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New York City Apartment Hunting

After reading Joel's article today, I couldn't help but wonder if I really knew as much as I thought about NYC Apartment Hunting, particularly within Manhattan.

I'm curious and eager to hear everyone's insight, experiences, tips, etc!

Monday, March 31, 2003

There are a few books on the subject... It's always been hit or miss with me, just kinda spend time searching around, looking in newspapers for some guy with a basement, and going to real estate agents... I'm sure there must be a better way. An "insiders" way...
Monday, March 31, 2003

It seems to me that you can find a really good place if you are prepared to spend 3 or 4 months looking.  On the other hand, if you have a lease, then you are risking either running over the lease (if you start searching too soon to the end) or paying a lot of double rent (if you start searching too soon).

Jordan Lampe
Monday, March 31, 2003

My friend (I mentioned this as a topic a while back) took about 2 months to find the right place. Mostly looking on craiglist...

In one of the places, all/ most of the residents in that particular building wanted to interview/ meet prospective apartment mates before giving the final decision - that was a new one...

Prakash S
Monday, March 31, 2003

Just in case it wasn't clear -- craigslist was mentioned -- that's

Corey Henderson
Wednesday, April 2, 2003

What is "a really good place" in New York? Craig's List shows a million apartments with good locations and ammenities--you just have to be willing to pay $1600+. When people speak of spending 2-3 months looking, does that mean you'll be able to find the same apartment for less?

Anon. Coward
Saturday, April 5, 2003

Get a map of New York... preferrably a subway map (available on ).

Now, everything between Central Park and Battery Park is where everything happens. So you want to be near to this area of the map.

You can go in any direction the subway goes for a couple of inches and still be in prime real estate.


Astoria, Queens (end o the N line)

Long Island City, Queens (around where the N turns north, near Courthouse Square)

Park Slope, Brooklyn (7th ave on the F line)

Williamsburg, Brooklyn (bedford avenue on the L line, "the new Park Slope")

These are all hot spots that have become hot spots simply because they're near the city. Rent was cheaper, so people moved in and rents went up. They're trendy artsy neighorhoods filled with trendy artsy 20 and 30 somethings. These are the neighorhoods you go to and meet dozens of New Yorkers who are from somewhere else.

Affordable housing? Go off the left edge of the map into New Jersey, or go a few more inches along one of the train lines into Queens or Brooklyn. These are the neighborhoods you go to and meet New Yorkers who are from New York and whose parents are from New York.

An inverse relationship can be drawn between length of time it takes to get to the hot spots & housing costs. These numbers are based on the rents of people I know.

0 minutes = $2,000 - $3,000 for a tiny studio apartment

30 minutes = $700 for a room connected to a common area you share with 5 other people.

an hour (where I am) = $1,000 for a 1 bedroom, $700 for a studio.

an hour and a half, 2 trains and a bus... $1,200 gets you the first floor of a house - 2 bedrooms, a huge living room and huge kitchen. The kind that's attached to a 2 car garage & has a back yard.
Sunday, April 6, 2003

If you're willing to spring for a broker's fee, you can find a sub-$1500 one-bedroom in Manhattan with little trouble. My girlfriend and I moved blind into the city in October 2001, and we only had to stay with friends for three weeks to find work and a place in the East Village (one whose halls don't smell like urine!). It can be done. Those were (slightly) more frightened times than these, though, and the market may have adjusted upward.

Drew Bell
Sunday, April 6, 2003

Re: craig's list and apartments

I'm not sure why, but the general consensus in San Francisco and NYC (i've lived in, and used craig's list in both) is that the rental listings on craigslist are up to 30% higher rent than what you find by walking around, or even going to a broker.  Craig's list is good for finding a roommate, but not necessarily great for finding an apartment.

Re: marktaw's comments...  He's partly right, but in my experience you can still find a sub $2000 apartment in the east village, LES, and the midtown area bounded by 50th and 80th streets and 3rd and York aves. A friend of mine just got a place in the east village (ave. A and 12th) for $1400 (smallish, but newly renovated 2-room studio, hardwood floors / new appliances, exposed brick, etc). Another friend found a newly renovated 2 bedroom for $1850 (!) near there, but on ave. C.

Monday, April 7, 2003

Sure, I know people who stumble into things that are amazingly cheap. Mine were just rules of thumb meant to point towards the average situation.
Monday, April 7, 2003

In 2000 when my wife and I moved to the city, our first broker was literally showing us places where the bathroom was some pipes sticking out of the wall and the floors were crooked.  And apartments in that building were being taken as we were looking!

(It was like a scene from the Tigger movie.  After destroying Eeyore's house, Tigger builds a new one which is basically five sticks leaned together.  Eeyore says "A bit small.  Kind of drafty.  A bit cramped.  Besides that, it's perfect.")

Never be afraid of "losing" a place if you're not sure.  Even in 2000, places were going fast, but tons of places come on the market every day, too.

Use as many brokers as you want, too.  And look for places without brokers fees at the same time.  The more places you see, the more you know what you like.

Another thing:  make sure there's grocery stores, cleaners, etc. close to where you live.  We almost took a place on the west side near the theatre district, but then realized there weren't really any places to shop in the area.

Good luck!

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 9, 2003

"Another thing:  make sure there's grocery stores, cleaners, etc. close to where you live.  We almost took a place on the west side near the theatre district, but then realized there weren't really any places to shop in the area."

Yes. Very important. Corner store you can run to in the middle of the night = awesome.
Wednesday, April 9, 2003

here's a decent website with some honest brokers and landlords posting ads...

there are some nice lookin no fee places too...

Thursday, April 24, 2003

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