Whether it’s grid-like building architecture or 8 million people living on the same island, New York City is unique in many different ways – and the rental market is equally as unique! Renting in NYC has its very own complications and costs and even the savvy consumer can sometimes be stumped on all the nuances that are involved in the process of finding an apartment. Below are our top five things to look out as you’re running through your search:
Watch out for different seasons
Renting is definitely a seasonal business, and it gets even more intense in big cities due to large crowds moving in the same time frame. You’ll find the busiest period of the year between the spring and summer months, exacerbated by a large number of recent college grads moving to the city for job opportunities (not to mention the sunnier months making it way easier to move furniture back and forth). The winter season isn’t as crowded or competitive and you’ll often find deals if you wait to move then, but take note that there isn’t as much inventory available.
NYC’s broker fee
Slightly different from other cities in the world, in NYC you’ll come across what’s known as a “broker fee” while working with a real estate broker during your search. Although a fee might seem like an extra spend, it’s totally worth getting the help in finding your dream apartment, with assistance everywhere from finding places in your price range to assembling your documents for landlord approval. You’re likely to come across some “no-fee” listings on StreetEasy and similar sites, but keep in mind that landlords often envelop the “fees” into the actual apartments rents month over month – so it’s best to just get the help from a professional.
Make sure listings are what they say they are!
The more listings and competition that exists in the city, the more brokers get creative about advertising listing details – case in point, if you read “cozy” you might end up actually seeing “small”, or a convertible two-bedroom can turn out as one bedroom with an office space. Look out for floor plans with actual sizing or a range of different photos to make sure it’s worth your time to see in person.
Location is the other part of the game. Searching exact addresses is the better way to dig into it rather than a listing just saying “close to” Hudson Yards (which could mean Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, or somewhere in Midtown).
Building additional walls
One of the ways New Yorkers can afford some of the world’s highest rents is by getting a roommate and dividing their apartment or living room into more bedrooms. But is it legal? Yes, if the additional walls are not permanently fixed to other walls or the floor – however, they cannot be blocking exit routes or interfere with the ventilation system of the apartment, and the sprinkler system has to remain fully functional. If your particular landlord isn’t into the idea of having walls put up, you can still use furniture like a bookcase to divide spaces.
In one of our latest blogs, we highlighted the importance of financial tips to get the apartment you want – and yes, the money is another important step in the process that definitely varies in New York City compared to other cities. Landlords not only usually ask for the annual salary to be equal to 40-50 times the monthly rent (IE. at least $120,000 / year for a $3,000 one-bedroom), but they require a guarantor if those salary requirements aren’t met. Don’t worry though – there are plenty of companies like Insurent and The Guarantors who can help you get there.
So long story short, NYC is definitely a different place to live, but the process of finding an apartment here is equally as unique. Need an expert helping hand to guide you through the above steps and more? Click here or call 646.681.5272 with your questions to speak with an agent from Platinum Properties! We’re standing by to help you through every step of the real estate process, whether that’s guiding your rental search, selling or buying a home, or anything in between.