Finding an apartment in the NYC area can be an arduous task. So everyone, especially those new to NYC, area always looking for renting tips to make the process go smoother. Below I will discuss a couple of important pointers for those of you starting your apartment search.
A pair of articles in The New York Times recently confirmed one thing I’ve been telling people for years about finding and signing for a Manhattan rental apartment, and seemed to bolster another theory of mine about NYC rental apartment living, something I’ve long suspected but have never been in a position to really know if it was true or not (significantly intrigued yet?).
Of course, you don’t need the Times to tell you the field-tested tips and techniques of long-time New York City renters… the Urban Edge Apartment Guide for Renters has everything you need to know to make finding and signing your dream NYC rental apartment as painless and ultimately rewarding as possible. Still, it’s always nice to hear that such an august source as the Paper of Record agrees with you. Anyway, the articles:
The first piece I read was the Getting Started column, Renters Should Be Sprinters. Here Joseph Plambeck makes the point that, even if you know you’re going to want to move into a Manhattan rental apartment in, say, three months, unless you can afford to pay rent on a couple of homes simultaneously, there’s no point in starting your search until about three weeks until your move-out (and move-in) date.
Sure, you CAN look a few months out… but in this market of high rents and extremely low vacancy rates, anything you see that’s good is going to be long gone by the time you’re ready to sign. Plus, landlords often don’t know what they’ll have available even two months from now, so looking when you’re not ready to sign will only make you miss out on a rental apartment that you love, either because someone else is going to snatch it up, or because your dream home isn’t even on the market yet.
Another extremely important point: you MUST be ready to sign on the same day you see place, so be prepared with enough money in the bank to cover at least three month’s rent (for the one or two months due at signing, plus a security deposit), as well as proof of employment, bank records, and everything else we discuss in the Urban Edge Renter’s Guide.
The second article that caught my eye recently is maybe less immediately useful for seekers of Manhattan apartments for rent, but it got me thinking about the often extravagantly expensive lures buildings use to attract high-paying tenants, and whether people actually use these extras once they’re in.
These days, most any newly constructed luxury apartment building in the area comes fully-loaded with an almost unbelievable range of services and amenities, from the now-expected gym and luxuriously appointed common spaces (screening rooms, roof decks, billiard rooms, etc), to more unique add-ons such as golf simulators, pet spas, fire pits, bowling alleys, video arcades… the list goes on.
But according to the piece in the Times, “hardly anyone uses these spaces”, which has always been my suspicion. Now, however, landlords of many NYC luxury rental apartment buildings are hiring people who will get residents to actually gather in these gathering places. Fitness classes in the gym, storytime for toddlers in the playroom, salsa classes, cooking demonstrations from local chefs… anything to enhance the sense of community in the building, which is nothing but a good thing for both renters and landlords.
The lesson: while having all of these amenities is nice, are you willing to pay for them if you’re not going to really end up using them? If you think you may need some prodding, ask if the building you’re considering has activities and classes as well.
Just a couple of renting tips for you. As we’ve mentioned before, a comprehensive guide to renting in NYC and the surrounding area is available on the Urban Edge website.
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