Tips for New York City Renters

By: Gea Elika

Sometimes renting a New York City apartment is easy. Usually, however, it takes up a good amount of time and effort. The only way to guarantee that it won't be a hassle is to be willing to pay a whole lot more money than most people. But since that is usually not an option, here are a few tips that should make the whole process quicker, easier and more productive.

Start asking people you know. In a lot of ways we are victims of our own delusions about markets. When it comes to job searches, it often takes recent graduates a few painful years to learn the lesson that social networks are a far more reliable way to find a good job than hoping some random company has a demand that they are uniquely qualified for. Don't make the same mistake with renting an apartment. Ask around. You'll be surprised how many friends and relatives know of apartments in their building that are for rent, and a landlord will always be happier to rent to someone that comes personally recommended by a tenant he or she trusts.

Look during the first and last week of each month. Looking at new apartment at the beginning of the month will help your chances of being the first person to find that perfect New York apartment. The last week is when landlords tend to get desperate to rent their apartment in time for the first. They'll be far less likely to be difficult about issues like the security deposit and whether or not your fish counts as a pet.

Be willing to take your time. Rushing leads to bad

judgment. That's true with all aspects of life. It's even more true with apartment searching, which is one of modern life's less palatable activities.

Stick to your budget. If you've got plans of saving up money, going out to the bars a good number of nights each week - or, ideally, both - don't let your monthly rent payments cramp your style. This city is expensive, and living within a budget takes discipline. Inability to stick to a budget makes you just one small step above a very complex shaved monkey. The foundation of any budget is to find an apartment that doesn't leave you broke for three and a half weeks a year.

The general recommendation is don't spend more than 25% of your post-tax income on rent. In big cities, that's often impossible, but try to stay as close to that rule of thumb as possible.

Don't forget the commute. If you've got the greatest apartment in the world, but you've only got an hour a day to enjoy it because you're either working, sleeping, or commuting, then it doesn't really matter that much, does it?

Always check out the neighborhood. When you visit an apartment and think you might want to live there, the next step is to check out the neighborhood. The three rules of real estate - location, location, location - also apply to the renter's quality of life.

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