Q. Hi Jordan,
First off, I love your blog! I was wondering if you had any apartment-search tips. My boyfriend and I are looking for a place in Brooklyn and keep hitting dead ends. We are following Craigslist, but I was wondering if you knew any other services or sites. We also checked out Rapid Realty and RDNY, but a lot of places mention they could be scams . We are willing to look into a Realtor, but are trying to gather the best recommendations we can.
If not, no worries. Figured I would give it a shot!
All the best,
A. Hi Erika!
First, I seriously would suggest at least considering the UES – it is sooo much cheaper than you’d expect (you wouldn’t believe what we pay for our 2-bedroom), and almost-sort-of as fun as Brooklyn (really). Also, you’d be my neighbor, so there’s a plus Next, this Time Out NY article I wrote on UES apts under $2000 might be helpful regardless of where in the city you’re looking.
My #1 tip is to avoid brokers at all costs, of course, because you don’t want to pay fees if you don’t have to. When I first moved back to the city (that’s my old apartment on moving-out day pictured above), I ended up shelling out something like 7 grand just to get in the door of an apartment between deposits and fees, which was insane and totally unmanageable, and not something I’d ever ever ever do again. To avoid this situation, I’d suggest going directly to management companies in areas you love and seeing what they have available (that’s what we did, working on the recommendation of a friend who lived in the building we wanted to get into). Bettina Equities (212-744-3330) also owns a lot of buildings citywide (although mostly on the UES), and the only fee to move in is a $100 application fee, although I’ve been warned by friends that the application process can be a pain. And don’t forget: the market is on your side right now, so definitely haggle a bit! I was able to bring down the price of our current apartment by $450 a month just by doing a little negotiating.
Hope that helps a bit! Anyone else have suggestions?