Anyone who has ever embarked on the search for their perfect New York City apartment can tell you, it’s not easy. It can be extremely frustrating and, at times, you may even feel hopelessly discouraged. But, before you experience some long-awaited relief on move-in day, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the stress caused by New York real estate.
1. Know what to expect.
If you’re moving to the city for the first time, the high cost of living can come as a shock. Prepare to spend between 30 and 50 percent of your income on rent. This is considered moderate for the city. In fact, 31 percent of renters are considered heavily rent burdened and spend more than 50 percent of their salaries on rent. Being aware of this reality before you start your search can keep you from getting discouraged early on.
2. Start early — but not too early.
The fast pace of real estate here means that when you see an apartment you love, you need to be ready to jump on it right away. This speed combined with a relatively low vacancy rate also means that apartments aren’t generally posted more than four weeks ahead of the move-in date because landlords know they’ll have no trouble renting them. That said, feel free to browse online earlier than four weeks out. You’ll get a sense for how far out apartments are being posted, and again, the more familiar you are with the current market, the better your experience will be.
3. Find a broker you can trust.
Brokers can have a huge impact on your apartment-hunting experience, be it negative or positive. You don’t want a broker that grossly misrepresents an apartment’s features or location (some exaggeration is to be expected) or one that pushes apartments that are outside your budget or simply not what you’re looking for. Naked Apartments’ Agent and Broker Hall of Fame can steer you in the right direction, but if you are uncomfortable with a broker, move on. Conversely, when you meet brokers you like, stick with them and see what else they’ve got in their apartment arsenals.
4. Pick your priorities and determine your non-negotiables.
While the ideal apartment may exist, it frequently only does so in our imaginations. Instead of searching for an imaginary ideal, make a list of things you must have and those you can do without. (See our PDF: Apartment Evaluation Guide) Many renters find themselves choosing between amenities and location. Would you rather have a dishwasher or live no more than a five-minute walk from the subway? If you take the time to think about what you’re willing to budge on, you’ll be content with a more realistic version of your dream apartment.
5. Let Naked Apartments do some of the work for you.
You may feel pressured to spend every waking minute online for fear that the perfect place will slip through your fingers, but by plugging in what you’re looking for and signing up for daily email alerts, you remove one of the more anxiety-provoking aspects of the apartment-hunting process.