Renting an apartment in New York City is super exciting, at first. Then you realize that you need a certain credit score to be an eligible renter, some of your paperwork is missing, or your annual income isn’t high enough to score your dream apartment.
The rental market in New York City is not like any other market in the world. We chatted with Triplemint’s Member Experience Manager Anne Richmond to find out how to overcome the biggest challenges first-time renters face in New York City. Read this before you even start your apartment search in the big city.
The Right Timing
“People get nervous about how hard the apartment search is going to be before they can even do anything about it. They start researching online way in advance and read all these horror stories about renting in New York, which only makes them more nervous,” says Anne Richmond, who spends her days talking to Triplemint clients, answering their questions, and matching them with the best agent for them.
So what’s the right time to start your NYC apartment search? Get in touch with an agent about a month in advance, advises Richmond. The market in New York moves extremely quickly, so listings don’t show up any earlier than that.
“The biggest difference between first-time renters in New York City and more experienced ones is that they’re much more hopeful,” observes Anne. “They’re still hoping that they might find a way around the exorbitant rents and broker fees.”
However, Anne says not all hope is lost, it’s all about finding the right agent to represent you. If you hit the market at the right time and aren’t afraid to let your agent negotiate, you might still find a great deal.
Finding the Right Agent
“When looking for an agent to find your perfect NYC apartment, make sure to check reviews online. You wouldn’t just go to any random doctor to get an important surgery done, right? The same applies to real estate,” states Anne. “The perfect agent is supposed to help you in any way possible, and make you feel good about the apartment search.”
Do your research and read as many reviews as you can. Find an agent that will represent you in the right way and help you make an informed decision. When you’ve found the perfect agent for you, you’re halfway there.
Once you and your agent have found your perfect apartment, you’ll need to overcome the hurdle of applying for the apartment with the landlord. You’ll be required to provide a ton of documentation to prove that you’re a reliable renter.
“In order to sign a lease, your credit score should be above 650 and your annual income should equal 40 times the monthly rent,” explains Anne. The former proves that you’re reliable and don’t have huge credit card debt, the latter demonstrates that you actually have the money to pay your rent.
Supporting documentation includes pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and rental records. As for your credit score, you can check it for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
However, if you’re a student, recent graduate, or on the job search, it’ll probably be hard for you to meet all the requirements, but that’s no reason to give up hope. “If you don’t meet the requirements, your best bet is a guarantor. He or she will be liable in case you cannot pay the rent,” says Anne. In order to be eligible, a guarantor must make 80 times your annual rent.
Even if you don’t have a guarantor, you might still be able to get the apartment. “In this case, you can offer to pay six months or a year of rent’s worth in advance,” suggests Anne.
Frank Sinatra’s famous line, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” seems to fit the NYC apartment search a little too well, but don’t be daunted by this list of challenges!
If you find an excellent agent, they’ll be able to find great apartment options for you, negotiate on your behalf, help you with your paperwork, and recommend great movers and settling-in companies.