nwlawschool2013 wrote:For those of you about to embark on the crazy and extremely stressful world of finding their first apartment in Manhattan...
My two biggest suggestions:
1. Apartments in Manhattan go FAST. You don't have time to look at a bunch of places and think it over for a few days like you do in the real world. Before you look at apartments, make sure you have ALL of the paperwork ready (call a realtor or google for exact list, but it's a bunch - tax returns from parents, etc). Most landlords require you make something like 100x the rent, so most people will have to get their parents to guarantor. Anyway, you will need copies of drivers licenses, etc. Basically, you will walk into an apartment, look around for 2 mins, and then hand all the paperwork to the realtor and tell them to go. Most of the time that apartment you saw at 10AM will be gone by 4PM. If it's not happening that fast, it's either very overpriced or the building/management company has a really bad reputation. Keep that in mind as well. If it's been on the market for more than 5 days, negotiate the rent significantly.
2. You should expect to be paying one month's rent to the realtor - that is usually thousands of dollars. By-owner apartments are no fee but hard to find. Probably 98% of the "no fee" apartments really do charge a fee. My best suggestion, if you can't get find a by-owner place, is tell the realtor that they need to get the rent down enough to cover their fee - for example, if an apartment is $2000 per month, tell the realtor that they need to get the rent dropped to AT LEAST $1830 per month.
Also, keep in mind:
- most apartments go onto the market 10-15 days before the move-in date. This is terrifying to people who have never done it before, as in other parts of the country you can usually sign a lease 3 months in advance. Try not to get too stressed out. I promise you, you WILL find an apartment, you WILL have a ton to look at, and they WILL all look more or less the same.
- the higher the walk up, the cheaper the apartment. I've looked at decently large one bedrooms in Soho that were only like $1400 a month for a 7th floor walk up. That being said, a 7th floor walk up sucks.
- Craigslist will be your best friend for finding roommates. I know that sounds sketchy, but there are SO MANY kids looking to squeeze roommates into a teeny apartment in NYC that craigslist really is your best bet.
- when you move in, buy a ton of steel wool from a hardware store, and spend the first 24 hours on your hands and knees with one of those spackle spatula things jamming steel wool under your floor boards. Seriously, even if theres only like 2 centimeters between the floor boards and flooring, STUFF THAT BITCH WITH STEEL WOOL. Otherwise, you will have mice. One does not just get one mouse in NYC, or even two mice. One gets the entire extended family ransacking your apartment day and night. A nice drunk man outside a bar on Bleecker St who owns a bunch of apartment buildings once told me the only way to keep them out is by stuffing steel wool under your floor boards. This was the single best advice I have ever received in my entire life.
agree with everything - except I've been fortunate enough to never have to use the steel wool. Another website I've used in the past to do some recon is nybits.com. It lists (or claims to list) every single apartment building in NYC, including the boroughs. Since I am very anti broker fee, I usually use this site to find straight rental buildings where I won't have to pay fees. This site and streeteasy.com will be your best friends.
Also, pricing will go up a couple hundred $$ between now and July/August, so try not to die of sticker shock. Cheaper areas in Manhattan: UES (closer to the river, usually), Hell's Kitchen, LES, FiDi, East Village by Ave A, B , C.