NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

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MAapplicant
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NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby MAapplicant » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:29 pm

In October I will be starting my NYC biglaw gig. Come September, I will start my housing hunt. Since I have heard some horror stories about looking for housing, I plan on using a broker. I recently reached out to a broker who said that I will need at least $12K to find an apartment in the $2K-$2.5K/mo. range. Is this true? At max, I will have 7.5K. If I could hear other peoples experiences or budgets regarding NYC housing, that would be great. To give you a clearer understanding, here is a more detailed description of what I am looking for: (1) want to live alone; (2) close to work which is in Midtown East (will consider UES, Long Island City, East Village, LES, etc.) ; (3) studio/one bedroom; (4) below $2500/mo.


Thanks!

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bretby
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby bretby » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:42 pm

MAapplicant wrote:In October I will be starting my NYC biglaw gig. Come September, I will start my housing hunt. Since I have heard some horror stories about looking for housing, I plan on using a broker. I recently reached out to a broker who said that I will need at least $12K to find an apartment in the $2K-$2.5K/mo. range. Is this true? At max, I will have 7.5K. If I could hear other peoples experiences or budgets regarding NYC housing, that would be great. To give you a clearer understanding, here is a more detailed description of what I am looking for: (1) want to live alone; (2) close to work which is in Midtown East (will consider UES, Long Island City, East Village, LES, etc.) ; (3) studio/one bedroom; (4) below $2500/mo.


Thanks!


First off, I think you're wise to use a broker. Make appointments and look at apartments with several brokers, however, before you commit to one - broker quality and fees vary.

Second, to get a sense of the market rate of different neighborhoods, I recommend nakedapartments.com. The listings have to be verified before they are posted, so you get fewer scam/non-existent/outdated postings than you do on Trulia/Zillow/Craiglist. Related note, do not for any reason use Craigslist. Standard fees will be application fees + first month + security deposit + broker fee. Broker fees vary - some brokers charge 1 month, some a percentage of the rent - check beforehand which system a broker uses, though this is open to negotiation. If you are looking at apartments no more than $2500, then you should be fine with $8000.

Third, get your ducks in a row before you even approach a broker. This means collecting the myriad of financial information that will be requested. Note that most brokers/landlords require that you make 40x the monthly rent, but this shouldn't be a problem if you are going into Big Law and are capping yourself at $2500/month. But you should also start collecting letters from former landlords, an employment verification letter, bank statements, tax returns, etc. etc. etc. It is shocking how much info you will need to provide.

Hope this helps!

JasonSehorn
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby JasonSehorn » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:50 pm

[quote="MAapplicant"]In October I will be starting my NYC biglaw gig. Come September, I will start my housing hunt. Since I have heard some horror stories about looking for housing, I plan on using a broker. I recently reached out to a broker who said that I will need at least $12K to find an apartment in the $2K-$2.5K/mo. range. Is this true? At max, I will have 7.5K. If I could hear other peoples experiences or budgets regarding NYC housing, that would be great. To give you a clearer understanding, here is a more detailed description of what I am looking for: (1) want to live alone; (2) close to work which is in Midtown East (will consider UES, Long Island City, East Village, LES, etc.) ; (3) studio/one bedroom; (4) below $2500/mo.


Thanks![/quote

Hey, PM if you want some information about a broker. I'm going through the same process as you and using a firm that works with law grads.

mvp99
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby mvp99 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:13 pm

DO NOT RENT IN OCTOBER. find a short term lease or live with a friend 3-4 months and get an apartment during the low season (Late november-February). Inventory is low but there are fewer people searching for apartments. You will end up paying 2k instead of 2.5k per month for the same-size and quality apartment. Plus you'll probably get some fees waived or reduced.

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sinfiery
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby sinfiery » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:32 pm

Why not use craigslist?

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AreJay711
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby AreJay711 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:54 pm

mvp99 wrote:DO NOT RENT IN OCTOBER. find a short term lease or live with a friend 3-4 months and get an apartment during the low season (Late november-February). Inventory is low but there are fewer people searching for apartments. You will end up paying 2k instead of 2.5k per month for the same-size and quality apartment. Plus you'll probably get some fees waived or reduced.


Wow. I didn't think this would be the case in NYC. Good lookin

toothbrush
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby toothbrush » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:57 pm

I've looked into some of the new spaces in LIC. The studios fall around your top end, and have nice building perks (doormen, gym, laundry (some in unit), pools (some), etc). They are mostly no-fee meaning you lease straight through the building management and avoid broker fees. Might be something to look into. Off the top of my head there is the Linc, Maximilian, 4540 Center Blvd, and Avalon/North.

the cost would be 1st month + security + application fee (~100) I think.

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glitched
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby glitched » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:09 pm

I'd live in the financial district. It's quiet/boring at night, but almost every subway connects into it (the orange line being the exception). The 4/5 will take you straight into Grand Central. A lot of the housing is also surprisingly affordable considering the amenities. You'll have a doorman, rooftops, laundry, and gym in building. I used a broker, but I was able to negotiate no-fee only because our building was offering half-month off first rent. So I technically still paid a pretty big sum. Brokers can be hella expensive (upwards to 15% annual rent) so watch out.

