A Young Professional’s Guide to Apartment Leasing in NYC

A man and woman dressed in professional clothing in New York City.

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As a recent college graduate or a young professional starting their career in New York City, there’s one objective when it comes to finding your first luxury apartment: To live in a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle (AND doesn’t kill your budget). This means your apartment building compliments our taste, is close to work, near recreational activities you enjoy, close to friends, and puts you in the center of what Manhattan has to offer! From the brownstones of the West Side to bustling Downtown, here are a few tips and tricks to keep closeas you build your new, professional life here in New York City!

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Photo Credit: Flickr.com

Establish Your Budget

From luxurious amenities like rooftop decks and indoor swimming pools, first time renters will soon realize that their wish list of extras may not fall within budget. Remember that apartment hunting is a balance of expectations and reality, and this begins with settling on a realistic monthly rent budget.

A Realtor’s Tip: Most landlords in Manhattan will require you to earn 40 times the monthly rent. So, if you have your eye on a spacious apartment for $2,000 per month, your income must be at least $80,000 a year.

For young professionals just starting out in New York, trim your wish list and bargain with yourself on what you absolutely need to have. For example, if you can’t leave your beloved pup behind, narrow your search on pet-friendly apartment buildings. If you feel most comfortable with a 24/7 doorman, focus on buildings that offer this service. Splitting rent with a roommate is a great alternative to staying within budget and checking off your “must-haves” list, too! Another option is for your parents or other relatives to act as a guarantor, or co-signer, on your lease. Many, but not all, landlords will allow this.

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What to Ask During an Apartment Tour

Are you checking out luxury apartments in New York City? Keep this list handy as you schedule those tours!

When Should I Move?

For those current New Yorkers who are relocating from one tip of Manhattan to the other, all you need to do is settle on your move-in date and reserve an appointment with one of the city’s East Side Moving Companies! For those first timers picking up their lives and starting new roots in New York City, there’s a bit of a process to keep in mind that will help you decide when the best time is for you to move:

  1. You are relocating to NYC for you career. When is the first day of your new job?
  2. You have children and would like to get them settled with school before the year begins
  3. If possible, be flexible with your move-in date

Once you consider the above, pick a date that ideally will allow you to settle in before you get started with the new job or school, and start a new routine.

A Helpful Tip: NYC Movers & Packers offer moving services in a New York minute, so you can get estimates before the packing begins!

A day time view of New York City from Glenwood's Barclay Tower apartment kitchen.

Photo Credit: Glenwood’s Barclay Tower Luxury Apartment

When to Start Looking

When it comes to scoping out your week-by-week moving timeline, the clock is ticking, and it feels like it’s moving in a New York minute! Apartments come and go very quickly in New York, especially in the summer, so when you see a particular luxury building and spacious unit you think will fit your needs, jump on it!

Begin your apartment search 30-60 days before you plan on moving, as this is the usual amount of time landlords receive notice of an available apartment. This will also allow you enough time to get settled if you’re starting a new job, relocating for school, or need to develop a new routine with children before the academic year starts.

A Realtor’s Tip: Most moves in New York City happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which means more apartments become available. However, this busy season results in a competitive market and moving rates often increase.

When you do find a few buildings in your desired neighborhood, schedule a tour right away, take notes on what to ask during your apartment tour, and explore the area. Once you find the best apartment (one that meets your budget, location and amenity needs), apply right away. Apartments often rent quickly in NYC. You snooze, you lose.

Downtown Manhattan with yellow taxis and tall office buildings.

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

Mind Your Commute

You may find the perfect apartment, but will your mind change if your daily walk or subway ride is 40 minutes? From the moment you begin searching for your first luxury apartment, keep in mind how far you’re willing to commute every morning and evening. In addition, ask yourself how far the subway, bus stop, and other means of transportation are from your new home. After all, with so many local attractions, working close to your apartment not only decreases your commute everyday, but gives you more time to enjoy everything in your neighborhood!

If you happen to work in the Financial District of Downtown Manhattan, consider Glenwood’s Barclay Tower and Liberty Plaza – both just steps from South Street Seaport, Battery Park, and the exciting hustle and bustle of the city! For those considering the residential vibe and quiet neighborhood of the Upper East Side, You’ll be sure to spot quaint coffee stops, exclusive boutiques, and fabulous dining nearby The Barclay, Hampton Court, and The Fairmont.

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The Regent – Upper West Side Apartments

Every luxury amenity a New Yorker could ask for is supplied at The Regent in the Upper West Side. From rooftop terraces to 24-hour door service, The Regent's one, two, and three-bedroom apartments are the perfect match for your luxurious lifestyle - at an affordable price.

Narrow Down the Neighborhoods

What is your lifestyle outside of work like? Do you enjoy running in the iconic Central Park, or frequently dining out and mingling with professional connections at some of the West Side’s best restaurants? Are you relocating with your family and desire an apartment in the quiet, family-oriented Upper East Side neighborhood? Do you want to surround yourself with the exciting hustle and bustle of Downtown?

There are plenty of Manhattan neighborhoods young professionals are gravitating towards, and it all starts with exploring each. Since weekdays are often the best times to view tour apartments, make it a point to explore the building’s neighborhood while you’re in the area. Scope out the types of people who live, work, and play in each neighborhood and see if this compliments your lifestyle.

Ready, Set, Compromise!

The reality of NYC apartment hunting is that most people, especially those just starting their careers, compromise on something. Perhaps your commute is longer than you wanted, or you rent a smaller apartment than you would have preferred. At the end of the day, your budget is your budget. Glenwood has a variety of luxury buildings located in the best neighborhoods, so visit one of our leasing offices and our specialists will be happy to figure out which building best fits your needs.

A pond and walkway in Central Park during the day.

Photo Credit: Central Park Conservancy Facebook

It’s Time to Apply

Once you’ve settled on your perfect apartment in the best neighborhood and suits your lifestyle, wishlist, and of course budget, it’s time to submit an application! Be sure to have a form of identification read (such as a driver’s license or passport), 2-3 recent pay stubs, tax returns to validate your monthly income, a signed copy of the lease terms, a letter of employment, and personal references. To keep the application process smooth, store these documents in a folder for quick and easy access.

For those readers with helpful tips for new New Yorkers – share your experience with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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