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How Do I find an Apartment in New York?!

posted by Paul Mucciarone

An LIM College MBA Student Guide to Finding a Place in the City

By: Tara Robinson, MBA Student
You somehow completed the GMAT, finished your application and have painfully waited to hear the response that will determine the next 15 months or more of your life. Then that email comes and YOU’RE IN! You now have the “Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys playing in the back of your mind simultaneously with scenes from The Devil Wears Prada
You then stop your moment of glee, MID happy dance; to the painful reality that you have no place to live! Take some deep breaths and continue your happy dance because just 4 months ago I was in your shoes. This post will give you all the dos, don’ts and all the stuff I wish I knew 4 months ago.
First thing first, create a budget to know what your price range is before you start looking for apartments. Don’t start looking at these amazing apartments and then realize it’s completely out of your budget, trust me it’s too painful for one soul to bare. If you have a roommate in mind you’re on the right track! If you don’t, you can contact us so that we can put you in contact with other students who are looking for roommates as well. Also use the Facebook groups and pages as resource to meet other students.  
Okay now that that’s out of the way there are a few things you need to know about apartment hunting in NYC. 
  • Don’t start looking until about three to four weeks before your move in date. I know this one is a tough one but apartments go off the market quickly in New York. If you look at something months before it probably won’t be there when you’re looking again. I do advise that you make a list of areas you want to live in or possible buildings that list availabilities.  Boroughs such as Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx are good alternatives when looking for more space and lower rents than you will be able to find in the city. 
  • Make sure you check the commute from your apartment to LIM College (type in Maxwell Hall’s address because this is where all your classes will be) and make sure there is public transportation nearby .
  • You don’t need a two bedroom apartment just at apartment that can fit two bedrooms! This is a trick you will learn in New York, some apartment buildings will let you put up a flex/pressurized wall that can separate a space and make a 1 bedroom apartment into a 2 bedroom. This can cost you up to 700-950 depending on which company you use. This includes the door and taking the wall down when you move out! This is what I’ve done in my apartment because we had a huge living room and my room is actually bigger than my roommate’s. If you know you want to do a flex wall make sure you call them as soon as you find an apartment because they can take a while. Also ask your leasing office what contracts or forms the wall company will need to present in order for them to put up the wall.
  • Try to avoid using a broker! There are a lot of apartment hunting websites that will show you great buildings. However, you then have to contact the broker to view the apartment and each apartment will have a different broker and a different broker's fee! You can end up paying thousands in broker fees. So avoid these sites because it’s an unnecessary additional cost to finding an apartment. Here’s a list of websites that can help you avoid those pesky fees. Also if you can find the name of the apartment contact the leasing office yourself! (Envision Miranda in that scene in Sex and the City following the movers with the couch. You have to be aggressive!)
  • Have a co-signer in mind!  Let's say that you and your roomie have found the perfect apartment and it’s time to fill out the application PAUSE; you don’t make enough money for the apartment to approve you and you need a co-signer. This is one of the many annoying parts about apartment hunting in New York as soon as you find an apartment and contact them they expect you to have all the documents and applications done in the next 1-3 days (not business days!) or they will put the apartment back on the market. So it’s really important that you have all your information ready so that you don’t miss the perfect apartment when you finally find it. Here’s a list of documents that you  and your co-signer/guarantor will typically need:

    • Recent pay stub

    • Identification

    • Letter of employment/enrollment letter 

    • Copy of two or three recent bank states

    • Fill out an application (SSN# for background check and credit check)

      *Listen up International Students! What if you don’t have a cosigner or your co-signer is out of country? Most apartments in New York will not take out of country co-signers (still ask) but don’t worry you do have other options.

      1. Some Apartments will let you pay up to 6months-1yr up front if you don’t have a co-signer. Always offer 6 months first then up to a year.

      2. Some apartments cater to alien residents like the Avalon apartments so look up your country’s embassy in New York and ask them what apartments their diplomats live in.

  • If any of the previous steps haven’t worked for you should think about subleasing a room for a while until you can find a more permanent location. Craigslist is a great resource for subleasing rooms. Just make sure that you meet anyone from Craigslist in a public area!

  • Say all hope is lost and you just can’t find a place or don’t want the hassle, then there is always on-campus housing.  It’s on a first come first serve basis. Also keep in mind it will be the typical college dorm room.

LIM College fashion business students live and work in New York City USA

Topics: New York City, student life