Apartment Hunt

  • If you're on the fence, get a sublet for short amount of time so you can come and see if moving here is the right option for you.

    • They are short term so if you don’t like the place or city, you don’t have to commit to a long lease.

    • Often sublets are fully furnished so you can focus on life adjustment and job searching.

  • Location discrimination is real - If you don't live in the city, avoid putting your direct address or mentioning your location unless you have to.

  • Consider living at home for a year to save money.

    • If you have the option and the headspace, you could live at home and work a part-time job, or find a job nearby.

  • Pick a date to get a part time job if you cannot get a fulltime job.

    • Always have a back up plan in place, even if you are certain that you'll get a full time job. Having a hard deadline looming will motivate you to find a full time job or freelance opportunities. A part time filler job will also serve as a source of income.

Photo by  Waqas Saeed  on  Unsplash

Photo by Waqas Saeed on Unsplash

Look at your bank account.

  • If apartment searching with someone, have an actual conversation about your priorities and deal breakers for an apartment.

    • Make a list privately so you're not swayed by their preferences and then compare.

    • For example, if your top priority is being near a certain train, you have to let the other person know.

    • Be honest. Don’t just give in to a quality of the apartment if you hate it.

  • Some things to consider when apartment hunting:

    • Price

    • Size

    • Parking

    • Inclusive to utilities

    • Proximity to train, grocery stores, restaurants, laundry

    • Family neighborhood

    • Do you feel safe?

  • Don’t settle on the first few places you find just because you’re desperate to have a place to live.

    • It would be a shame if you signed a one year lease and realized being a 25 minute walk from the train was a dealbreaker.

  • Stop being overly picky looking for “the perfect place” because the best place probably isn’t in your budget.

    • On the flip side of the previous bullet, if you’ve looked at 20+ places and none of them are fitting the bill, you should take a deeper look at why you don’t like them.

    • Do you need to adjust your search criteria? Look in a new area?

    • Go back to your core goals for your apartment and see if anything you’ve seen fits that, and consider why you might not have liked it.

    • Keep in mind, if you move to a city, most likely the monthly rent will cost more than your college apartment, especially if you shared with many people.

  • Have someone visit the apartment before signing to make sure its real, not gonna fall apart in 2 minutes, and you're not getting scammed.

    • If you or your roommate can't go, have a friend seek it out.

    • It's fairly easy to get an apartment once you're in the location, so you might have to see several, but it's super important that someone sees the apartment in real life before committing.

  • If you’re unsure of making the leap to move, do a trial run - Grab a sublet for a month or a few.

    • Sublets are everywhere, in all shapes and forms. You can get a good feel of neighborhoods you would want to live in, how many roommates you can deal with, and get into the feel of living the city.

    • Sublets are not a big commitment because they are typically shorter term.

    • You don’t have to find roommates to fill a lease because usually someone is just looking to occupy a space in their place.

    • Sublets are usually furnished because it is someone else’s space.

    • You can check Facebook groups to find these.

  • Make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the places you’ve looked at and your opinion of them.

    • After seeing many places, they will all start to meld together into one memory.

    • Write down your pros and cons in a spreadsheet after seeing a place so it stays fresh.

  • Take photos on your tour.

    • This will make it easier to reference different places and keep notes about your opinions.

  • If you sign halfway through a month, push to get your cost prorated.

    • Pro-rating means that you only pay for the time you’ve spent, so per day, rather than per month.

  • If you don't have a roommate lined up, be open to a "random" roommate.

    • They are a lot of great people out there and also remember its temporary.

    • You just need to make sure you're safe and they will respect you and your stuff.

    • Video chat, grab coffee, see if you have mutual friends via FB you could ask.

    • You'll save ALOT of money by living with someone, but also no judgement if you do want to live alone.

    • Apps like Roomi can be helpful.

  • Add yourself to many facebook groups for NYC apartments.

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  • When you sign, you NEED to read the whole contract.

    • There could be mistakes that were unintentional but could cost you money.

  • Use multiple search engines to look for apartments.

Questions to ask when apartment hunting:

  • What is the cost to move in?

    • Many places require security deposits, first and last month's rent.

  • Do you require renters insurance?

  • Are utilities included?

    • This varies a lot among apartments and rent agreements. For example, some apartments include heat or water, but not electricity and wifi.

  • How do I submit payment each month?

    • Check in the mail, or online?

  • Does the renter take care of repairs and maintenance costs, or do I?

  • Is there parking nearby?

  • What is the pet policy?

  • Under what circumstances can the lease be terminated?

  • How does trash and recycling removal work?

  • Where is the closest transportation?

  • What’s the application screening process?

  • Is there roof access?

  • What is the guest policy?

  • Where is the nearest laundromat?

  • What’s the process like to make maintenance repairs?

  • How soon is the landlord looking to fill?

  • When is earliest move in?

  • What’s your late fee policy?

  • How much notice do you give when a representative comes to the property?

  • Do you require renters insurance?

  • What’s your subletting policy?