Elle’s Edit: How To Find The Perfect NYC Apartment


Whether you are about to just graduate from college, move to another city, or move out of home, it can be really tough to find a space to call home.

How To Find The Perfect NYC Apartment by popular New York blogger The Champagne Edit

This post topic was heavily requested when I first moved to NYC and I wanted to break it down for you all and be real when it comes to finding the “perfect” NYC apartment. Even though this post is going to be specifically about my experience finding an apartment in NYC I know that this may help any of you moving to another big city. To back it up a bit, I grew up in Connecticut, moved to PA for college, and then after college I moved to Minneapolis. I was in Minneapolis for 2 years and ultimately made the decision to move back to the east coast. Moving halfway across the country can be a lot of work but the biggest task of them all is finding an apartment, especially in NYC. Not sure if you have heard but the vacancy rate of all NYC apartments is less than 1%. CRAZY huh?! When I heard that stat before I moved here I had a slight anxiety attack. So how did I land that dream NYC apartment you may ask, well read along and you will find out!

Where should I live?

This is by far the most important and difficult question to answer. You hear all of these glamorous stories of living in a beautiful NYC apartment in these fun neighborhoods but are they the places you want to call home? I did a ton of research online by looking at all the pros and cons of certain neighborhoods in NYC. In all honesty, I googled “what is a great place in NYC for a young professional”. And BOOM, you have 500+ options and 500+ stories to read. All very helpful but at the same time very overwhelming. I suggest before starting your NYC apartment search pick your top 3 locations. I had 2 locations where I really wanted to live and then one location that was in the neighborhood where I was going to work.

Why are NYC apartments so expensive?

Yeah, we’ve all been there. NYC is a place where you definitely pay for every square inch. I started my search by looking online and using this great website called StreetEasy. I encourage you all to check it out when you start your NYC apartment search. My biggest piece of advice is set a budget!!! As they say, you don’t want to be house poor. When you move to NYC your life will change and your wallet may or may not like the change. It is so important to create a realistic budget and determine how much you can actually afford each month. You have to put into consideration how much it will cost you per month for transportation (even if you live close to work you still will be getting a metrocard), how much you spend on groceries (times what you are paying now by 1.5), and how much you plan on spending eating out with friends. All of this adds up so be smart about your budget when it comes to your apartment.

“This is so overwhelming.”

YUP you got it. I said the same thing. When I first found out I was moving to NYC I had about 2 weeks to find an apartment, pack up my old apartment, and then move into my new NYC apartment. That is a lot to do in such a short period of time especially because I was not drivings distance to NYC and had one weekend planned when I flew to NYC to find a place. I ended up finding a broker to help me find an apartment and I am so glad I did considering my time crunch.

Why did you use a broker?

A broker can literally be your best friend when it comes to finding your NYC apartment. I highly recommend using a broker if you are not from NYC or are very unsure as to what neighborhoods you want to look at. Even though I am originally from Connecticut and have been to the city so many times I still decided to go with a broker. My broker was SO helpful. I had only a day to find an apartment and she lined up around 8-10 apartments in my budget in my top 3 neighborhoods. It is so important to find a broker who spends time with you whether on the phone or in person to understand your wants and needs before your appointment. Let me tell you, you will not get everything on your wishlist. I didn’t. I came up with 3 top wish list items that I knew I had to have (doorman, fairly new building, and decent sized kitchen). Since using a broker, I was able to see so many great apartments. I can sometimes be a very indecisive person so if anyone out there reading this is like me, do not be indecisive when selecting your apartment. There was an apartment that I really did like but I couldn’t pull the trigger because it was the 2nd apartment I saw that day and I wanted to see more. My broker advised me that if I loved it I should apply and show interest so I don’t lose it. At first I thought she was kidding and said “oh stop, that’s what every broker says” but boy was she correct. Miss Indecisive me didn’t listen to her advice and next thing you know we got the call a couple hours later that the apartment sold. Apartments here do not stay on the market long and I learned the hard way. Stuff like that happens and you have to accept it. If you love something, don’t hesitate. Go for it.

Now what?

Overall the day of apartment hunting was an exhausting and emotional experience but it was so rewarding when I signed on that dotted line and secured my NYC apartment. When you go through the process of securing an apartment keep these things in mind: you need a guarantor unless you are making 40x your rent. For example, if your rent is $2,000 a month you have to be making $80,000 a year. Also keep in mind that when you apply for an apartment is could be anywhere from $50-$200 to apply for the apartment. When you work with your broker, have your broker work with the building management/landlord and sign the longest lease possible. It is a huge decision and you may say “oh i don’t want to live here that long” but before you know it, you are all settled in your apartment and next thing you know, your lease is up and your building says “that’s sweet…we are raising your rent by $500 a month” and then next thing you HAVE to move because you can’t afford your apartment any longer. It’s a big commitment to sign a lease for say 2 years but it’s worth it. One last thing, keep in mind if you use a broker it is going to cost you. In NYC it is about 16-20% of your yearly rent. That can be anywhere from 1 month of rent to 3 months of rent depending on how much your apartment costs. Long story short, it is very expensive to secure an NYC apartment but when you are settled in, you can say that you finally did it… you live in NYC! *Insert Taylor Swift’s Welcome To New York*

Hope you all enjoyed this NYC apartment post and I hope it helped some of you who are ready to move to the Big Apple!


Thanks for reading Elle’s Edit. If you have any topics that you would like for me to discuss, feel free to email me at elle@thechampagneedit.com. I would love to hear from you! xo


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