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How To Find An Apartment In New York City

How To Find An Apartment In New York City
You must have prepared your mind that a guide will be needed when you decide to move to the most densely populated megacity in the United States. With over 8 million inhabitants, getting an apartment in New York City can […]

You must have prepared your mind that a guide will be needed when you decide to move to the most densely populated megacity in the United States. With over 8 million inhabitants, getting an apartment in New York City can be a daunting challenge. It can be daunting and exhaustive if you have not prepared well enough. So, how to find an apartment in New York City?

New York City with its five boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island is a lovely place to live. A densely populated, economically vibrant, urban, and diverse city. That begs the question of how to find an affordable apartment in New York City. 

Taking a sight and quick digression off the getting an apartment question, New York is a vibrant city filled with young minds all seeking to build something for themselves. That in a way shows that you will surely find your fit here. It is well possible to find a nice, comfortable and yet affordable apartment, say 2 bedroom apartments for rent in NYC. 

The place you live has a lot to do with your mental and physical health. This is why you have to be careful in your search for an apartment in New York or any other place. The stress from your living environment can be a major determinant of your wellness. Moving from a long distance to work daily for instance can lead to poor physical health which in turn may affect mental wellbeing. 

Another good side of the coin when it comes to renting an apartment in NYC is the fact that many New Yorkers are renters. This means that there are going to be several people moving out of their apartments to create space for new occupants. And many owners are willing to offer a space for rent.

How To Find An Apartment In New York City

So, how do you find that apartment? Let’s check out 5 tricks!

  • Have a Budget 


Planning is an indispensable step to getting an apartment not just in New York but anywhere. The rent is often the biggest problem when searching for an apartment, so it is important to initially decide on how much you can afford. 

On average, landlords in New York City will only approve renters with gross income about 40 times more than the rent per month. To break that down, it means that with gross earnings of $40000 you can averagely afford a monthly rent of $1000. It is advisable to set a budget of around 30% of your income for rent so that you will not become overburdened by the payment. 

As of February 2020, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is about $4200 with a 2% yearly change. New York City has an average rent of $3900 per month but there are neighbourhoods with lower rents as low as $1700. You need to decide how much you are willing to pay for rent, this will guide your search and save you a lot of stress. 

The city centre can be very expensive with rents going above $3000, then you may need to seek out neighbourhoods around Manhattan and Brooklyn. Queens for instance offer less expensive apartments. The bottom line is to let your budget guide you, decide how much you are willing to pay for rent. 

  • Know The Boroughs

To effectively find an apartment in New York, you should get to know the neighbourhood. There are five boroughs in New York, each with different peculiarities. Depending on what you want, a good knowledge of the boroughs will help you decide where to look for your next abode.

Here is a brief detail to incite you about the five boroughs: 

  • Manhattan


With rent figures between $4000 and $2000, Manhattan is the most expensive borough in New York. It is the busiest and the most populated of the neighbourhoods. It is geographically the smallest but with the highest population density. It is the home of many multinational corporation’s headquarters and universities.   

Manhattan’s Governor’s Island is the most expensive place with lower rental fees around Marble Hill, Washington Heights, Central Harlem, Inwood, and Alphabet City. So, it is the best place to relax with your partner and feel the peaceful scenario of Manhattan.

  • Brooklyn


This is the most populated borough located to the east of Manhattan. Brooklyn is a diverse neighbourhood ethnically, culturally, and socially. The influx of people from Manhattan has also raised the rent of some places like Williamsburg and Park Slope to levels as high as that of Manhattan. The best rental deals in Brooklyn are around Bay Ridge, Gravesend, Midwood, Flatbush, and Bensonhurst. 

  • Queens


Further east of Brooklyn is the largest geographical space of the five boroughs. This is considered the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. In Queens, Downtown Flushing is the busiest neighborhood that hosts the U.S open annually at the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It is also the site of two busy airports that serve the New York Metropolis. Rent in Queens is not as high as that obtainable in Brooklyn, so it has been a good place to get decent and affordable accommodation. Places to look at for good deals in Queens are Flushing, Bayside, Corona, Elmhurst, and Jamaica. 