Here's what I would do if I could start over: I'd walk around Fidi and go into every building that looks like they might rent and just ask the doorman to direct you to management. Usually these buildings have 1 month or 1/2 month off deals that you can get without paying any fee. You can also try to find their website and see availability.

I tried craigslist and streeteasy for a while, but that just usually connects you to different brokers who want to show you the same apts.

Realized I didn't answer your question: you can pay $2200-$2500 for a studio, $3100+ for 1-br (2-br flex)

toothbrush
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby toothbrush » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:18 pm

Btw, if you are interested in the no-fee route, check http://www.nybits.com and search rentals by area.

ruski
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby ruski » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:30 pm

I would recommend http://www.zenly.com. I think they charge like 3% fee instead of the usual 15% brokers fee. pretty big difference when yearly rent is north of 25k.

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Frayed Knot
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Frayed Knot » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:26 am

mvp99 wrote:DO NOT RENT IN OCTOBER. find a short term lease or live with a friend 3-4 months and get an apartment during the low season (Late november-February). Inventory is low but there are fewer people searching for apartments. You will end up paying 2k instead of 2.5k per month for the same-size and quality apartment. Plus you'll probably get some fees waived or reduced.
Can anyone else speak to the magnitude of the savings? Is it really $500/month? That seems really huge—the landlord would be giving up $12k+ if you're there for a couple of years.

Also, does anyone have experience following this advice when starting in BigLaw? I guess that would mean moving somewhere temporary before your start date and then apparent hunting/moving again a couple months in (presumably while working long hours). I'd imagine having less time to look at apartments could also make it harder to find as good of a deal. Has anyone gone that route and is it worth it?

catinthewall
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby catinthewall » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:42 am

Tag.

NYC housing is a nightmare on gov't pay. I haven't asked my parents to co-sign a lease as guarantors since college... almost ten years ago. Never thought I'd have to ask again...

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bretby
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby bretby » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:48 am

sinfiery wrote:Why not use craigslist?


Craigslist is a morass of misleading listings, bottom of the barrel brokers and outright fraud. There may be a few legit places there, and I'm sure someone has an anecdote about how they scored an amazing 2br for $2000 in an awesome neighborhood, but if you don't have all the time in the world and the willingness to pick your way through the mud, there are just so many other, better, options out there.

I completely agree with the poster above who said the best thing to do is to walk around a neighborhood you like and ask doormen or supers if there are any places available. The downside to this is that it is slow and works best if you already have somewhere in the city to stay while you trudge around.

As for October being a shitty month, in my experience July/August are the worst because people with kids are trying to move before the school year starts. I haven't actually heard of October being notably difficult, and would be interested to find out why this is the case.

Sachem
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Sachem » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:00 am

toothbrush wrote:I've looked into some of the new spaces in LIC. The studios fall around your top end, and have nice building perks (doormen, gym, laundry (some in unit), pools (some), etc). They are mostly no-fee meaning you lease straight through the building management and avoid broker fees. Might be something to look into. Off the top of my head there is the Linc, Maximilian, 4540 Center Blvd, and Avalon/North.

the cost would be 1st month + security + application fee (~100) I think.


Agree. Manhattan broker usually charge 15% of annual rent, so it is 1.8 time monthly rent. If you can save $4500 broker fee, you can raise your budget or just save that money. $2500 is possible to rent a decent small studio(without a lot of roaches/mouses, not too dirty/noisy/old, with some nature light/clean hardwood floor/elevator)

LIC offer a lot of new apts, rent is cheaper, and you can save huge broker fee.

My advice: Find no fee rental in Manhattan, like "Herald Towers"(34 st station, decent building, 2650 for small studio), or Find no fee rental in LIC to get a bigger/newer apt or save some money.

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Actus Reus
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Actus Reus » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:02 am

Some firms cover your broker fee so that might save you money

mvp99
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby mvp99 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:33 am

Frayed Knot wrote:
mvp99 wrote:DO NOT RENT IN OCTOBER. find a short term lease or live with a friend 3-4 months and get an apartment during the low season (Late november-February). Inventory is low but there are fewer people searching for apartments. You will end up paying 2k instead of 2.5k per month for the same-size and quality apartment. Plus you'll probably get some fees waived or reduced.


Can anyone else speak to the magnitude of the savings? Is it really $500/month? That seems really huge—the landlord would be giving up $12k+ if you're there for a couple of years.

Also, does anyone have experience following this advice when starting in BigLaw? I guess that would mean moving somewhere temporary before your start date and then apparent hunting/moving again a couple months in (presumably while working long hours). I'd imagine having less time to look at apartments could also make it harder to find as good of a deal. Has anyone gone that route and is it worth it?


I should clarify. $500 in savings is on the high-end and comparing the worst season (summer months) v. December or January. But saving $500 is still possible. Even if lower $200-400 per month difference is still a lot of money in the long run. If I was you I would wait two months until Christmas (I mean, who wants to move into an apartment during Christmas?) or January to get an apartment simply because brokers and landlords are desperate. It's simple economics.

