Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Finding An Apartment in NYC

I've been planning to do a blog post about this for a while, but I actually had a sorority sister reach out to me the other day through Facebook asking for suggestions to help a friend find an apartment in NYC and it reminded me of finding my apartment here in the city.

I feel like everyone wants to live in New York City at some point in their life. Heck, that was me all through college. This was the goal for post college. Normally, one would think that because it is such a large city with five boroughs, you would think it would be pretty easy to find an apartment. Then reality hits hard.

Luckily for me, I had friends move up here a few years prior and so they gave me a bunch of advise. However I was still going in with no clue what I was getting into. I wanted to live in an area similar to theirs, however I definitely did not have the budget for that area I realized. When I first moved to NYC, I only wanted to live in Manhattan. Nothing to the other boroughs, obviously since I now happily live in Brooklyn, but whenever you think of living in NYC, you think of living in Manhattan.

Now living in NYC is crazy expensive and not only that but every building management makes sure that you are able to pay the rent for each building and so there is some criteria that one has to meet.

Without a cosigner/guaranteer: 
You (or you and your roommates if you are living with other people) have to make 40x the rent annually and have a good credit score and payment history. So for example, if the rent is $2,000 a month, the residents have to make $80,000 annually as their income. If you're living with roommates or a significant other, then everyone would have to make the $80,000 total.

With a cosigner/guaranteer: 
If you can't meet the requirements of 40x the rent, you can have someone cosign a lease. For most people, it would be their parent or a relative. For this requirement, they have to make 80x the rent annually and good credit and payment history. So if the rent is $2,000, the guaranteer will have to make $160,000 annually.

There are also two types of apartments one can look at. One is a no fee apartment, which means you don't have to put any extra money down besides the security deposit and first month rent. The second is an apartment with a brokers fee. That means that someone else, most likely a Realtor, helped show the apartment and you have to pay them a certain fee on the apartment based on how much the rent is.

Now there are numerous ways one can find an apartment in the city, but I'll take about the two websites I used to find the two apartments I've lived in since moving to NYC.

The first is a website called Street Easy. Street Easy is one of the most popular ways for people to find an apartment. When you go to their website, you can filter out what neighborhoods you want to look at, your budget range, how many bedrooms and bathrooms and certain amenities that you want. From there, they will show you a list of apartments that are available along with pictures of the apartment.

Once you pick out some apartments you're interested in, you can either reach out to the management straight from the listing and set up an appointment with them over email, or you can see when they're having an open house, if they are offering one.

For my second apartment, the situation was different than the first. I knew for sure I wanted to live in Brooklyn. I didn't love the area I was living in up in Manhattan (I was living at the top of the island) and I wanted something more for the same price range. I've met a lot of people who have lived in Brooklyn and decided to be more open minded this time to this borough. There was also the situation where my roommate decided to move back to her home state and now I was left looking for an apartment without a roommate.

I had some coworkers tell me about gypsy housing, where people post online looking for people to move into a room if one of their roommates was moving out and I decided to look into that also. While the actual gypsy housing website no longer exists, Facebook actually has a lot of groups dedicated to people looking for roommates. I joined one of those groups and reached out to a few people and set up times on a Sunday to look at the apartment. With using this method, you definitely want to set up in person appointments or FaceTime tours to physically see the apartment, because unfortunately there are some people that post scam listings on the site.

The last apartment I looked at that day was the apartment that I am currently living in and I can't be happier with this decision. I enjoyed living with the people who were here when I moved and I love the people that I am living with now.

Finding an apartment in the city is one of the most stressful things one has to go through when moving to the city, but knowing that there are a few ways to help relieve some of the stress of finding an apartment.

If you have any questions in more detail about how I found my apartments or have suggestions of your own, leave a comment below!

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