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Getting Ready to Find an NYC Rental? Read This.

May 28, 2019

Making the move to New York City but don’t know where to begin? Looking for a place to live in a city of eight million people might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are moving to NYC for a summer internship, for your first job straight after college, or if you’ve always wanted to live in New York and are finally ready to take the leap, allow us to take you through the basics of renting in NYC. Below are helpful tips to get you on the way to your very first New York City apartment.

When can I actually start looking for apartments? 

For such a big move, you’re likely hoping to plan as far ahead as possible. While advanced planning is usually the best strategy, in New York, rental apartments operate under a different set of rules. Here, the rental market moves with dizzying speed, with most rentals hitting the market no sooner than 30 days in advance of the move-in date. Your best bet is to start about two to three months in advance of your move by figuring out your wish list, and then doing your research.

Decide what’s most important to you by considering the top three variables: size, location, and price. What size apartment do you need or want? Which neighborhoods suit you best? Can you find the right sized apartment for the price you want in the neighborhoods you like? After that, consider amenities. Find out what the going rates are for everything you’re hoping for, and when the 30-day countdown begins, you’ll know what to look for and what to spring for.

What paperwork do I need to rent an apartment?

During your two to three months of research, preparation, and planning, while you are gearing up to look at apartments, it is essential to gather all necessary paperwork. It is entirely possible that the first place your agent shows you will check off all your boxes. You will want to be able to submit an application as swiftly as possible, so be sure to have handy all documentation typically required by NYC landlords:

  • A letter from your employer stating your position, salary, length of employment, and opportunities for bonuses
  • Your last two to four pay stubs
  • Your last two years of tax returns
  • Your last two months of bank statements
  • Contact information for previous landlords
  • Verification of other assets, if any
  • Photo ID (Driver’s License, Passport, etc.)

If you look through this list and realize you don’t have everything on it, there’s no reason to panic. You can still get your dream apartment with the help of a guarantor. 

What is a guarantor and do I really need one?

Most New York City landlords require proof of income and salary that is 40—sometimes 50—times the monthly rent. However, if you fall short of those numbers, don’t despair. Your NYC-living dreams are still within reach. If you yourself cannot meet these requirements, NYC landlords typically allow for a guarantor to meet them for you. A guarantor is a person who legally guarantees that if you fail to pay your monthly rent, he or she will pay it. Your guarantor should have a salary of 80 to 100 times the monthly rent. If you decide to use a guarantor, have him or her gather all of the above paperwork before your first apartment viewing.

How can I make my New York City apartment search easier?

After making your wish list, doing your research, and gathering your documents, you still only have about 30 days to find an apartment, which can be stressful. There is no reason to go it alone, nor should you. An independent rental agent can make a huge difference in your state of mind, as well as the effectiveness of your time. Agents answer all of your questions, know New York City neighborhoods better than anyone, and know how to find the best apartments within your budget… Contact an agent at the beginning of the process, about two months before your move-in date, and he or she will guide you, make every step as smooth and easy as possible, and, ultimately, help you find your perfect NYC apartment. 

Ready to start looking for your perfect NYC apartment? Check out our rental listings for all five boroughs. And as you prepare to make your home here, make sure you learn how to Speak New York!

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