How to Find an Apartment in NYC

Not quite sure why it’s taken me so long to write about this subject, since I get this question often. To be honest, this topic is so full of information I was dreading this post! But, I’m here to help others make a massive move or give them endless entertainment at my expense. So! How to find an apartment in New York City.

As I’ve stated previously, I live in Brooklyn. Which brings me to my first point;

  1. Farther from Manhattan = Less Expensive

And when I saw that, it’s not just the rent. It’s the coffee, the groceries, the clothes. Basically functioning is less expensive the farther you get from Manhattan. But I get it! The bustling city has a certain grimy, romantic charm to it. The cab drivers cussing you out for walking on the crosswalk, the scent of garbage and urine, the symphony of “got any change?” and sirens crescendo into a piece of pure musical genius that can only be replicated here. But unless you are willing to pay over $1,000 a month just for a bedroom in a shared apartment, $10 for a carton of oat milk, and the rest of your emotional well-being? I would steer clear of the island all together.

I’m going to do a post about the various areas to live and what the demographic and economic climate is there, so I won’t go into detail about the places you can live.

So you’ve committed to living here, you know you’re going to avoid Manhattan, and you open a website like Zillow or something and search for apartments in your area of choice. Your spirits begin to wane as you see the dollar amount, you begin to cry as you keep scrolling, you debate even moving here and decide to keep working your boring job in your boring town.

STOP! I’m about to give you some brilliant ways to find great places in great areas. So.

  • StreetEasy

StreetEasy is an app/website that is dedicated to rental and for-sale properties ONLY in New York City. You can pick the neighborhoods you want to live in, set a maximum rent/sale price, and it gives you the options. It also notifies you whenever new things are put on the market! Still a little on the pricier side, especially because now you need to find roommates. But we’ll come back to this.

  • Facebook

Yes. So, there are secret Facebook groups for people to find rooms in apartments in New York City. This is how Elijah found his place and how I found mine. I actually feel like this is the most effective way to find a great place. This is also a great way to find a roommate! What I loved is I was able to FaceTime people and get tours of the houses and talk to them. Some deal directly with landlords, and some have almost become mini landlords, so no necessary credit check or income proof. Which brings us to another, terrifying subject. Credit. Credit is king in this market, doesn’t matter if you can afford to buy the whole building in cash. No credit? no apartment. Bad credit? better call grandma and ask her to co-sign.

Before I wrap up, I’m about to spill a massive secret. Seriously. Want to live closer to Manhattan than Brooklyn but want to pay almost nothing in rent?

Jersey. City.

You’re not technically in New York, which is enough for many to turn their noses up and think yuck. But seriously, you can find rentals for almost half of what you would finding Brooklyn and you’re a quick 20 minute train ride into Manhattan. So, you want to be close to the city and don’t care that you’re not officially in New York? Jersey City might be the place for you.

To re-cap:

  1. Stay away from Manhattan
  2. Use resources like StreetEasy and Facebook to find apartments and roommates
  3. Check your credit and see where it’s at
    (Also make sure you have almost 3 months of rent saved up)
  4. Join the brave renegades in Jersey City

If you have any more questions, concerns, or crippling anxious thoughts about this subject feel free to leave them in the comments or email me!

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