  • The Bronx

The Bronx

Sitting in the northernmost part of New York, Bronx lies on the mainland of the United States. Credited as the birthplace of the Rap and Hip-hop culture, the Bronx is the site of the largest park in New York, the Pelham Bay Park.

Apart from being the farthest from the midtown hub of New York, Bronx offers some of the lowest rents. But it is not lacking in places of attraction. Asides from the largest park, it is also the site of the world’s largest metropolitan zoo, the Bronx Zoo which houses over 6000 animals. 

The Co-op city which is the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States is in the Bronx. Places to look at in the Bronx are University Heights, Mott Haven, Highbridge, and Parkchester. 

  • Staten Island

Staten Island

The most suburban of the five boroughs, Staten Island is connected to Manhattan and Brooklyn via the free Staten Island ferry and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge respectively. This is the place to get the least rent and largest space since it is the most suburban part. Seeking to find an apartment here in Staten Island? You should look out for places like St. George, West Brighton, New Dorp, and Bay Terrace. 

  • Do the Searching 


On finding an affordable apartment in New York City, it is now time to go hunting. Searching for an apartment can be done more modernly online through several online betting sites. You can also decide to go with the more conventional searching through agents and brokers. 

Brokers can get you good deals you may not be able to get by yourself. But you must also note that brokers charge an amount for their service. Their charge may be as high as 20% of your annual rent but you can always negotiate your way down. 

To take on the task of searching out an apartment for yourself via the internet, there are several options for you to pick from. Below is a list of popular letting sites you can employ in your search for an affordable apartment in New York City:

  • Naked Apartments
  • Craigslist
  • Zumper
  • StreetEasy
  • RentHop
  • PadMapper
  • The Listings Projects
  • Trulia
  • RentHop
  • Zillow
  • Roomi
  • RoomZoom
  • Triplemint

Make sure you broaden your search, one site cannot have all the apartments up for rent. You can also combine both the online search and the use of brokers. The wider you cast your net the bigger the number of fishes you catch. 

  • Check The Place Out

check the place

Either through an agent or online via a letting site, it is important to pay a physical visit to the place you will be renting. But before you embark on the physical visit journey, check out the apartment address online. You can employ the hands of Google street view on this to ensure that the location is legit. 

Prepare well for the visit, you may probably keep a checklist of the things you expect to find or not find in the apartment. It is also necessary to check out the place yourself to confirm whatever the agent or the letting site is saying. 

You need not be hasty at this point, if that apartment is not meeting your need, you will surely find another. Take your time to check for water leaks, moulds, open every closets and cabinet. You may even meet a tenant to ask further questions about the building or the neighbourhood. 

  • Prepare Your Documents

document prepare

Due to the high demand for an affordable apartment in New York, you should ensure that all your documents are well prepared beforehand. To save yourself the stress of finding a 2 bedroom apartment only to hear the next day that someone else has paid the rent, you should be ready. Always have these documents handy for your application for rent: 

  • Your means of Identification
  • Employment letter with your salary details and date of employment
  • A recent copy of your bank statement
  • A letter of reference from a landlord
  • Tax returns for the last two years. 

In your search to find an apartment in New York City, it is needed to be prepared with all the paperwork that may be required. You should pay attention to any other specific documents that may be required by the letting agency you are patronizing. 

While You Search…

In a bid to find an apartment in New York City, you need to be cautious to avoid being scammed, this why you should checkup the location with Google street view. Remember to check out the neighbourhood especially at night, you will be able to judge the business and noise level. So, how to find an apartment in New York City? These are some amazing ways to find a comfortable one.

Also, endeavor to ask people around about life in that area, you can get a good insight into how good or bad the place is. You should also check out for important features like a grocery store, restaurants, closeness to a subway stop, laundry services, and other necessities.

Never forget to negotiate, landlords can always compromise some dollars on the asking rent. And you should consider some options like getting co-tenants or sub-letting. Be flexible with neighbourhoods, check out as many places as possible before making your final choice. Finding an apartment in New York City can be the best way to get to know the city, so relax with your partner and have fun all the way. 

Florance Reeves

Florance Reeves is skincare, Wellness and Health expert and professional content writer. She likes to research skincare and wellness products and experiments. She has experience with skincare, wellness and health products for more than 10 years.

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