You may not think you need to prepare yourself for an apartment hunting experience. That’s what your broker is for – right? You just show up and complain about how small the space is and how expensive the rent is, don’t you? Most people will just take a quick look around, make sure everything is as it seemed in the photos and whip out their check book for the deposit before anyone else snags the apartment. I mean, this is apartment hunting in New York City. Slow down there, cowboy – there are a few important other things you should keep an eye out for when apartment hunting in the city before you hand over that deposit.
Water Pressure, Temperature and Drainage
The next time snowpocalypse hits Manhattan, the last thing you want to be doing is taking a lukewarm shower after you spilled nachos on your lap during a Netflix marathon. Don’t be afraid to turn on the shower and see how hot the water gets, and how quickly. This could become your worst nightmare during NYC’s frigid winters if not checked properly.
Also, be sure to check the water pressure in the shower and sinks, and flush each toilet. You don’t want to depend on your new super to fix existing issues especially when the water pressure may be out of their control. Since dishwashers don’t exist in most NYC apartments, water pressure can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Eyes, Ears and Nose
It’s hard to not get excited and distracted when apartment hunting in New York, but be careful what you look for (and hear, and listen for). Are the neighbors across the hall blasting Celine Dion’s Greatest Hits at 9am? Does the hallway smell like a bowling alley ash tray? Are people leaving trash in the hallways that could potentially attract the pizza rat? Make sure you’re keeping all your senses heightened for large red flags.
There’s nothing worse than sitting down on your couch the second your movers set it down to realize you get half a bar of cell reception in the apartment you just signed a one-year lease on. Don’t make that mistake, especially when you’ll likely be stepping foot in the place before you sign over your commitment on the lease agreement. Don’t forget to glance down at your phone and see how many bars you get in the common areas and bedroom of the apartment.
Try to Hail a Taxi at Rush Hour
Depending on your favorite form of transportation, this may be an important one. How easy is it to get a cab in front of your potential new apartment? Try to make an appointment to see it during a busy time of day or go back to the area when you regularly look for cabs. Are they readily available or is it a dead zone for taxis?
Ask About the Internet Provider
Two words – Time. Warner. Every New Yorker will tell you that making sure your building is wired for Fios or a similar company with a good reputation can save you a lot of headaches, and hours on the phone with your cable and internet provider.
You may think you know exactly what to look for while apartment hunting in the city, but don’t be afraid to spend a little extra time in an apartment to be sure it checks all the important boxes. More often than not, new tenants discover these problem areas after signing a lease and moving in, when they could have kept looking for a place that wouldn’t have one of these common and easily avoidable annoyances.