5 Best Tips on Finding an Apartment in NYC

1.Know your must haves 
Know your must haves: It’s important to start your search at least a month in advance and know your must haves before hand. If you want a certain neighborhood or want full size appliances in your kitchen, know what two or three things you can’t live without and don’t sacrifice them; this will help you narrow down your search and is essential to loving your new home!

2. Use Apps
Use no-fee apps for your search & to find a trust broker: Here are a few of my favorite apps you can use to score a great deal, search no-fee apartments, and many other filters.

  • #1 Street Easy: This app allows your to search on a map view or via neighborhoods, filter no-fee apartments, search the rental price history and more. My favorite feature is the notifications. Occasionally I search apartments and find one I LOVE but I’m not ready to move yet or is out of my budget, I “favorite” the apartment as well as the building so if something opens up in the future I can be notified! It also shows you the street view so you can check out the look of each neighborhood right from you phone! You can also find tons of open houses for each week on this app as well!
  • Nooklyn: Always has premium newly renovated, no-fee apartments and professional brokers. Also great for researching what each neighborhood/borough has to offer. You can also find roommates on the app!
  • Naked Apartments: Has no-fee apartments only, and seems to have a larger selection of rentals that are often listed $100+ cheaper then on Nooklyn.com

3. Save Money 

  • Negotiate! Most apartments will allow you to negotiate on monthly rent! Start by asking for $100-150 off monthly. You can also negotiate parking spaces, storage and various amenities. I was able to negotiate $200 off/month my current apartment. You can offer to sign a 18month or two year lease to give extra incentive to your negotiation.
  • Time of year: Fall/winter are the cheapest months to rent because most tenants move in the summer months. However, fall/winter also has less inventory because less people are moving. If you’re on a budget aim for December, Jan, and Feb when landlords are more desperate.

4. Beware! 

  • If something seams too good to be true, it’s because it is! An apartment listed significantly under the median rent in that neighborhood should be a warning sign! Is the building close to a highway or loud train? Is it possible the building has rodents, lazy/unprofessional management, paper thin walls? There is most likely a reason for a lower price.
  • Beware of first floor apartments! I’ve heard many horror stories about rats in garden/first floor apartments. EEK! If the unit is close to the foyer you will be subject to CONSTANT noise, doors slamming and chatter from the traffic in your building. Other things to consider are floods and safety when living on the first floor.
  • Brand new buildings are shiny & new but expect a few setbacks as the building management works out the kinks. At my current rental, we constantly had mail missing for the first few months. As well as major issues with security until they installed the key pad. False promises: Don’t count on any amenities a new building promises (such as a billiard room with pool table)  that don’t already exist upon viewing the rental.

5. Seal the deal: 

So you’ve seen an apartment you love? Make an offer ASAP and fill out an application to take it off the market, then you can negotiate your rent. Be persistent with your broker or the building management about your application. I had to contact my broker 5 times across 2 weeks because I REALLY wanted my current apartment and it was the last unit in a brand new building. I finally informed him that I’m going with another offer and magically (within 5 mins) he notified me my application had been accepted.

What are some of your tips for finding a rental in NYC!?


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