As some of you may know via Instagram Stories, I (Courtney) am moving back to Brooklyn on Monday – yay! This will be my third move in NYC (4th apartment). So you best believe I have some tips for y’all.
Where Do I Start? Great Question! You should definitely start & finish on StreetEasy.com (and no this is not an #ad, just some great advice). When I first moved to New York City, my roomies introduced it to me and I was amazed! I came to find out that not a lot of people knew what it was. For those on the latter StreetEasy is an AMAZING apartment/home search engine that is solely based in New York City. You basically type in what you want, for the price you want, and it will spit out apartments all over the city in those ranges. It is truly Tinder for apartment hunters and the best way to start your search in narrowing down what you are looking for! Then being able to close it out by finding amazing NO FEE apartments! I.e: not going through a broker. Which brings me to my next tip….
You Can Avoid Broker Fee’s! So this is a tricky tip because a lot of things surrounding broker’s fee’s are in the higher courts with legalities being debated. When we found the Manhattan apartment we are currently living in we had to pay a 15% broker fee and believe me – it was not fun, or worth it. I swore on that day I would never do it again. Truth be told we could have found just as nice (if not nicer) apartment for this price without a broker fee but at that time we were up against a time constraint. Moral of my story being you can find amazing apartments without the fee’s, so avoid falling into that trap! There are so many apartment’s available (especially right now) that you can get one fee free and save so much $$$ up front!
SHOP COURTNEY’S LOOK
Handling The Search Itself. Apartment hunting in NYC is no joke and it is stressful af. Trust me. I have cried, I have fallen in love with an apartment than someone comes in last second, getting approved first. I’ve truly been through it all here. My major tips is to never get too attached to one style, one area or a certain aspect like a doorman. You aren’t going to be able to get it all. (Unless you have some crazy budget). You are going to have to learn to sacrifice something! Whether that be a dishwasher, a doorman, outdoor space, hardwood floors, etc.
You should try to also set aside a week to look at as many apartments in a day, within an area as possible. When we’ve searched in the past we’ve always tried to get it done within a week. Seeing 3-5 a day. That way you can knock out a lot of ground with not much time wasted. If you stretch it out to weeks on end, it can start to get repetitive and honestly exhausting.
You Can Negotiate! Do not be afraid to negotiate – ESPECIALLY right now! People are moving out of NYC like WILDFIRE! Want to upgrade? Now’s the time. Things are going for cheap, cheap, cheap and landlords are dying to fill these vacancies. Take us for example. We just scored a $5,000 apartment for SOOOOOO MUCH less. We practically stole that private terrace lol. We were also able to negotiate in a month’s free rent. If you show interest in an apartment but don’t love the price, talk to the landlord about it and see if they are willing to work with you. If not, I can promise they will almost always be willing to work with you on last month’s or first month’s free.
You Must Move Fast! Always pull the information needed for approval prior to starting your search. In NYC they generally (almost always actually) need a copy of your driver’s license, tax returns, pay stubs, letter of employment, and bank statements. Kelly & I once lost out on an apartment because it took us too long to pull all of this. Which sucked! My advice – get this all sorted out before! Also if you know you are going to need a guarantor, get their information NOW. Generally for guarantors (a parent usually) they will need to submit the same information and it can sometimes take them longer to collect it. Good apartments move fast in NYC, so having your application information collected ahead of time, puts you 5 steps ahead.