Moving sucks. Don’t get me wrong — the end result is (hopefully) awesome, but the process is long, hard, sweaty and filled with annoyances. When I first moved to New York, it was my first time picking out my own place and living completely on my own (well, with a roommate). I had no idea what made a neighborhood desirable, what to look for or ask about — I literally had no frame of reference.
Fast forward a year later…I definitely needed to move again. This time, after living in the city for a year, I knew exactly what I wanted. Since the majority of New Yorkers rent, it’s not as stressful because you’re not making a huge investment that has the potential to go wrong. You aren’t responsible for the maintenance and upkeep that owning your own place requires. With so much real estate, so little space, and people dying to get their hands on the best space they can afford, the search for the perfect apartment in New York can be brutal.
Here are some things I learned the hard way:
- Location is super important! Especially in New York City. Rental prices vary immensely depending on what part of the city you live in. Make sure to do research about commuting time and your accessibility to the subway. No one likes a long walk to the train, especially in the grueling summer months and freezing winter months.
- A good building management team makes all the difference. If you find the building of your dreams but find out that they never fix broken windows or overflowing toilets, it’s eventually going to become a problem. Talk to other people in the building if you can, or check out their reputation online.
- Safety first. My first apartment did not have a doorman. And there’s nothing wrong with not having a doorman in your building. But I often noticed that even with a locked entry, many people could slip in behind someone else. Now that I do live in a doorman building, I always feel safe, I know that not only is my physical safety well protected, but so are my belongings. I also live in a very safe neighborhood. Even if I have to walk home late at night, I don’t feel uneasy.
- Appliances can be a help or a hindrance. Not all city apartments come with all the appliances you tend to find in a house. My first apartment didn’t have a dishwasher. Prioritize what amenities you can or cannot live without. Check to see where the laundry room resides in your building. Will it be annoying to walk up and down six floors to do laundry every week? Are the machines always full? These are some of the things you should consider before making a decision.
- Utilities can make or break a good rental. Sometimes utilities are included in your monthly rent and sometimes they are not. Depending on how much time you spend online or watching TV or cranking up the AC, it can tack on a lot of extra expenses to your bills. Unfortunately, New Yorkers are notorious for complaining about their cable and internet service. So when moving, it’s always wise to scout out what providers are available in your building because you don’t want to get stuck with a dud. Verizon FiOS provides unparalleled coverage and fast speeds thanks to their fiber optic network. Plus, they have great moving tips that will help you before, during and after your move.
- Do your research. In addition to all of these things you need to be on the lookout for, you also need to see if there are any future projects in the works in your area. A lot of Brooklynites were dismayed to learn that the L train will be shut down soon. There is always construction in the city and if noise bothers you, you should definitely be aware of any new buildings going up in your area that might make a lot of noise, mess or block your views.
It all can seem a bit overwhelming, especially with so many things to take into account. Plus, you have to grab a place you like quickly before someone else scoops it up! Just remember – if you find a great place that you love, you won’t have to go through this whole process again!
Disclosure: I have been compensated for this article. My opinions are my own.
Twisted Talk: What do you find most stressful about moving? Are there any tips you think I should have included in my list? Discuss below!