Tips for Finding NYC Apartments

New York City has one of the toughest real estate markets in the world, so prospective renters of NYC apartments need to be prepared before they venture into its waters. This article lays out some key tips.

When it comes to renting NYC apartments, speed, smarts, and preparedness are of the utmost importance. NYC may very well be one of the most expensive rental markets in the world, but thousands upon thousands of apartments are rented here every year. Among some people in this city, renting apartments is practically a hobby! There’s no reason that you shouldn’t get the New York apartment of your dreams, as long as you keep a few key tips in mind.

1. Prepare your financial package

When hunting for NYC apartments, one of the first things you need to do is to make sure that your financial details are in order. While this is true in most cities, it’s particularly true in NYC. Most NYC landlords will require that prospective renters earn at least 40 times the monthly rent on the apartment per year. In addition to that, they will run a credit check and will usually require that renters have at least a 700 credit score to qualify. Get a letter from your employer, W-2s, and anything else that will help verify your income. For many people new to the city, especially young people with jobs, these financial requirements may be a bit difficult to meet on their own. In these situations, they may be able to have guarantors cosign on the apartments with them. Guarantors could be anyone from parents to special companies whose sole business is to guarantee apartments. If your parents or friends sign on as guarantors, the financial hoops they’ll have to jump through to vouch for you are even tougher and more strict than the ones you had to go through, but they’re set up to help ensure that the rent will be paid.

2. Research neighborhoods thoroughly

NYC apartments run the gamut from doorman studios in Chelsea to prewar elevator one-bedrooms in Midtown West. Thoroughly research the neighborhoods you’re thinking of living in, because each neighborhood has its own distinct vibe and personality. For example, if you’re someone who prefers peace and quiet on the weekends, you may want to think twice about moving to the West Village, one of the most popular and busy areas of town. But if you really do your homework, you’ll find there are specific streets in the area that are quiet and tucked away far from the madding crowd. Armed with enough knowledge, you could end up ahead. Do your research and check with your broker about any area of town you’re thinking of renting in. Walk the streets during different times of day to see if the vibe suits you — a street at 9 am could look very different at 9 pm.

3. Strike while the iron’s hot

In New York, every renter learns that it’s best to move quickly. People show up to apartments with checkbooks at the ready, so don’t get beat out by the competition. If there’s even the slightest possibility that you’re interested in a place, walk in prepared to seal the deal. You don’t want to lose out on the apartment of your dreams simply because you weren’t prepared.


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