Finding a perfect rental room in any city in the United States is challenging. Period. However, if we consider looking up a room for rent in New York, it may take us more time and effort to find the near-perfect place because it’s a massive city comprising five boroughs, each akin to the size of a county!
Additionally, with professional opportunities and amenities galore, the city’s a magnet, drawing thousands of millennials annually. The increased competition among potential residents increases the demand for rental spaces, which in turn causes rental prices to shoot up. And when you’re desperate to find a rental room in New York, you’re willing to do whatever it takes, without looking into crucial factors, such as the excessive standards of living, the high broker fees, and neighborhoods that are secure. So, before taking the plunge, it might be wise to read and follow these eight tips.
1. Start your room search early
Finding the ideal room for rent in any city takes time, so if you decide to start your room search a week or two before you’re due to move, you can rest assured that you’re going to come up with squat! Therefore, keep at least six weeks to a month in hand to look up your room for rent in New York. This is especially important during spring and summer when the demand for rental rooms skyrockets.
Also, you might want to delay the search for a rental room in New York because you believe that any area will suit you fine, and you don’t want to be picky. But while a majority of the neighborhoods may have undergone changes for the better, others might not meet your preferences or might not be in a location that’s easily accessible to public transit options or places you need to be. Most importantly, the rent may be way over your budget.
Finally, you’ll need at least 45 days to get everything and move to the city, so the benefit of beginning your search early is that you get to check out the communities in person and compare rental prices before picking the rental room that checks all the boxes.
2. Search after summer months
While it’s a given that summer is the perfect time to search for a rental room in New York (or in any city, really), logic dictates that we avoid it. Why, you might ask?
Here’s the thing. During summer, college graduates burdened by student loans are desperate to find jobs and need a place to live. On the other hand, families have a lot of free time due to their kids’ vacations and decide to look for a decent house.
The surge in demand for housing pushes up rental prices to unimaginable levels. Therefore, even though summer seems like the best time to find a rental room in New York, it’s a good idea to keep it on hold till fall (around November).
The downside to all this is that you might lose out on many great options, but the upside is that the market is far less competitive. So, if you’re lucky, you might be able to work with the landlord to agree on a rent that’s a win-win for both of you!
3. Have a relocation budget
The standard of living in New York is beyond most people’s means and imaginations. So, the first and most practical thing to do is set a budget for the rent that you’re going to dish out along with utilities, groceries, and travel expenses.
Interestingly, a COL (Cost of Living) calculator tells you how much the income you earn in your hometown is likely to be in another city. So, if you’re from a small town making a reasonable amount, know that you’ll need to earn at least two to three times the same amount yearly, to be able to live in New York. In other words, it’ll help you figure out how much rent you’re comfortable paying so that you’re not tempted to go for something that’s beyond your budget. Also, you can determine whether your savings (initially) and later, your NYC salary, will be sufficient for all your basic expenses, such as rent, travel, and groceries.
Finally, landlords usually expect potential tenants to earn several times the rent they have in mind, so the steps taken earlier should help you avoid the rental spaces where you don’t fall within the expected income range.
4. Find the right neighborhood
Exploring neighborhoods before actually moving into one of them is crucial for lots of reasons. First, you need to find an area where you feel safe and secure. Second of all, the community you choose to live in should have access to basic amenities, such as grocery stores, dry cleaners, banks and ATMs, and public transit options, among other things.
So, make it a point not just to check out the neighborhoods but also to speak with the locals to find out their take on the areas, and figure out how you feel about living in a specific community.
As far as NYC is concerned, you may want to start your neighborhood search by determining which of the boroughs you wish to live in, and then move on to a handful of areas within the chosen borough. Or, if you have the time and energy, you could choose a few neighborhoods within each borough and explore them before making your decision.
5. View the place in person
Regardless of the number of rental spaces you shortlist, remember to view each of them in person. And if you find a place that seems perfect, don’t delay the process of closing the deal. Also, if you decide to wait for the winter season to start your search, remember that although there might be fewer people competing for the same rental room, they’re still out there.
In the end, whenever you attend the viewing, explore the place thoroughly for mold, water damage, vermin, and so on. In addition, be sure to check every closet and cabinet and any furniture (if the rental’s furnished) to see if what was promised has been delivered.
6. List out the things you want in your rental space
It’s natural for us to create an image of the ideal rental room in our heads and hope we can find it. However, that may not always be the case. Wherever you may end up living, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the things you wish to have in your living space. For instance, you may want a centralized AC, an elevator in the building, and a pet-friendly space, among other things.
Remind yourself that the list of things you want in your rental room in New York may not even be close to what you find here. Be flexible and willing to accept whatever you get provided, of course, it meets some of your critical needs. It’s up to you to figure out how much importance you’re willing to give your wants versus your needs.
7. Think of getting a roommate
While you may be a self-sufficient individual who manages perfectly on your own, remember this is New York City you’re dealing with. Living alone is fine, but the question you have to ask yourself is: Will I be able to afford the rent, utilities, and other expenses without any help? If you’re struggling to find an answer, it might be practical to search for a roommate to share the costs with.
In summary, whoever your roommate may be, known or unknown, ensure that you set expectations upfront about expenses, responsibilities, and boundaries. After all, you’d want to live in peace now, don’t you?
8. Keep necessary documents handy
You never know how soon you might find the rental room you see yourself living in, so it’s good to be prepared with all your essential documents beforehand. In a city like New York, you can never be too early to close a deal, and a rental space is no exception. It shouldn’t happen that by the time you put together all your documents, someone else swoops in and takes the room!
Besides the application you’ll need to submit for the rental room in New York, here are the other documents that you must have ready:
- Pay stubs for two months
- Bank statements for two months
- Tax returns for two years
- Employment letter
- Photo identification
- Reference letter from the previous landlord
We hope that the tips we’ve shared here to help you find your ideal rental room in New York are useful. While we understand that you may be feeling a little overwhelmed, we urge you to continue your efforts, including digging around to find relevant information, and you should find what you’re looking for, even if it doesn’t include everything you wanted. Finally, given the housing demand in New York, don’t wait to move in; do it at the earliest!