I’m SO stoked to be writing this post y’all—I can’t believe I’m officially a New York resident telling y’all all the tips and tricks on finding a good apartment that fits your needs here! Dreams do come true! J
I had A TON of questions regarding what we used while apartment hunting and some tips and tricks that we’ve learned along the way. Some of these tips can be applied to any apartment search, others are New York specific.
For starters, we relied on three things: RadPad, StreetEasy, and a broker! I’m not one to sit around and wait for things to be sent to me so I made sure to do some digging and find apartments that I thought might be worth checking out. I found tons of websites and apps to help out with searching for an apartment but I personally liked RadPad and StreetEasy the most.
RadPad in particular was so easy to use and the features were so helpful! It’s nationally available too so not just NYC specific. I created a quick and easy free account and started my search by looking all over Manhattan and once I got the feel of the neighborhoods I started to narrow my search by location. RadPad has a ton of filters to help you really weed out the places that you aren’t looking for. Another thing that got me super excited about RadPad was the fact that they are offering a locating service in Texas that is more of a concierge service consisting of a hands on experience with expert locators and it’s 100% FREE! Y’all know Texas is ultimately where I want to end up later down the line and so I was honestly so excited to start using RadPad because I know for sure I’ll be using them again for our next hunt in Texas!
I highly recommend playing around on the app because it’s really user friendly and it makes the search process a little less stressful! 🙂
Speaking of stress, I wanted to share some tips and tricks with y’all to help your apartment hunt be a little easier! These are all the things I learned from both my move from TX to LA and then from LA to NY. Hope y’all find this helpful! xo
Apartment Hunting Tips & Tricks
Start your research early, but your search later
It’s SO important to start looking into neighborhoods in New York early on. There are so many unique little areas here in the city and each neighborhood is so SO different! From Upper East Side to Soho to Hudson Yards, the vibe for each are completely different. If you’re able to search for your apartment while in the city, take a look at the neighborhood you like both in the day and night and see if you’re comfortable!
No matter where you’re searching for your next apartment, it’s so helpful to create a list of all the things that matter to you. Sometimes you can’t get everything you want out of your new apartment so if you have a few must-haves that will be super helpful! For example for us, we knew we wanted floor to ceiling windows, central a/c and to be near the train station.
If you’re able to avoid moving in the summer months, do so! It’s true there are more options available during the summer because it’s high season but rent tends to be higher and it’s just more hectic because things go even more quickly than normal.
Look at proximity
For me, it was so important to be close to a few restaurants, grocery stores and the train station. You have to evaluate how important being close to those things are for you as that will narrow down your search.
Avoid broker fees
Broker fees are no joke here. I don’t even understand why some buildings make the tenant pay the broker fee?! In Texas and California the landlord/building pays it so it was definitely a culture shock when I found out I had to search for “no fee” apartments. The fees are kind of crazy—they could range between 8-18 percent of your annual rent or even more. Although no broker fee apartments limits your search, you might still find a good option. I did! 🙂
Come Prepared + Have your paperwork
Ajeet and I booked a week-long trip here in New York roughly 2 weeks before our potential move date. Like I said, things move quick here in New York so if you’re here searching for a place and found one you love, ACT FAST!! Be prepared with all the documents you need and apply ASAP especially if you love it. Some items you’ll need include:
- 2-3 recent bank statements
- Letter of employment
- Tax returns and w2
- Pay stubs
- Photo ID
- Possibly a current landlord reference lette
Find a good broker
You don’t necessarily need a broker but sometimes it can help especially if you’re unable to come to NY before your actual move date. I would personally ask around for a recommendation because there are some not-so-good ones in the city. Luckily the one I had was so kind and patient with me and made sure to find no-fee units on RadPad and StreetEasy! J
Photos can be deceiving
If you’re using an app or website to search for an apartment, don’t get your hopes up high when you see nice photos. A lot of times there will penthouse photos shown or amenities only and the actual apartment looks NOTHING like what you saw in photos. That’s why having a good broker can help you here! Ajeet and I went and saw 15+ apartments and a few of them were definitely misleading.
A good broker will negotiate for you but if you don’t have one then try and get things thrown in for free. Some buildings will throw in the amenities/gym for free!
Find a guarantor
New York rent is expensive af!! Be prepared to have a guarantor backup because you’ll need to show that your income is 40x the monthly rent (in comparison, it’s 3x your monthly income in Texas). Additionally if you’re going to have a guarantor, they will have to show 80x the monthly rent!!
What is meant to happen will happen and if you don’t end up with a place you love immediately, you can always move out in a year! Trust the process and trust your path.
Happy apartment hunting, chat soon! Xo
Thank you RadPad for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Partnerships like these make Next With Nita possible.