After a grueling 2-week-long process of working on finals, starting a new job, an apprenticeship, and apartment searching, I am happy to say I am back and feeling more refreshed than ever! These past few weeks have made me realize how important it is to stay balanced when it can often feel like you are taking on way too much. It also occurred to me that finding said apartment was a lot tougher than expected, and I thought that if I could help anyone through what I experienced first-hand, it might make the world a slightly better place.
That being said, here are some tips to kick off your search:
1.) Do your research.
There are thousands of apartments to choose from in this city. How do you possibly even know where to begin? First thing’s first: figure out your budget, then plan your research accordingly. If you can’t afford a broker fee, don’t panic. There IS a way to find places here without one. You just need to be active. This includes utilizing all sources such as Google, Craigslist, and even the newspaper. If you want to take it a step further, walk around the neighborhood of your choice and look at open apartment buildings. There’s usually a number posted on the outside of places that have rooms for rent. Give them a call. Set up appointments. Exhaust all options.
2.) Ask Questions.
So you’ve found a neighborhood that you like, it fits within your budget, and it has all (or hopefully most) of what you need (think square footage, kitchen size, window placement, etc.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! How far is the closest train stop? If you’re living in Brooklyn or Queens- How long of a commute is it to the city? Is the area you’re living in safe to walk through at night? How far is the laundromat? What are your neighbor’s lifestyles like? It makes all the difference whether they like to party, or if they work at
night and sleep during the day and require YOU to be quiet. Most importantly: What utilities are included? Is there anything in the apartment that needs to be fixed? It is up to you to figure these things out, as most landlords will not disclose this information upfront.
3.) Congrats, you’re about to sign the lease! Here’s the fun part.
You’ve done your research, you’ve asked all the right questions, you’re satisfied with the apartment of your choice- great! Time to sign the lease. I cannot express this enough: MAKE SURE YOU READ IT. I know it’s a pain, and you just want to get this all over with, but you need to make sure you read it so that later on you aren’t surprised by new fees that have been tacked on. It’s the only way to know your rights as a renter, and also what your landlord is required to do for you in case you’re in need of anything. You will eventually need something to be fixed, it’s inevitable. The lease also tells you when it is appropriate for the landlord to come over unannounced. It’s these little things that build up to make the big picture of what life will be like at your new place.
There you have it! Apartment hunting is a long process that can feel endless at times, but the good news is that you WILL find something. If you just use your common sense and pay attention to detail, its nothing you should be afraid of. Plus, when you’re all nice and settled in, the best part is exploring your new area and falling in love with it!
As for me, I’ve just moved into a beautiful three-bedroom place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. While I’m not in the heart of Manhattan, I LOVE my new place, and will be updating you all on the culture and quirks that I find along the way. Cheers to you all! It’s going to be a good, good summer.