Thursday, October 04, 2007

Housing in New York City

I recently received a question from a reader regarding the ease or difficulty of finding an apartment in NYC. Well, frankly, it's not easy, and is probably more difficult than any place else in the US.

Some recommendations as a current renter who has had to do the NYC apartment hunt a couple times now:

1) Have your affairs in order before you start looking. In other words, make sure you have enough money for your security deposit, and a couple months rent. I know it sounds like alot, but there are plenty of landlords who require this much money up front. You could easily expect to pay upwards of $2000/month for a rental 1-bedroom apartment, and certainly more in some neighborhoods. Columbia housing will likely be cheaper than options on the open market, but I know it's tough to get.

1a) Have copies of bank statements, etc ready so you can show the landlord (if they ask) that you have a decent financial position. If you don't they may ask for someone to act as a guarantor. This is why #2 can potentially be appealing, because you won't be dealing directly with a landlord or management company.

2) Think aboout hopping on someone else's lease who already lives in the city. You could try to find someone who has a roomate moving out and try to move in with them. Craigslist is a good source for this sort of thing, and there are probably others.

3) If you use a broker, try to get a recommendation from someone in the city. Also, expect to pay them 12-15% of your first year's rent.

4) If you don't use a broker, be prepared to make a decision on a place literally when you see it. Apartments that are listed direct-from-owner tend to go within a couple days of the listing. I have heard numerous stories over the years about apartments going same-day. You snooze you lose. This is another great time to bring a friend from NYC around with you (if you have one here already) who can help you evaluate if a place is decent or not.

The good news is, eventually everyone does find a place. So don't sweat it too much, but be prepared to hustle around, see lots of places, and spend some money. After all, it's not your money you're spending, it's loan money :)


Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your efforts to keep your blog up to date. Your efforts to respond to comments on time are really commendable.

By the way, could you please shed light on your experience with CBS's Kroll process? How much time did the process take and what exactly was being checked?

I am a current admit to CBS-J term and one of my recommenders has left for maternity leave for next 4 months. I wonder what would be Kroll’s reaction to this. I might get the cell number of my recommender but I still do not know whether I should convey this new information to CBS admissions committee or to Kroll directly? CBS has asked students not to log into Kroll’s website prior to October 15? Hence all this speculation!

Does CBS ask Kroll to check the recent employer only? Although my latest job is in US, my first job was in an emerging country where human resources practices are still not established and I am afraid that Kroll might not be able to confirm much if any? Does the process take months, weeks or days? Your comments would be highly appreciated.

John said...

Kroll was interesting. After being admitted I filled out the online form and I don't remember hearing anything. Then about 2 months into school, a bunch of folks from my cluster got emails from Kroll saying 'Congrats, you came back clean' (or something to that effect. So, I imagine the checking isn't completed until after you enroll. But that is speculation, I'd ask admissions if you want an official answer.

Regarding your recommender, I would just drop the adcom a note and let them know the situation. They are pretty understanding about that stuff (I had some updates as well).

In short, just be honest and you will not have problems with the background check.