What 3 Things Matter Most?

hand with three fingers held up

The sad truth is that finding a good New York apartment is difficult. But, hey, this is New. York. City. The center of everything, where everyone wants to be. There’s a reason that apartments are hard to find.

Before you start looking, take time to identify the three most important things you need in your new apartment. Just three. Anything else is a bonus.

To get you started, here’s a list of things to consider:


Does your apartment have to be in a hip neighborhood or can it be in one of the less cool, but often lovely, ‘hoods in the outer boroughs?


What’s your absolute, drop dead rent limit? Can you push it a little higher if you forgo cable TV or or one less night on the town? Allocate as much as you can without courting debtor’s prison. After all, if you have a great apartment, you can invite friends over instead of going out. (If they’re classy, they’ll bring wine.)


Can you fit in a small studio or do you need room for your drum set? How about windows? Are you someone who really needs to grow tomatoes on the roof deck?

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Speaking of drums, will you be able to play them in your apartment without the cops showing up? If you’re a student working on your dissertation, will that bar next door keep you from concentrating?


If you’re a bike rider, maybe you don’t mind that the nearest subway stop is 12 blocks away. But if you have to be in your midtown office by 7:00 a.m., you probably don’t want a marathon commute.


You may be able to get a better place if you can live with a roommate or two. Choose carefully, though, as there are thousands of stories about psycho roommates in the naked city.

Convenience v. Necessity

Is a doorman an absolute necessity? Where’s the nearest grocery store or coffee shop? How about parking for visitors or for your old VW? How much you care?

If you go in knowing what you must have versus what’s negotiable, you will be better positioned to find an apartment that meets both your needs and your budget.