New York City Apartment Hunting Tips

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If there’s one thing every New Yorker has in common, it’s experiencing the move. You know, that moment in time where you decide to open up your “NYC Fund” savings jar and begin the process of searching for an apartment. Whether you’re moving to The Big Apple from across the country, across the state, or simply across the park, you’ll be one step closer to finding a great place to live with these apartment hunting tips!

Start the Hunt Early

The stress of moving can quickly catch up with you, no matter how hard you try to keep your cool. To help ease this, start looking for an apartment 30 to 45 days before your ideal move-in date. In addition, you’ll have more than enough time to plan a budget for yourself and what you can afford every month. There’s a few benefits of giving yourself this window of time:

  • More time to look = more options
  • Zero in on your ideal neighborhoods and make time to explore each
  • Gather official documents (proof of employment, 4 recent pay stubs, a photo ID or passport)
  • Keep your eyes open for no fee apartments to avoid paying more than you should.
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Try to Move in the “Slow” Season

Most moves in New York City happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day – meaning the pickings are slim, moving rates increase, and rent itself may increase for new leaseholders. If you aim to move during slower months, try to have it on your terms, like choosing a specific move in date. Just be sure you and your landlord come to an agreement in writing. Actually, EVERYTHING should be in writing, and always ask for an extra copy to keep.

Spend Time in the Neighborhood

Since weekdays are often the best times to view tour apartments, make it a point to explore the building’s neighborhood. Find a nearby coffee shop or outdoor cafe, get yourself a latte, and simply people watch. You’ll be amazed at what 15 minutes can tell you about the group of folks who live, work, and play in the neighborhood you’re scoping out!In addition, neighborhood-focused blogs are a great resources to get a sense of what’s new and exciting in a particular area. It just so happens we have one ourselves – Manhattan Living!

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Map Out Your Commute

When it comes to finding an apartment in New York City, we’ve all heard the same bit of advice – it’s all about location. While it is important to find a neighborhood and apartment building that best suits your everyday routine, nearby means of transportation to get you from point A to point B are just as valuable.

Think to yourself: Where is the closest subway? How far is the nearest bus station? Do taxis frequently pass through this area?

Having a beautiful Upper East Side apartment isn’t very practical if you plan to walk to work Downtown, so get familiar with means of public transportation!

  • CitiBike rentals can be found all over the city, with day passes ($12-$24) and annual memberships available ($163/year).
  • If you plan on spending time in the Upper East Side, the opening of the Second Avenue Subway gives riders access to 16 of Manhattan’s stations. Service extends over 8.5 miles from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan.

Know Your Must-Haves and Deal Breakers

What are your must-have apartment amenities? If your wardrobe and shoe collection is the size of Carrie Bradshaw’s, having a large closet and storage options should be at the top of your list. If extra security gives you peace of mind, consider living in a building with a 24/7 doorman. If you just need to have that beautiful and spacious two-bedroom apartment, check out SpareRoom to find a roommate to split rent with. To avoid getting your hopes up early in the game, go over your list of must-haves with a realtor or leasing consultant before you tour a unit in person.

Are Pets Allowed?

Many rentals in New York have strictly enforced restrictions when it comes to your furry friend. If you are bringing along a cat or dog with you, familiarize yourself with complex limitations on size, weight, and breed. Keep in mind that you won’t have a designated outdoor space, so do your homework on nearby dog parks and pet sitters.

Nearby Movers

Let’s be honest – the thought of packing, folding, and carrying boxes of stuff from one apartment building to the next is exhausting. Our solution? Research local movers in your new neighborhood!Moveline offers local or long distance moving options with moving day planning guides. The coolest aspect of this company is the option to choose your favorite mover and lock in the date! Unpakt put the power of moving in your hands – with moving companies competing over your move! You pick the best price.Lior Rachmany, founder Dumbo Moving, advises that moving companies are more anxious to book jobs in the colder, slower months.

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NYC Apartment Moving Checklist

So you decided to move to the Big Apple, eh? Congrats, and welcome to the city! Your first order of business is to find a place to live. Keep our apartment moving checklist close at hand to easy your search!

What’s the Next Step?

So, are you prepped and ready to begin your search? We want to welcome you to New York City and encourage you to explore our apartment buildings in 7 of New York’s most desirable neighborhoods. Happy hunting!

For our native New Yorkers and recent first timers, what apartment hunting tips do you have to share? Give us the scoop on Facebook and Twitter!