Monday, July 11, 2011

Finding and Renting a Place to Live in NYC

Once you have decided on which part of the city you want to make your new home, the next step is to find your perfect apartment.  The majority of New Yorkers (about 70%) rent homes rather than buy, so there is a big rental market in the city. 

I started my search buy looking online at available apartments in my area.  This gave me a good indication of price and what I could get for my money.  Once you have an idea of what you are looking for there are three main ways of finding a place to live.

1. Use a Broker
Brokers have a good knowledge of the local area and market prices.  They often hear about listings before they are advertised and will get you viewings of properties new to the market.  They can negotiate prices for you and help you through the rental process. However, this service comes at a price and you will be expected to pay around 15% of the first years rental if you find a property using a broker.  You may be able to negotiate a discount and it is worth checking with your employer to see if they have any discounts with certain brokers. 

There are some online companies that provide broker services for free.  I don't have any first hand experience of using a free broker, but it may be worthwhile to research some companies to save on fees.

2. Rent directly from an apartment building
There are lots of companies that have large rental portfolios in NYC.  These companies have large apartment blocks at various locations throughout the city and often provide shorter term lets depending on availability (most leases are for two years).  You can view floor plans, check availability and prices online and liaise with their lettings office when organising viewings.  These buildings may also have additional facilities, such as a health club, business centre and playroom, although these are not always included in your rent.
Here are some of the companies I looked at:
Also, if you google 'rental apartment buildings in NYC' or similar, you will find lots of rental building websites.

3. Word of Mouth
This is how we found our apartment.  We told everyone we knew that we were looking to move and were lucky enough to find our perfect apartment through a friend.  I appreciate that we were very fortunate to find somewhere this way, but you never know so it is worth asking around.  You also avoid paying broker fees!

Be prepared to make some compromises when looking for property in New York as it is almost impossible to get everything you want.  You may have to look at lots of places before finding the right one, but once you do it is important to move quickly.  Good apartments are snapped up quickly in this city, so if you love it make sure to move fast to avoid losing it to someone else.

Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Yes the one thing I would stress is you can find apartments without going through a broker, Get listings of management companies online or if you see a building you like, they usually have the management company on the outside of the building and call them to see if they have any available rentals..... when we were renting in Manhattan, back in 1998 we paid a broker $2,700 to find us an apartment on the upper east side, if I had known I could have gone straight to the management company instead and gone on holiday with that money!! also The New York times is a great place to look.