Know
For a first-time renter in NYC, the apartment hunt can feel a bit like taking part in The Hunger Games. By prepping yourself before you make a final decision, you can make the experience as smoothly as possible. Ready, set, go get that apartment!
When it comes to first-time renter stories, everybody’s got one. Moving into an apartment in New York City can be challenging, and without the proper prep, securing one’s very first rental apartment can get stressful. If you’re thinking about renting a first apartment in NYC, the following tips can help everything move along swimmingly.
Visit the neighborhoods you’re considering before signing anything.
Take a weekend to explore the neighborhoods you’re thinking of living in. Experiencing a neighborhood in person can help you determine if you really want to live there. You’ll be able to figure out your commute time, whether you have easily accessible pharmacies and grocery stores, and where all the cafes, restaurants, and bars are. Make sure to visit the area both during the day and at night.
Figure out your budget before you go hunting.
You already know NYC real estate is expensive. So be sure to figure out your budget before you go looking, and find out what that budget will get you. Visit a few open houses for rentals in the areas you’re interested in and that fit your budget. You may find out, for example, that you can’t get a one-bedroom with a terrace in a doorman building, but you can comfortably afford a studio there. You may also determine that you’ll be able to afford the apartment of your dreams if you get a roommate. When figuring out your monthly budget, don’t forget to factor in things like utilities, food, and transportation.
Always make sure to read that lease thoroughly.
Whatever you do, make sure to read your rental contracts thoroughly and carefully. You want to know that your lease protects your rights, and that you’re not agreeing to something without realizing it. Most landlords use standard rental contracts, but some attach riders or additional language if they have additional rules they’d like to include — for example, they might forbid pets or restrict tenants from making changes to the apartment. Don’t wait until you move in to find out that you’re not allowed to replace that dreadful ceiling light.
Get all your paperwork in order.
Show up at every apartment showing with all of your paperwork in hand, including your credit report, bank statements, and job references. If you’re a first-time renter just starting out, and you haven’t built up an optimal credit history yet, consider asking a family member to act as a guarantor, or you could also try a guarantor company.
Image Source: Flickr/Wally Gobetz