Apartment hunting can be a tough job – for how many times have you called the owner just to find out the place had already been taken? Or what about the huge discrepancy between pictures and reality? We’ve all had our ups and downs when looking for an apartment and many of the issues we have dealt with were beyond of our control.
Nevertheless, apartment hunting can become a faster and more efficient process if you keep three major aspects in mind: timing, roommates, and paperwork.
Tips for Finding Your Right Apartment for Rent in New York
Here’s what you should know about each.
Always Take Into Consideration Timing
Timing depends a lot on how fast apartments go where you live. For instance, apartments in New York City are listed around four to five weeks before the move-in day. This time frame may be different for other rental markets, and you can only rely on personal experience and friends’ advice when it comes to apartment searches. Starting the search too soon means that all the places you are checking will probably be gone by the time you are planning to move, and starting too late is also a bad idea, because the new apartment may be available for moving in days after your previous tenancy ending date. Even the agents you will be working with will tell how difficult it is to predict apartment availability and will suggest a certain time frame for apartment hunting and rent applications.
You’ll also need to be fast and constantly check offers if you are looking for great deals. The best apartments, at the most convenient prices, disappear immediately after hitting the market.
If you find it hard to synchronize your schedule with rental market fluctuations, you may consider a short-term rental that you’ll keep until the apartment hunting is ready and you have found a place you are satisfied with. Matching moving-out and moving-in dates can be nerve-racking, so why not eliminate this major impediment?
Another thing you should think about is the time of the year when you search for an apartment – this may have a major influence on the rent payment and on the range of available offers. Of course, you will find more deals in the summer, but prices and competition tend to be higher then. Looking for an apartment from October to March can help you get a better deal, because fewer people are looking to move at that time of the year.
Consider Roommates Situation
If you are renting an apartment for the first time and you don’t have a family yet, chances are you’ll be sharing the space with a roommate.
The apartment hunting process is often the first test of trustworthiness your roommate(s) will take. It’s important that you confirm your roommates ahead of time so they can prepare the required documentation and not cause delays. If you didn’t have too much trouble collaborating to secure the apartment, chances of getting on well afterwards are higher.
Smart tip: always bring roommates along when you check out a place. Not looking at rentals together and visiting the place separately may lead to misunderstandings and you won’t be able to talk about it together. Moreover, in a competitive job market you may not have enough time at your disposal to check an apartment several times, and by the time your roommate makes his or her decision, the place may already be taken.
Last but not least, make sure your roommate is a responsible person who will not turn your life into a nightmare. Many people choose to move in with their best friends, but this solution may not work very well for everyone – you may get on very well when you go out together or talk on the phone, but things may change when it comes to respecting the weekly cleaning schedule or splitting bills. The best option is looking for a pal you have several things in common with and dividing responsibilities from the very beginning. If you don’t get on well together, at least you won’t be losing your best friend.
The worst thing that can happen is your roommate not paying his or her share of the rent; depending on the rental contract you have signed, all parties may be in violation of the lease and face the risk of eviction, even if they are paying their share.
Be Prepare to File Your Paperwork
If you are renting a place from an independent owner, paperwork should not represent a major issue. These landlords may not even run a credit check and rent you the place on trust.
Things are completely different with large property management companies, though. They often follow very strict corporate guidelines and your application will be rejected if you don’t provide all the documents required by the landlord.
Landlords usually ask you to provide the following documents: photo, employment letter, copies of your last two pay-stubs, copies of your last two tax returns, copies of last three bank statements, copies of last two W2 forms, reference letters, and contact information.
There are some other tips that landlords don’t share with you when asking for documentation, though:
- Bring a copy of your credit report when visiting the apartment – this may allow you to secure the apartment right on the spot
- Even if it’s not compulsory, always have a reference letter prepared beforehand – this may represent your biggest competitive advantage
- Take your checkbook with you when negotiating with the landlord – by providing a security deposit immediately, the apartment will be yours
- Get everything in writing, from allowing pets to the landlord’s promise to fix the leaky sink in the bathroom. In case you get in disagreement with the landlord, taking the right documentation out will help you win the case.
Carefully devising your apartment hunting strategy can be a lifesaver and prevent unpleasant situations like being evicted, fighting with your roommate every day, or always having your favorite apartment taken by another applicant. How strictly do you usually plan your apartment search and has careful organization helped you to secure the right place?
Finding your ideal rental property can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’d like to assist you!