Apartment Hunting in New York City – Part 1

Here One Day – Gone the Next!


When you see an apartment in New York City that sounds promising, you must call or email immediately. Don’t wait for anything (even work) – contact them immediately and set up the earliest-possible appointment – preferably that day. If you must go to work, schedule your appointment immediately after work. If you don’t, someone else will probably take the apartment.

It can be harder for people who work because often your fellow apartment-hunters are not yet employed so they have all the free time in the world to look for and inspect apartments. An apartment can be taken before you even get a chance to see it. So, our message is – be quick!

Get a Feel for the Apartment

So, now you’re inspecting the apartment. You need to ‘try it on’; meaning how does it feel when you step into the apartment? Gauge the overall size of it, then each individual room. Do you think you could live there? What does your intuition tell you? Don’t listen to what anyone else says; not even the landlord or the broker. Be cautious if they start being pushy or sugar-coating aspects of the apartment. They might emphasize the huge interest in the apartment, but don’t be tempted to sign up, because it may not be true: how does it rate in your mind, relative to other apartments in the neighborhood or borough in the same price range? Do you feel that it’s over-priced? If it is, is it worth the extra money per month? Is this really the area you want to live in or are you only taking it because you’re sick and tired of looking? Be very honest about the answers to these questions.

Tell the Truth (almost!)


Once you’re inspecting an apartment, the broker or landlord will enquire about your budget. Give them a figure that’s less than what it really is; perhaps $50 – $100 less. If, for example, the apartment costs $3,200, tell him your budget is ‘$3,100, but flexible’. You’re already there and you’re an interested potential tenant, so they’re probably not going to lose you over $100. Say how much you love the apartment, but that it’s just over your limit – hopefully they’ll negotiate with you.

Of course it all depends on the landlord, the market, and the timing of the viewing, but you might have a real advantage and get it down to $3,000. Use your gut instincts and be smart: push for as low as you think you can safely go.

Don’t Stress: The Right Apartment WILL Be There!

Apartment hunting in New York City, or Queens or Brooklyn, has a lot to do with fate. Don’t stress if someone beats you to putting down a deposit: perhaps it wasn’t meant to be and you had a lucky escape! There are many more apartments available to rent, and the one you do take will probably be better than the one you just missed out on. Stay on the ball, plan out your strategy, and you’ll find the perfect apartment for you.

Remember that, when you do find an apartment, the Contract you sign is a legally binding document, so it’s always advisable to seek legal advice before signing anything at all. George Russo and Associates is your local real estate law firm, and we’re highly experienced in all matters pertaining to real estate, particularly rental agreements. We can go through your rental contract with you and ensure that you’re legally protected. We provide obligation-free legal advice, so don’t take any chances with your rental agreement. 

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