If you are looking to rent an apartment in NYC this summer, you have probably come across many articles sharing “dos” and “don’ts” of the Manhattan rental market. Their general advice is, pick one agent to work with, move quickly on your perfect apartment, beware of pet policies, adjust your expectations to reality of the market and prepare to compromise. However, there are a couple tips I haven’t seen discussed yet, and I think they could make a big difference for those looking a Manhattan rental.
- Consider signing a one-year lease instead of a looking for a short-term rental. If you need to rent an apartment for more than 6 months but less than a year, you will likely be paying a premium of $300-$600 per month for the convenience of having a short-term lease. To avoid this surcharge, consider renting an apartment for the standard one-year lease with an intention of finding a subtenant or a lease reassignee in the remaining 1-5 months (your agent can help you with this). This way you are looking at significant monthly savings, which will even cover buying and discarding inexpensive furniture.
- Crash on your friends’ couch for a couple months if you can. Summer apartment rents in NYC are generally $100-$500 higher than winter rentals, depending on the apartment size. So if you can stay with your friends or family until October-November, you will be able to get a much better deal in the fall or winter. You will also be fixed in the low-rent cycle, so your lease renewal year after year will be more reasonable. It may be worth the inconvenience and the cost of renting a storage unit.
- If you can wait to rent until the winter and your landlord offers you a discounted rent on an 18-months lease, evaluate if it’s worth it. It may sound like a great idea at first, but keep in mind that an 18-months lease will put you right into the middle of the summer for the following year and you will be facing the same high rents again!