Standard rule of thumb is that you need to make 40x the monthly rent to qualify for the apartment. So divide your salary by 40 to figure out the monthly cost (IE: if you salary is $80,000 you can qualify for an apartment up to $2000). If you are living with roommates than the landlord will combine your income. If you aren’t working then you’d need a guarantor who needs to make 80-120x the monthly rent.
2. Where to live:
The majority of people take the subways to work/school. The lucky ones can walk. Figure out the best neighborhoods for you by entering in your work or school address is google maps and figure out which trains are closest to there. Then explore the different neighborhoods that have a station off your ideal subway line. #Goals is to take 1 train to work, but transferring isn’t the end of the world. Be open minded to other neighborhoods/boroughs as well, especially if there’s an express train!
3. Credit Score:
Know your score now. Ideal is over 675. You may have to pay an extra month in security if your score is lower than 650.
4. Viewing Apartments
You can really only start your search for an apartment in NYC until about 30 days before you move. People typically view 8-10 apartments all within a weekend (or even 1 day) and then make a decisions. There’s really no luxury of being able to ‘sleep on it’. If you like an apartment be prepared to jump on it ASAP. It’s like the wild wild west here!
5. Gather necessary documents now:
Applying for an apartment is no joke. Because the city is very pro tenant (once you move into an apartment) landlords do their best to vet out applicants to make sure they find the most qualified tenants to avoid any issues with housing court. In order to prove that you are a qualified tenant landlords are going to request to see : ID, letter of employment, last two pay stubs, last two bank statements, and last years tax return. It’s best to gather these documents ASAP and be sure to tell your guarantor to gather these documents as well if you are using one. #Protip: email these documents to yourself so you’re ready to send over to the landlord once you find an apartment.
6. To use a broker or not?
If you are moving to NYC for the first time it’s the right of passage to pay a brokers fee. It’s also pretty common and helpful to have a broker represent you since the process of securing an apartment is no easy feat. Broker fees will range from 1 months rent to a fee of 15% of your years lease (which is negotiable). You may also avoid paying a Broker’s fee if the landlord is covering it. If you live in NYC currently, you could navigate the search on your own by targeting management companies and befriending supers.
Things like elevators, laundry in building, AC’s already installed, dishwashers, even natural sunlight are all amenities (which come at an extra cost) and don’t come standard in the apartment. Things like in unit laundry, doorman, rooftop, outdoor spaces, in building gym are seriously luxury amenities.
You can negotiate on rent prices when you are applying for an apartment. But of course within reason. If the apartment seems to be a good deal already or a lot of people are interested, don’t bother. But if it’s the slow season (After October 1st-March 31t) or the apartment has been vacant for over 30 days you could get anywhere from a $50-$150 rent reduction. Also negotiate the best move in date possible for yourself. Paying pro-rated rent for the days you don’t live there can be very costly.
9. Prepare for upfront cost
When you sign a lease, you will be expected to pay at least the 1st months rent plus 1 month security deposit. If you’re using a broker, you’ll also be paying their fee at the time of lease signing as well.
10. Need roommates?
If you are looking to live with roommates but don’t know anyone, it’s best to use a professional roommate matching company, like ours to help you! Not only do we find you the perfect roommate, but we also find you the perfect apartment and manage the entire apply/lease signing process! Just start browsing available rooms here!
Have any questions about your apartment search? Feel free to email email@example.com. Always happy to answer any questions!