Every Summer, masses of new college graduates move to New York City to begin new careers in the world’s most exciting city; and finding an apartment, a notoriously difficult task, is the first item on their checklist. Technology-driven real estate company Urban Compass was founded to solve just this problem. With an easy website and app that puts every bit of apartment-search information at one’s fingertips, along with the knowledge of an experienced agent, renters are able to move at lightning speed to find that perfect apartment.
Some of Urban Compass’s Top Ten Tips include the following:
• Be overly prepared. Have all of your necessary paperwork on you at all times, keep a backup set on a thumb drive or in an email. If you have roommates, whoever is out looking should have everyone’s paperwork.
• If you are unsure of where you want to live and where the best deals are, spend time in different neighborhoods every chance you get. Make sure you see businesses close by that are important to you; for some people it’s a grocery store, for others it’s a gym.
• Smart budgeting makes a difference if the apartment you love costs $150 a month more than the apartment that “will do.” Don’t settle; just make coffee at home, live without premium cable or reconsider buying a new pair of jeans.
“With less than a 2% vacancy rate currently in Manhattan, it’s rare for an amazing apartment to stay on the market for even a day,” said Jason Saft, a top agent and director of landlord services at Urban Compass. “Urban Compass has the technology to minimize time spent looking for an apartment, while maximizing the information right in the palm of your hand; we can even sign a rental agreement right on an iPad. Advance preparation and attention to detail can absolutely make the difference when finding your dream apartment.”
Top Ten Tips for Recent Grads Moving to NYC:
1. If you are coming to visit NYC, plan your trip wisely. While you may be free on Saturday and Sunday, many apartments will only show Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Plan to spend part of the week and weekend apartment hunting.
2. Be overly prepared. Have all of your paperwork on you at all times, keep a backup set on a thumb drive or in an email. If you have roommates, whoever is out looking should have everyone’s paperwork. Your paperwork should include a photo ID, letter from employer stating position, salary and length of employment. Then, remember the rule of two’s: also bring your last two pay stubs, two months bank statements and two years tax returns, as well as two personal reference letters.
3. If you are unsure of where you want to live and where the best deals are, spend time in different neighborhoods every chance you get. If you are curious about an area, have dinner with friends in that area. Make sure you see businesses close by that are important to you; for some people it’s a grocery store, for others it’s a gym.
4. Use the power of social media for good: ask friends for recommendations on neighborhoods, buildings and broker referrals.
5. Know your formulas: Landlords expect to see that you earn 40 to 50 times the monthly rent, and many landlords require a guarantor for new grads with no housing history in NYC, ie: someone who can vouch for you. Here are some basic formulas to keep in mind:
No guarantor: Would require 40 to 50 times the monthly rent. If your rent is $2,000, expect to show an income of $80,000 – $100,000 a year.
Guarantor: Would require 80 to 90 times the monthly rent. If your rent is $2000, the landlord will expect to see the guarantor makes $160,000 – $180,000 a year.
6. Use a trusted and knowledgeable broker. Some people don’t want to pay a broker’s fee. This is totally understandable! Just keep in mind that having a good broker on your side means you have an inside track into the inventory, including apartments that haven’t even been listed yet through that brokers connections with management companies. A good broker will work on your behalf to get you the best deal and will help guide you to a home that works for you and within your budget.
7. Always look a little bit above and below your budget. If you are here for a short period of time, don’t waste time by not viewing possible options if they are slightly over budget. Good apartments go quickly and you should view as much as possible while you are here.
8. Smart budgeting makes a difference if the apartment you love costs $150 a month more than the apartment that “will do.” Don’t settle; just make coffee at home, live without premium cable or reconsider buying a new pair of jeans.
9. Keep your options open. Summer is the busiest season for apartment rentals in NYC. You may not get your first choice. You should always have at least one back up option.
10. Ask about fees and costs before you apply. Some landlords ask for first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a one-month security deposit (equal to one month’s rent); others ask for first month’s rent and security only. For new hires or if you have credit issues, they may ask for more security. Don’t forget to find out who pays for heat, hot water, electric, how much is the credit check and what the broker fee will be.
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