Press Releases

5 TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR FIRST NEW YORK APARTMENT

by Caitlin Kelly, DNA Info
Date Publish: Monday May 2, 2016

When you’re looking for an apartment in New York City, you’re facing one of the more complicated markets in the country.

“Be prepared,” warns Pavlina Prokesova, president of Caliber Associates, a New York City firm with 100 agents that specializes in rentals, no-fee apartments and sales of luxury condominiums and co-ops. It’s essential to “have documents ready, know your budget and your moving date,” she adds.

If you’re wading into the city’s real estate market for the first time, here’s what you should know.

Understand BLT

While a BLT in most places means a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, here a BLT means the three documents every would-be renter needs: your bank statement, letter of employment and tax return. It’s smart to have your credit score in hand as well, something many building owners will expect.

Be Prepared to Measure

Unlike some other cities, New York apartments can be very small, so don’t forget to bring a tape measure — and make sure that your bed, sofa and other furniture will fit the rooms. Measure the width of every doorway, as well.

Make Multiple Visits

Be sure to visit your potential new home at different hours of the day — maybe you didn’t notice the playground across the street or the bar four flights below. This will help you get a feel for the neighborhood and your potential neighbors. If you see something you don’t like during one of your visits, it’ll help you make an informed decision about whether you can actually live there.

Scope Out the Amenities

Depending on your budget, some buildings offer a wide range of amenities. “Some services are definitely amazing,” Prokesova says. “One of my favorites is a dog gym. On-site babysitting, pools and spas are also available in some properties.”

International Renters: Be Overly Prepared

Prokesova, whose 11-year-old agency offers rentals in Manhattan, Long Island City and Roosevelt Island, works with 90 percent of landlords in Manhattan. Caliber Associates also helps international students who are relocating to the city. These clients should have several months’ worth of bank statements, a copy of their visa and passport and proof of enrollment or their reason for being in the country.

And as a general rule, anyone who wants to rent in the city should have an annual income of at least 40 times the monthly rent. However, some landlords may seek income above this threshold. All this takes time, so Prokesova advises that renters start their search 45 days ahead of when they want to move in.

She says New York City’s real estate market is challenging for long-time residents and newbies alike, but first-timers should consider working with an agent.

“Outsiders, Prokesova says, “need guidance.”