So You Want To Move To NYC?

July 9, 2014  |  

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There’s no place like NYC but moving here can be a beast. If you have dreams of living it up in the city of bright lights like a character off “Sex and the City” there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Brokers’ Fees / Application fees

Most apartments require a credit check and background check. That will run you about $30-$50 per application. If you use a broker, find out their fees before you fall in love with an apartment. Brokers’ fees are the cost you pay to the person that shows you the apartment and helps you go through the paperwork.  Most apartments have a broker. The Broker does the work which is why the owner of the building enlists their services. Unless the apartment is listed as “no fee” there is a broker’s fee. This is usually 10-15% of the ANNUAL rent. An apartment that costs $1,300 a month costs $15,600 annually ($1300 x 12) which means your broker’s fee would be $1,560 – $2,340 IN ADDITION to your first month’s rent and a security deposit of one month’s rent. Which makes your total move in cost (1st months + security + broker’s fee)  4,160 – $4,940. Rough.

Getting the apartment – Time is a factor!

If you plan to move July 1, you can’t start looking for an actual apartment until June. Apartments go within the same day sometimes. You might catch a listing and by the time you call that afternoon the apartment is rented. You’ll need to have your money ready (via money order or cashier’s check) and your documents (copy of your ID, bank statements, application, copy of tax return, etc) in a packet ready to go so that if you love an apartment you can apply within 24 – 48 hours. Unlike other cities, there aren’t many places you can apply months in advance. To save yourself time, go visit different neighborhoods during the day and at night to decide the area you want to live in. Once you have the area narrowed down, when it’s closer to the time for you to move, you can use sites like Pad Mapper and Naked Apartments  to search the area for what’s available.

What’s nearby? Do you reallllly want a car?

Do you have to take the bus to get to the train? Will it take you two hours to get to work? These are all factors you want to consider when moving. The closer you are to the train line the more expensive the rent but sometimes you are paying for convenience. Use an app like HopStop to check your potential apartment address with your work address. The app will tell you the route you’ll have to take and the estimated time. You should walk around the neighborhood. Is there a laundry mat nearby? A real grocery store and not a bodega? Look for the type of things you’ll need weekly and remember this is a walking/train/bus city. You want to be nearby to something you use frequently.

Keeping the car is a matter of personal preference. But most neighborhoods have alternate day street parking. That means you will be moving your car every day from one side of the street to the other so that the street sweepers (boom boom baby) can come by and clean. Or you’re paying to house your car in a garage each day. You really can get 90% of places on the train or bus. But if having a car is a big deal to you, then you’ll want to search for a neighborhood with parking or without alternate street parking.

Utilities & Bills

Heat and hot water come pretty standard for most buildings as part of your rent. However, there are a few that don’t offer this which could significantly increase your monthly bills. It’s cold 80% of the time here and you want to factor in your heating bill before you pick a place where heat / hot water aren’t included. You can call National Grid (the gas company) or ConEd (the electric company) and find out how much the bills were throughout the cold season for the last tenant to help give you an idea of the cost. Moving to NYC also comes with new bills! Your monthly metro pass ($100+) is one. You also want to factor in that everything costs more here. A bottle of shampoo at Target in a smaller city at may be $4.00 but here it’s $6.50. Things are expensive. And of course your new “fun” bill. Living in NYC there is always something to do so consider you may spend a bit more on fun activities.

Use your network

No one can tell you where to live or what borough is best for you. You’ll need to hang out and explore each borough to figure out where you might want to live. Exploring is the key to finding a place that fits you. When you do go out looking, be sure to take someone that has lived in the city for a while. He or she may know the some key factors about the neighborhood (like the park that’s so pretty in the daytime is a bit too popping at night for you to walk home safely) that could save you a headache down the line.

The last thing to keep in mind is that although this is a hard, cold and hectic city, it’s the most amazing city to live in even for a little while. Random free concerts by your favorite artists, endless food options even at 3 am, culture, parties, arts and anything else you’re into is all here somewhere. Living in NYC isn’t always easy but it’s an experience you can’t trade. If you’ve always wanted to do it, keep these few tips and tricks in mind and make the jump! You never know if it’s the best decision you’ll ever make.

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