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MAIN Arrow to HouseHouse & Home Arrow to MovingMoving Arrow to New YorkNew York

Trying To Find An Apartment in NYC?

NYC apartmentsIt seems that any young person who gets a taste of living in NYC dreams of one day moving here to live in a dream apartment surrounded by the 24/7 hubbub and excitement of New York's top attractions.

For many people it remains just that - a dream. For others plucky enough to land themselves a local job here, possibly a roommate (or several), and can put up with the noise, the traffic and crush of 8 million other New Yorkers it can be, well ...a dream come true!

Sure it's a jungle out there and finding an apartment in New York may be difficult, but far from impossible. It takes a bit of luck, a little knowledge and a lot of work, but rental apartments are out there.

Follow these hard-earned insider tips with real world advice on the hunt for renting and moving into your new NYC apartment:

NYC vacation rentals

Some New Yorkers travel for part of the year and rather than let their apartment sit empty, they make it available for daily, weekly or monthly guests. This alternative to hotels has been popular in Europe for years and is starting to catch on in Manhattan. It's a great way to get the real New York experience on a first visit.

On the Web, begin your search at least several months in advance using the search terms "vacation apartment rentals" and browse the listings of reputable New York City vacation rental agencies that will guide you by neighborhood to available apartments. There you'll get a complete description and photos, a calendar of available dates, and an online booking form.

Be forewarned, however, that as the NYC vacation apartment rental scene rises in popularity, so do the cases of fraud and Internet theft. Best tip: avoid any listing that even hints at "too good to be true"; and only deal with renters who accept credit card payments. And NEVER ever fulfill a request for a direct money wire transfer to reserve your apartment. Period.

NYC unfurnished apartments

In New York, these may be rentals, co-ops or condos. All have their advantages and disadvantages. Rents are high, there are really no low-rent areas in Manhattan, and even the outer boroughs reflect the cost of living in New York. You'll hear plenty of stories about bargains, but they are difficult to find.

In addition to paying the first and last month's rent up front to your landlord, there also are the infamously pricey NYC broker's fees - or money you pay to apartment finders who do the work for you.

For Manhattan apartments especially, brokers fees can run into the hundreds or higher, but for an easier way to get an apartment without the stress, it may be the best way to go.

You will also see plenty of offers to purchase an "exclusive" list of "no-fee" apartments, but if you decide to go that way be careful. Many of them are an expensive way to get free listings that are just as readily available in the local papers.

The best advice? Follow the same time-tested strategy for apartment hunting you would use on the job hunt: search online or read the papers, pound the pavement, and network. That last suggestion means telling everyone and your Aunt Alice that you're looking for an affordable apartment. Include every details you can think of so everyone knows what you're looking for -- including preferred neighborhoods and how much you can afford.

Furnished apartments

Some New Yorkers may live outside of the city and only use their apartments when they're in town. Others with sales or corporate jobs may have to travel for long periods (one Manhattanite we know was posted to Europe for two years and rented out her fantastic studio while she was gone.) Often furnished apartments are short-term sublets (more on that up ahead) but they are a good solution if you are in the city for only a month or two and need a place to call home while you work or study.

There are also places that let out single rooms, like the "Y", but make sure that cooking is allowed if you don't plan on eating all of meals in restaurants. Eating out in New York can take a big bite out of your budget even if you're staying only for a short period.

Long term sublets

Midtown NYC apartment buildingsSome New Yorkers may choose to move out permanently, but are loath to give up their hard-fought for piece of city real estate.

Or, like furnished apartments, sublets may be rental units that are made available by someone who will be out of town for an extended period. Just remember when you sublet an apartment the space will be yours only until the primary lease holder wants it back.

You'll hear plenty of horror stories about New York City sublets - with good reason. Sublets are legal in the city only if the landlord agrees to allow a tenant to sublet. Fact is, however, most of the sublets you'll find are not approved by building owners. And that puts you in a situation of having a nice apartment at reasonable rent (by New York standards), but being in danger of losing the place if the primary renter wants you to vacate.

In short, cross your fingers whenever you enter into a sublet arrangement. You have little to no legal protection against price-gouging or being thrown out of your apartment on a whim.

Roommates / sharing an apartment

Among many singles and college students, a popular way to get an affordable apartment in the city is to simply live with a roomate and split the rent.

A $2400 rent split three ways makes more sense than trying to swing the rent for a studio at $1800/mo when you are starting out. There are plenty of pitfalls in this arrangement, but when it works out well, it can be a fantastic experience.

Make sure when you enter the agreement that cleaning responsibilities are clearly defined. Pairing a neat freak with a total slob may be funny in TV comedies, but in real life it may make a daily routine a nightmare. Also consider forgoing the land line and opt for cell phones to avoid arguments about which phone calls were made by each roommate.

Overall, the best rule for sharing is to be formal about it and get everything in writing. Who pays for utilities and who buys bathroom supplies can be the undoing of the best roommate arrangements. If you iron out all of the difficult problems beforehand, you'll be less likely to regret the decision.

Best tip for sharing? Find a roomie who works the night shift.

About the author: is the source for information on vacations, tourist attractions and insider tips on NYC.

also see -> Apartment Renting Advice | New York Eviction Laws | New York City Taxes

More tips and advice on New York City apartment renting:


Guide to finding a cheap New York apartment - From Real Estate Group NY including how to save money on broker's fees, avoiding scams, neighborhood guides.

Apartment Hunting in NYC - The official city site with insider tips, and related resources.


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