Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Find the Perfect NYC Apartment

Yes, it's true - it does exist!  I'm talking about the perfect NYC apartment, of course. You know, the one that all the beautiful 20-somethings casually live in, on the urban sitcoms and romantic comedies we so often watch. Seeing them on screen makes you question their authenticity with envy because anyone who has ever lived in NYC knows how it really is - cramped, crooked and compromised. Well, I am here to report that these apartments do exist, and even within the parameters of a desirable zip code and a rent that won't break the bank. I am so happy for my friends, Laura and Eric, who found the apartment of their dreams, and while it didn't come easy, it was well worth the feat!  Soon we will do an official house tour of their home, capturing the beauty within all the nooks and crannies of their home.  In the meantime, here are some tips for finding the perfect apartment within your wallets reach. Happy hunting!  

1. Make it your life.

This may seem drastic, but unfortunately it's not. The real estate market is cut throat and if you treat it as anything less you will lose. Whenever I ask my friends living in amazing apartments how they found them, they always bestow upon me the same advice..."check websites as frequently as possible!"  I'm talking HOURLY!  If it is a great apartment, there is a good chance it will be rented within hours of being posted.  That means, you always want to be the first to respond and the first to see it!  With this said, be prepared to see LOTS of apartments... I would say on average, renters usually look at 25-30 apartments before finding the perfect one!  

                                                            Best Websites to check:

                                                            Brownstoner Marketplace

                                                            Craigslist Housing

2. Be Prepared.

I cannot tell you how disappointing it can be to finally find the apartment of your dreams, only to hear that it was rented to someone else because you were still getting your paperwork together. That happened to me and my girlfriends once, and ever since, I have showed up to every apartment viewing with a check in hand.   Treat every viewing like it could be the one!  Doing so will at least secure the apartment until the lease signing and you won't have to worry!  

3.  Spread the word.

There are more ways to find apartments other than through websites and brokers.  I found my apartment by talking with others about how we were looking to move, and eventually connected with someone who was also moving.  My friend's apartment ended up being PERFECT for us.  This is an easy transition for landlords because they don't have to worry about losing rent over a vacant apartment, and many look favorably upon the trade.  Using social networks like facebook and twitter can make this process even easier.  So don't be shy, and put yourself out there.  You never know what you might find!

4.  Walk About.

Not everyone is as digitalized as we would assume these days, which is why some amazing apartments are simply advertised with a, "For Rent" sign tucked away in a window somewhere.  Taking a walk around is an especially great thing to do if there is a specific neighborhood you're interested in living in.  On your walk, not only should you try to spot, "For Rent" signs, but you could also go into the larger apartment buildings and inquire if there are any vacant apartments available, or becoming available around the time you are looking to move.  The super or landlord might be able to give you information about an apartment that hasn't even hit the market yet!

5.  Think Big Picture.

Even though no one in their right mind wants to pay a broker just to unlock a door - it may be worth it if the apartment is, "the one."  Websites like Craigslist let you search "no broker fee" apartments, however I wouldn't always do that because some of the goodies might get filtered out.  I would seriously consider paying a brokers fee is you plan on living in the apartment long term (more than 1 year).  Something I like to do is, divide the brokers fee by 12 (12 months) and view it as part of my rent.  That way, I can assess howI really feel about it.  Is it worth it?  It just may be!

Good luck!
 If you have more tips on finding a great apartment please share!


Samantha said...

Once you find a neighborhood you like, I would also suggest talking to building supers. They are super keyed into not only the openings in their building but supers in other buildings as well!

Mishy said...

hmmm I never thought of talking to supers. I'll have to try it. Gotta say I'm a little scared of Craigslist...I've just heard so many horror stories. Has anyone had any luck with an apartment match site like naked apartment or sweet shelter?