Hey, everyone! Right now, I’m in the midst of moving into my very own NYC apartment! For those of you who don’t know, I am a lifelong New Yorker born & raised in Manhattan. I left NYC for four years of college out in Chicago, and for the past year, I have been living back at home in Manhattan with my family. Although I had an off-campus apartment in college, I am currently moving into my first real adult apartment that I had to do very adult things to obtain.
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I had a lot of friends warn me about the NYC housing market and how crazy it is. I had all of their warnings and suggestions in mind but was still met with surprises and unexpected hurdles along the way. If you’re considering living in NYC at some point, or know friends who are, definitely bookmark/pin this post for later! Here are 5 important things to know before renting an apartment in NYC:
1. Start looking the month or the month before you want to move
As someone who likes to plan ahead as far as possible, this part drove me kind of crazy. You can’t really sign a lease for more than a month in advance in most cases. If you’re browsing for apartments and it’s August 3rd, the landlords of those apartments are looking for those to be filled by either August 15th or September 1st. You can’t really start looking for apartments seriously until you are ready to move within that month.
2. Apply FAST
Most apartments in NYC go off the market quickly, so when you see one that you like, act FAST! Don’t wait more than 3 days to call your broker/potential landlord and apply for the apartment if you really liked it. Apartments don’t typically stay on the market for more than 2 weeks, so if you see a listing that’s older than 2 weeks, that’s kind of a red flag.
3. Have all of your documents ready to go
The name of the game once you’ve found a place you like is speed. Ideally, you want to be the first application to get approved. Otherwise, you will have to cross your fingers that the people who applied before you get rejected! Completing the application can be quite the scramble if you don’t have your documents prepared. Most applications require a combination of a scanned government ID, previous landlord/personal recommendations, credit report, bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and letter of employment (I used my offer letter for that). Make sure you either already have those things ready or that you can easily gather them when it’s time to apply.
4. Have enough money saved for upfront costs
Not gonna lie, just GETTING the apartment is expensive. Most leases require a security deposit (usually equivalent to one month’s rent or less) and x’s month’s rent upfront. Make sure you have enough saved up to pay a few months’ worths of rent at the time of your apartment search.
5. Be ready for fees and other *surprises*
If you’re using a broker to find your apartment, you will also have to pay the broker an additional fee. My last piece of advice is, be ready for surprises. Anything can happen during your apartment hunt, so just be mentally prepared to roll with the punches if you encounter any unexpected obstacles.
Those are my top 5 things to know before renting an apartment in NYC. If you have any questions about moving to New York, feel free to let me know! You can always comment below or shoot me an Instagram DM.
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