Finding a rental apartment in NYC is a daunting task at the best of times.
When you want to stick to a tight budget, it’s even more of a challenge. Let’s go step by step through the process and consider ways to get the best possible deal for your money.
Avoid broker’s fees
It’s a no-brainer. When you’re hunting online for your ideal rental apartment, limit your selection to ‘no-fee searches. This means that the broker won’t be charging you for the privilege of renting you an apartment that will earn them a commission from the owner.
Choose your area
Next priority is to choose an area that has all the facilities you need, but won’t break your budget. Public transportation in NYC is reliable and inexpensive, so you may be able to save a lot by moving further out, and commuting to the city center. For example, while the average price of a 1-bedroom apartment in downtown Manhattan is $3450, in East Village it drops to $2995, and in Long Island City, where it’s $2895. That represents a saving of over $500 per month. Think about what you could spend $6000 per year on.
Choose your location
Cut rental costs by selecting an apartment on a higher floor, which, although less convenient, will typically be cheaper. In the same way, if the building is close to the subway access point, the rent will be higher, so go for something which is a few minutes walk away. You’ll benefit from the daily exercise as well as the lower rental.
Be realistic about what’s essential for you. Don’t pay a premium for security, or even an elevator if you can easily live without them.
Consider going bigger
It’s a fact that larger apartments tend to be cheaper, per bedroom. Would it be worth taking something larger, and sharing expenses with a couple of others? Of course, you’d have to be ready to make some compromises in a shared space, but choose your companions carefully and you could save even more cash.
Also, think about ensuring you have enough space to create a functional home office, for yourself and possibly others to use in these changing times. If you can work from home you’ll save money on commuting and eating out, so factor that into your cost/benefit equation.
Access free stuff
Once you’ve moved into your new apartment, keep on finding ways to save money. Why invest in new furniture? Around the end of each month, when people tend to move out of apartments, you’ll find great free furniture on the streets. Newsletters such as TimeOut New York contain a wealth of information about free events and activities. Why pay for a gym membership when there are hundreds of opportunities to work out for free in amazing locations across the city? Join a MeetUp group to find new friends who share your interests (and your budget).
The key is simply to use your creativity (plus the cash you’ve saved with your savvy rental strategy) to make the most of every moment living in the greatest city in the world!