You have a small family and because of work, you relocating to New York. The big apple holds a lot of promise for a better future for your little family so you are jumping at the opportunity. You have readied your brood and you have packed your bags. Do you already have a place to stay once you get there? It is best if you have relatives or friends who can help you out there. But if you are completely on your own, here are some tips for apartment hunting in NYC for a small family.
Practical Tips for Apartment Hunting in NYC
First things first. Let’s define a small family. It is a family with a couple or just a single parent but where there is a maximum of two young children. With different ages and needs, the residence that you should transfer to should be able to make the whole family feel comfortable and safe. The apartment should also be near necessities.
And yes, your new residence is most likely an apartment when in New York. More than half of the population in the state are living in apartment buildings because there are just so many people. Real estate prices are high and there is not much space left.
Going further, here are some tips for apartment hunting in NYC for your little family.
Set Your Rent Budget
You have to consider that living in New York City is more costly than when in other cities. So much so that your apartment rental could possibly cost 2-3x higher than your current mortgage. A good portion of your disposable cash may likely end up going straight to rent.
The generally accepted rule is that no more than a third of your annual income should go toward your housing costs. With that said, you will need to compute this against your projected salary in the new company. If you are going to pay more than 30% of your annual salary, then you are officially “rent-burdened”.
Moreover, most New York City landlords only approve renters with a gross annual income that is about 40 times the monthly rent. They want to make sure that you can really pay up the rent despite the high cost of living in this upscale city.
Find a Suitable Neighborhood
When picking a place to live for your small family, you are not just thinking about your proximity to your workplace. There are schools to think of and of course, open spaces like playgrounds and parks for your children to play and explore.
NYC is the most fast-paced city in the world and that is the reason why it is called the city that never sleeps. Do you want to be surrounded by the action or would you rather come home to peace and quiet? Since parking is a problem and can be very expensive in New York, most people take the subway. This goes without saying that quiet residential areas are rather far from public transport, which should be taken into consideration.
When you have found a suitable residence, it is up to you to spruce up the place and make the living areas cozy for the family.
Broaden Your Apartment Search
The best way to go about your search is to go online. There are many sites and apps that can help you with your apartment hunting in NYC. One such online apartment search resource is Zumper.
Zumper is used by millions of apartment hunters in order to find suitable places to live. The best thing is, you can do most of your transactions within the app, such as rental applications and credit screening. You can find quality listings there as well as availability because their inventory gets updated in real-time.
If you are not happy with your current place, you can activate notifications so that you will get alerts on new listings.
Check Out the Place
Never close a deal on a rental property that you have not personally visited. So if you are new in the city, you will have to let your little family stay in a transient place while you visit the sites of your potential apartment. Make sure that you are already in the city at least two weeks before you start reporting for work so you have time to look around and familiarize yourself.
Visit every rental property that you’re considering so that you can see if the property is the same in the listing. You can also check the place for dealbreakers like signs of water damage, mold, or vermin. Or at least you can be prepared if you need to have something fixed.
During the visit, take the time to check out the neighborhood, the other tenants, and the public spaces around. If the property poses more problems than solutions, go with your gut. You still have to face a lot of adjustments in the workplace and dealing with your apartment problems should not interfere with your new job.
Have Your Pertinent Documents Ready
Now that you have found your dream apartment, it is time to submit your application. But since prime New York apartments can be gone in just a fleeting moment, make sure that your necessary documents are at hand. What you need are:
- Photo ID (driver’s license or passport)
- Letter of employment on company letterhead that states your salary and starting date
Know Your Rights as a Tenant in NYC
One important reminder, know your rights as a tenant in NYC before you sign a lease contract. Make sure that you read about the laws for apartment dwellers before moving to the big city. This way, you are protected from landlords that specialize in shady dealings, ridiculous hidden charges from fine prints, home repairs, and such.
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Meanwhile, if you are going stay in a rent-stabilized place, be sure you that know the rules in these buildings, too.
Apartment hunting in NYC only gets hard because there are too many people who want to work and live there. That is why good apartments go away fast. Plus, there are also landlords who want to take advantage of the demand. But if you have done your research, you are better prepared with what lies ahead.
Good luck on your new family life in New York City!