Your Guide to Apartment Hunting in NYC
Here is your guide to finding a livable, affordable apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I found a killer studio apartment in Chelsea for less than $2,000 a month - here’s how.
After accepting my job, I had a little over a month to move to New York City. Needing to find a place to live, I realized I also needed furniture and a location that was near my office - it seemed like an impossible task.
Being from Minnesota, there were so many things I never had to think of before that were essential to consider when looking for a place in NYC: laundry, the subway and elevator/doorman buildings vs. a walkup.
In July, the city was returning slightly back to normal, which meant people were returning and inventory was low. It was difficult for me to find a place, especially one I could afford. I began by looking for available rooms instead of available units. I joined a few Facebook groups and created a profile on Roomies.
These are the Facebook groups I joined before moving to NYC: NYC Sublets & Apartments, New York City Housing, Rooms, Apartments, Sublets and Young Females: New York City, NYC-Apartments, Sublets, Roommates. There are a good amount of Facebook groups for finding New York City apartments, sublets and open rooms - just make sure you don’t get scammed - ask for a lease agreement and don’t pay anyone until you have proof that the unit exists and is actually available.
Roomies is a platform that can help you match with potential roommates, but it also lists available rooms.. This is how I found my first room in New York City. I was renting a room in a 3 bed/1 bath apartment in a building with a doorman and elevator, with laundry in the building, on Park Avenue for $1,400 a month. Not only were the amenities and the rent great, but the apartment was walking distance to my office. It seemed too good to be true. Unfortunately, it was. Long story short, the random roommate situation was a disaster and after being there for two months, I needed to leave.
So with one month to move out of my current room, I needed to find a place still near my office that I could afford. I was willing to sacrifice the amenities for a place that I felt comfortable living in. It was crunch time. I began searching every site to see what was available.
The websites I used were StreetEasy, Apartments.com, Zillow, Roomies, June Homes, SpareRoom and Facebook. I highly recommend diligently scouring all of these when apartment hunting in the City.
You may not be familiar with all of the sites listed above but you need to be. Each of these were important in my apartment search. StreetEasy, Apartments.com and Zillow are three real estate websites that are easy to use and are equally as helpful. You can search by location, number of bed/bath, monthly rent amount, etc.
Roomies and SpareRoom are two platforms that can help you find compatible roommates as well as open rooms throughout the city. I actually paid the subscription fee for SpareRoom so I was able to contact new listings immediately. I was desperate so the subscription fee felt necessary.
June Homes is a great website for those of you who are looking for an easy, move-in ready apartment. They use a subscription service so on top of your rent, you pay a monthly fee that includes home supplies and necessities! It is great for a busy professional and all of their rooms come furnished or you can pay an extra fee to have them furnished! While June Homes can be pricey, I highly recommend checking out the site to see if there are any available rooms or units in the area you are interested in. It is the best option for people who are new to the city and may not have furniture and other things. Another huge bonus about this site is that most of their units include in-unit laundry which is typically unheard of in New York City.
If you are serious about finding a roommate or finding a place to live, these sites are going to become vital to your search. Don’t be afraid to look at all available options. I have hunted down real estate agents, I have sent endless emails inquiring about available rooms - do what you need to do to find a space that you like and one that you can afford.
I found my current studio in Chelsea using StreetEasy. I will admit it is a hidden gem - newly renovated, stainless steel appliances, full bathroom and a view of the Empire State building for only $1,600 a month. It’s a rarity to find a studio in this location for this price, but I am proof that it can happen - you just have to be willing to look for it.