So what is the number one sign that a client is going to have trouble finding a place?
Confusion over where to live.
When a client wants to look all over Manhattan, I know we are in for a long and turbulent process.
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE being a tour guide, and I love talking about locations.
The tough part is the tradeoff. A 3.5 K Upper East Side 2BR looks very different than one in the East Village because of the difference in price per square foot. People end up wanting the space and amenities of the Upper East Side in a downtown location and get FRUSTRATED.
Think carefully about your priorities before you arrive in town.
I once had a client I planned with for 6 weeks, who really wanted to live in Soho or Chelsea. She asked me to take the whole day off to work with her, which is what I do when someone is making a special trip. Turns out the day before, her mom had a different agent show her apartments on the Upper East Side, and then got upset because the same money meant less fancy apartments downtown. I felt frustrated and I am sure they were let down.
Before you travel, have a frank discussion with your agent about your budget and priorities.
It is ESPECIALLY important when parents are involved, because often their agenda is different from their offspring. When parents want an elevator and a laundry room, but their child wants to live near art galleries, it can be hard to find a middle ground. Parents often have very strong opinions about location, and they might be based on an experience 20 or 30 years ago. Ask your agent, what does a 2K studio look like near Washington Square vs a 2K studio at 72nd and Broadway? It can be apples and oranges.
Consider whether your priorities are location, space, finish, amenities. If you have limited time to find an apartment, do yourself a favor. Focus on the areas where you really want to live. Open listings in NYC often don’t have photos and may not be advertised online at all. Take the time to dig for these hidden gems, in your dream neighborhood, instead of spreading yourself thin. If you are looking for something that does not exist, your agent should tell you when it is time to change strategies and explore a different neighborhood.
Finally, and this one is key, educate yourself on architecture. I am always surprised by the fact that people forget to consider what sorts of buildings exist in certain neighborhoods.
If you like new construction, most likely you will not be looking in the West Village. Midtown West has amazing new buildings. There are relatively few buildings with elevators in the East Village, and those that are tend to be expensive or less central. Every August people come from all over the world wanting housing near NYU and the New School in a post-war- high rise style of building that is just not dominant in that area. Stuy- town or a dorm may be the best bet. Read about the architecture and history of the areas you want to live in, use google street view to stroll. Want to live in a high rise with a great view? Make sure there are tall buildings where you are hoping to live.
Here is a quick overview of NYC neighborhoods.