Finding an apartment back home was pretty easy-peasy. You go to the one closest to school, with the nicest pool of course and your dad pays your rent! It’s fab! Here, its difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Those cool apartments with the nice pools are now like $4,000 a month and you live with 5 other people. Also, you have to make like at least 50K, send a letter from your work saying “hey she works here or whatever,” have good credit, and also give them your soul as collateral. Don’t wanna do that? Same! Now you’re gonna have to work to find a place and it is not fun.
My first time around looking for a place did not go as planned. I waited until about two weeks before I had to move before I started looking, first mistake. I would say you need to start looking AT LEAST 1 month before you wanna move, maybe even more. That’s the first tip:
- Start looking as early as possible in order to weed out the prison-cell-looking places and get something decent.
That’s the other thing I learned very quickly in NYC: people live in the scariest looking places for thousands of dollars a month. I can’t tell you how many places I walked into, just to walk right out and “nope” really hard. Everyone wants to be in this city, so people are basically willing to live anywhere. I, am a diva, and I like to live in a nice, cute spot that’s decorated and smells nice. Also, I don’t wanna pay over budget or live with 5 people and 1 bathroom. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope, guess again my naive friend! This is why I looked early.
Despite this, I still didn’t follow another very crucial rule:
2. If you find a place you actually like, jump on it immediately.
I found an amazing place that was basically a studio for amazingly cheap, but held back cause it was slightly more than I wanted to pay. Waited mere hours before taking it and someone had taken it immediately after seeing it. That’s the thing about NYC: shit moves FAST. If there’s an amazing place, chances are there’s at least 10 other people looking at it so lock it down if you love it. I’m still bitter I lost that place, low-key.
I read this one bloggers tips for finding a place and she couldn’t have been more out of touch (no offense). She suggested a bunch of sites like Street Easy and “just ask the doorman!” This is sound advice if you make 40x the rent of whatever your looking at, have a roommate already (or living with your S/O) or if you have someone to co-sign. I had none of these being that I don’t make a lot, I knew about 3 people and none of them were looking to move and my dad doesn’t live in New York and for some reason that’s sketchy and they don’t want you. My next tip would be:
3. Join Facebook groups that post apartments for sublease, they’re probably your best resource for good places.
I used Gypsy Housing to find the place I have now. Craigslist is also a good source. Unlike in the South, its not a sketch-zone and you usually get normal people just trying to sell stuff. You do have a few sketchy people on any site, I won’t lie, but go with your gut. If something feels off, don’t sign or give anyone any money.
I’ve now lived in three different apartments in less than a year and one of the most important things I learned was this:
4. Find a place you feel comfortable, not just somewhere to sleep.
This can be pretty hard in the city, considering you never really know what you’re gonna get with a place. My first place here was one I definitely couldn’t wait to get out of, so I’m glad it was just an Airbnb. Try to find a place you can make your own, and people who don’t drive you insane to live with.
My moral here: NYC is a stressful city. It’s loud, cold half of the time, smells weird and people are everywhere. You have to have somewhere that you can relax, de-stress, and curl up in a head blanket with a cookie when times are rough. It can take some time to find it, but it’s worth investing in.