Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope y’all are having a great week. This post today has been requested by many since you know I now live in NYC. It has been quite a very interesting past few months to say the least. If you follow me on Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram you know why. Moving half way across the country can be a lot of work but the biggest task of them all is finding an apartment in NYC. Not sure if you have heard but the vacancy rate of all NYC apartments is less than 1%. CRAZY huh?! When I heard that stat before I moved here I had a slight anxiety attack. So how did I land that dream apartment you may ask, well read along and you will find out!
(1) Where should I live? This is by far the most important and difficult question to answer. You hear all of these glamorous stories of living in a beautiful apartment in these fun neighborhoods but are they the places you want to live? I did a ton of research online by looking at all the pros and cons of certain neighborhoods in NYC. In all honesty, I googled “what is a great place in NYC for a young professional”. And BOOM, you have 500+ options and 500+ stories to read. All very helpful but at the same time very overwhelming. I suggest before starting your apartment search pick your top 3 locations. I had 2 locations where I really wanted to live and then one location that was in the neighborhood of where I was going to work.
(2) Why are apartments so expensive? Yeah, we’ve all been there. NYC is a place where you definitely pay for every square inch. I started my search by looking online and using this great website called StreetEasy. I encourage you all to check it out when you start your apartment search. My biggest piece of advice is set a budget!!! As they say, you don’t want to be house poor. When you move to NYC your life will change and your wallet may or may not like the change. It is so important to create a realistic budget and determine how much you can actually afford each month. You have to put into consideration how much it will cost you per month for transportation (even if you live close to work you still will be getting a metro card), how much you spend on groceries (times what you are paying now by 1.5), and how much you plan on spending eating out with friends. All of this adds up so be smart about your budget when it comes to your apartment.
(3) This is so overwhelming. YUP you got it. I said the same thing. When I first found out I was moving to NYC I had about 3 weeks to find an apartment, pack up my old apartment, and then move into my new apartment. That is a lot to do in such a short period of time especially because I was not drivings distance to NYC. I ended up finding a broker to help me find an apartment.
(4) Why did you use a broker? A broker can literally be your best friend when it comes to finding your apartment. I highly recommend using a broker if you are not from NYC and are very unsure as to what neighborhoods you want to look at. Even though I am orignally from Connecticut and have been to the city SO many times since I was a child I still decided to go with a broker. If you are interested in learning what broker I used, please send me an email and I will be happy to share you my brokers name and company. My broker was SO helpful. I had only a day to find an apartment and she lined up around 8-10 apartments in my budget in my top 3 neighborhoods. It is so important to find a broker who spends time with you whether on the phone or in person to understand your wants and needs. Let me tell you, you will not get everything on your wish list. I didn’t. I came up with 3 top wish list items that I new I had to have (doorman, fairly new building, and decent sized kitchen). Since using a broker, I was able to see so many great apartments. I can sometimes be a very indecisive person so if anyone out there reading this is like me, do not be indecisive when selecting your apartment. There was an apartment that I really did like but I couldn’t pull the trigger because it was the 2nd apartment I saw that day and I wanted to see more. My broker advised me that if I loved it I should apply and show interested so I don’t lose it. At first I thought she was kidding and said “oh stop, thats what every broker says” but she was true. Miss Indecisive me didn’t listen to her advise and next thing you know we got the call that the apartment sold. Apartments here do not stay on the market long and I learned the hard way. Stuff like that happens and you have to accept it. If you love something, don’t hesitate. Go for it.
(5) Now what? Overall the day of apartment hunting was an exhausting and emotional experience but it was so rewarding when I signed on that dotted line and secured my apartment. When you go through the process of securing an apartment keep these things in mind: you need a guarantor unless you are making 40x your rent. For example, if your rent is $2,000 a month you have to be making $80,000 a year. Yup, that’s true so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that when you apply for an apartment is could be anywhere from $50-$200 to apply for the apartment. When you negotiate with your broker and the building sign the longest lease possible. It is a huge decision and you may say “oh i don’t want to live here that long” but before you know it, you are all settled in your apartment and next thing you know, your lease is up and your building says “thats sweet…we are raising your rent by $500 a month” and then next thing you HAVE to move because you can’t afford your apartment any longer. It’s a big commitment I know to sign a lease for say 2 years but it’s worth it. One last thing, keep in mind if you use a broker it is going to cost you. In NYC it is about 16-20% of your yearly rent. That can be anywhere from 1 month of rent to 3 months of rent depending on how much your apartment costs. Long story short, it is very expensive to secure an apartment but when you are settled you are so excited to call your new apartment home and say you finally did it… you live in NYC! *Insert Taylor Swift’s Welcome To New York*
Hope you all enjoyed this post and I hope it helped some of you who are ready to move to the Big Apple!