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Frayed Knot
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Frayed Knot » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:21 pm

mvp99 wrote:I should clarify. $500 in savings is on the high-end and comparing the worst season (summer months) v. December or January. But saving $500 is still possible. Even if lower $200-400 per month difference is still a lot of money in the long run. If I was you I would wait two months until Christmas (I mean, who wants to move into an apartment during Christmas?) or January to get an apartment simply because brokers and landlords are desperate. It's simple economics.

That's starting to sound like a future BigLaw associate with an October start date might be better off shopping aggressively in October when they have the time to look around a lot. If the alternative is waiting until January and having to spend less time on the hunt, it sounds like they might not come out ahead. Or is the market really so much better in January that even a short search could result in savings?

mvp99
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby mvp99 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:37 pm

Frayed Knot wrote:
mvp99 wrote:I should clarify. $500 in savings is on the high-end and comparing the worst season (summer months) v. December or January. But saving $500 is still possible. Even if lower $200-400 per month difference is still a lot of money in the long run. If I was you I would wait two months until Christmas (I mean, who wants to move into an apartment during Christmas?) or January to get an apartment simply because brokers and landlords are desperate. It's simple economics.

That's starting to sound like a future BigLaw associate with an October start date might be better off shopping aggressively in October when they have the time to look around a lot. If the alternative is waiting until January and having to spend less time on the hunt, it sounds like they might not come out ahead. Or is the market really so much better in January that even a short search could result in savings?


Forget what I said. Too general. Here is some really good specific info on when to expect the lowest rent prices. For some areas October is actually the lowest. http://www.mns.com/manhattan_rental_market_report

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:04 pm

Honestly I don't think there is any kind of systematic benefit to renting in certain months. Move when you need to move.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:19 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Honestly I don't think there is any kind of systematic benefit to renting in certain months. Move when you need to move.

To the extent there is, all the articles I've seen suggest it's more on par with $50-100 a month. Maybe some people would want to crash on their friend's couch for a few months to save a max of $1200 a year, but particularly when you take into account the headache that will accompany trying to find a place and move in when you're a first-year associate who's working weekends...no.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:42 pm

Yeah. I mean, I've rented a number of NYC apartments and while there might be some sort of nominal market-wide average price drop at certain times of the year, it's not like every apartment is going to be noticeably cheaper in January or whatever. Any changes are pretty much random and imperceptible. It's not like you're moving to State College.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:37 pm

Can someone clarify what advantage, in 2015, a broker provides you that would make one worth 15% of your lease? It's really baffling to me that people who are post-bar and therefore have basically all time the in the world to do the search themselves would pay someone else.

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Actus Reus
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Actus Reus » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:32 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Can someone clarify what advantage, in 2015, a broker provides you that would make one worth 15% of your lease? It's really baffling to me that people who are post-bar and therefore have basically all time the in the world to do the search themselves would pay someone else.


A lot of NYC buildings require you to go through a broker, especially the newer builds that BL salary can afford.

mvp99
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby mvp99 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:56 pm

Other25BeforeYou wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:Honestly I don't think there is any kind of systematic benefit to renting in certain months. Move when you need to move.

To the extent there is, all the articles I've seen suggest it's more on par with $50-100 a month. Maybe some people would want to crash on their friend's couch for a few months to save a max of $1200 a year, but particularly when you take into account the headache that will accompany trying to find a place and move in when you're a first-year associate who's working weekends...no.


I agree that it may suggest some savings of aprox. 50-100 month but then you go on to conclude there is a max possible benefit of $1200. First, you're assuming that the decrease in average prices is not caused by a group of prices decreasing more than the rest. Second, even making that assumption it's clear from some of the charts that the chances of saving more than double that amount might be better during some months of the year.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: NYC Housing--How much $$ do I need

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:26 pm

mvp99 wrote:
Other25BeforeYou wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:Honestly I don't think there is any kind of systematic benefit to renting in certain months. Move when you need to move.

To the extent there is, all the articles I've seen suggest it's more on par with $50-100 a month. Maybe some people would want to crash on their friend's couch for a few months to save a max of $1200 a year, but particularly when you take into account the headache that will accompany trying to find a place and move in when you're a first-year associate who's working weekends...no.


I agree that it may suggest some savings of aprox. 50-100 month but then you go on to conclude there is a max possible benefit of $1200. First, you're assuming that the decrease in average prices is not caused by a group of prices decreasing more than the rest. Second, even making that assumption it's clear from some of the charts that the chances of saving more than double that amount might be better during some months of the year.

But should OP be tracking the prices of all apartment types in a spreadsheet in the months leading up to his potential move (while he's working full time in biglaw) to ensure that he is making a significant savings? The chances of saving more than double that amount might be better during certain times of the year, but how does OP know that he's saving double that as opposed to paying the exact amount he'd be paying in September? If some are $200 cheaper during those months and the average is $100 cheaper, then just as many apartments are $0 cheaper.

A chance at significant savings and a chance at no savings that balances out to an average of $600-$1200 a year in savings seems hardly worth the trouble of crashing with friends and then apartment hunting while working crazy hours.




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