Renting in New York: Everything You Need to Know


You are ready to move to the “Big Apple.” It is an exciting move that is going to be the next chapter in your book of life. Now, before you call that NYC moving company, you need to find a great apartment. Everybody knows that finding a great place to live for an affordable price can be tricky here. Thankfully, here are some tips to help you find a nice spot to call home.

  1. Make Sure Your Budget is Realistic

The medium price for an average apartment in NYC is $2419 a month. This price is for an apartment without utilities.

  1. Qualifying For An Apartment Is Complicated Here

Most landlords and rental companies want to see a maximum income of around 40 times the monthly rent payment. Most places will want a guarantor if your credit is not the best. The guarantor will need to make around 80 times more than the rent payment to qualify.

  1. Bring Documentation With You

Since apartments go so quick in the city, bring along two pay stubs, credit report, letters of reference, letter from employer, and a photo identification.

  1. Understand Gross Versus Net Rent

Some places offer a special that gives you one month for free. The month probably is incorporated into the price to come off of the gross rental amount. For instance, if your rent is $2,500 a month and you get one month free, then your net rent would be $2,291. Rather than having one month with no payment, it comes off a little bit at a time each month.

  1. Know When To Rent and When To Wait

There are peak rental times in this city. The most competitive time to find a rental is during the spring and summer months. Landlords raise their prices, and the competition is fierce. During the winter months, inventory is down and so is the demand. However, finding a great place to call home is better during the winter months when the budget is a concern.

  1. Give Yourself 30 Days

You need at least 30 days to conduct your housing search. Many landlords start looking for a new tenant when the old tenant gives their notice to move. You may need to wait until the apartment is vacant to be able to move in, though this is not always the case.

  1. Know Your Budgets

If you are looking for a high-class neighborhood, choose the West Village, TriBeCa and Soho districts. Harlem, the Upper East-side, and Midtown is the lowest priced places to live. Everywhere else is considered to be priced in the medium price range. Since the medium price range is $2,419, expect to pay upwards of $5,000 or more in a high-class neighborhood.

  1. You Will Have To Pay An Application Fee

Application fees are really high in NYC, as are the apartment prices. Expect to pay around $100 per applicant for processing. Landlords also require a first month’s rent and security deposit as part of their standard rental package. However, some will also want the last month’s rent too.

  1. Be Willing To Jump Through Hoops

Most apartments in the city are handled by a management firm. These firms will charge a broker fee in addition to the rent. NYC has more broker fees than any other city in America. However, be careful and know these fees up front. Hiring a broker is also a great way to find unlisted rentals. Brokers just save a great deal of time and effort by making sure you only look at homes that you can get. Everybody needs an “in” when looking for a home here.

  1. Be On The Lookout for Scams

Remember the old adage that if something is too good to be true, it probably is the case. While there are great companies and landlords in the city, there are also those who are out for personal gain. Be wary of handing out $100 application fees when there are 20 other people on the list. Make sure you see the apartment and never just trust online pictures. Always go visit the apartment and give the building the once over before you sign any lease.

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