How to Save Money on a NYC Apartment

So depending on your budget there is one feature that can make the difference in finding the budget-friendly apartment you want in New York City.

Drumroll.

Laundry!

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of apartments in NYC with laundry in unit, in building, and we rent them everyday.

BUT!

If you have a tight budget, and you want to live in popular areas such as the East Village, Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, the West Village and so forth, the best way to get the space you need is is to compromise on laundry.

We are talking 2 bedrooms under 4K, 1 bedrooms under 3K, and studios under 2500.

We see it time and time again. People say laundry is a must.

What happens is the apartments you see are usually the poorest values because you have eliminated the majority of housing in your budget. The older walk up buildings, constructed before laundry rooms were common are the places to focus on if you need an inexpensive apartment and space is your priority.

Also if you are moving to a neighborhood where most buildings do NOT have laundry, you will find a great number of laundry services, probably steps from your door. Laundromats, dry cleaners, wash and fold services.

I currently have a listing for a beautiful one bedroom with a public laundromat in the same building. I often have people who insisted on seeing only places with laundry, realize how many options there are near by.

So please, if your agent says you are missing out on some good values by only seeing buildings with laundry, listen. The breaking point between less expensive and more expensive apartments in the “trendy” neighborhoods is almost always laundry .

This guideline doesn’t apply in some areas with only large buildings. FiDi, Midtown West west of 10th Ave, some portions of Chelsea, stretches of Harlem you need laundry . Obviously as you move into higher price points, it is not an issue. But keep an open mind when it comes to laundry– you might just find one of those NYC miracle deals!

Secret Manhattan Apartment Bargains

So location is paramount to most folks moving to Manhattan, and I tend to specialize in some of the most expensive areas.

But there are good values, hiding in plain sight, in convenient locations most newcomers overlook.

I will just keep to one neighborhood per post, but there are a number.

MID-TOWN EAST!

Turtle Bay, Beekman, Sutton Place, Tudor City offer some of the best deals in NYC. Thse areas are within walking distance of the United Nations, but for some reason people moving to Manhattan overlook the excellent value.

If you are looking for a no fee apartment, or a doorman is a priority, or you like post war buildings with amenities, you owe it to yourself to consider this area.

While the main avenues may not feel especially residential, the side streets are inviting. East 49th is one of my favorite streets, it is leafy and quiet, and has a perfect mix of small shops and restaurants. There is a newsstand, dry cleaner, two salons, a bike shop, and appealing restaurants, right alongside a very appealing mix of housing.

Buildings here tend to offer more space and amenities that any other area between Houston and 96th street. There are large, elegant buildings with some true bargains. If having laundry in your building is a priority, and you have a tight budget, Midtown East may be the answer. I am always happy when clients want to look here, many apartments here are a happy surprise.

Are you looking for a “flex”? Roomies looking to cut costs sometimes are seeking apartments they can divide with a wall. Most downtown apartments are really not suited to this set-up, but the post war mid-rises of Midtown East are another story. I try to keep my eye out for apartments that may already have the flex wall up, to save my clients time and expense.

Tudor City is one of the area’s best kept secrets. If your heart is set on a doorman/elevator studio south of 2K, you may find what you need. Buildings in this enclave are known for having spectacular pre-war windows, and if you are lucky river views. Keep in mind Tudor City is all co-op which can mean a slower application process, and some additional labor and expense.

As for culture and dining, midtown east may surprise you. The area is especially cosmopolitan with people visiting from all over the globe. Bloomingdales and the shops of the East 50’s are a quick walk, and all the fun of the East Village is nearby as well. If you like to drive to the Hamptons, having the Midtown Tunnel makes it easier.

If you are not finding what you need in Midtown West, or the Village, consider Midtown East. People who live here love the value and location.

Moving to NYC? Work with an agent you can trust. Email Suzanne, sgoldklang@corcoran.com.

Fake Ads for New York City Apartments: Bait and Switch

So what is the most frustrating thing about apartment hunting in NYC?

Fake ads!

They give renters unrealistic expectations, and can lead you down a time-wasting rabbit hole.

Very simply, some agents find it more efficient to make up ads for apartments that don’t exist to lure you in. Once they have you baited, it is time for the switch.

As an agent, dealing with other agents fake ads is frankly my least favorite part of the job. We have a database of almost every apartment in NYC, and if I am spending energy trying to figure out the history of a fake ad, that’s time I could have used making calls to find you real options.

Fake ads also start popping up when you are looking for something that is either very rare or does not exist. When you have a tight budget in popular locations, fake ads are all of a sudden everywhere.

People don’t really do fake ads for 6 thousand dollar one bedrooms, because there are plenty of real ones. But 1800 no fee studios in swanky neighborhoods? 2500 two bedrooms with huge living rooms near NYU?

That is when the fakes start popping up.

This is where honest communication between agent and client is key. If you really need a bigger place than your budget allows, discuss more affordable neighborhoods, or perhaps switching from elevators to walk-ups.

Unfortunately instead of making hard decisions about priorities and compromises, some clients jump on the web and start showering you with phony listings. It’s hard to blame them, but it rarely moves things in the right direction. I also like to keep things positive, and having to explain that there are a lot of fake ads, makes me feel like a Bachelor contestant dissing her housemates.

There are websites that are reasonable to use in other cities, but in NYC are fake ad breeding grounds. Realtor.com, Apartments.com, to name a few. I get a big chunk of my business from Rent Hop, but there are also a lot of stale ads there too.

Localize boasts all their ads are honest, last week the featured property in the facebook ad was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with, stunning arched windows in Tribeca for 3200 dollars. You do the math. People can advertise a magic golden unicorn in the basement, and there is little that can be done.

Some agencies actually instruct new salespeople to never delete an ad, just redirect clients to something else when they call. There is an apartment I rented in January, somebody’s fake ad for it was there months later. I wrote the agent saying please, my clients don’t need people buzzing their door to see their apartment, a month later, it was still there!

Agents will slightly change the number of an address, to try to hide what they are doing. I once got a call from a client at 7 AM, because the EXACT SAME APARTMENT she was applying for was ACROSS THE STREET BUT THIS ONE HAD A LAUNDRY ROOM! Nope, it was a jazzed up fake clone.

If you want to search I like Line City, or ask me to set up a customized drip for you in my two data bases.

The realization that some real estate ads are fake is a hard one, it’s not the better side of our industry, or humanity for that matter.

However it’s one of the most important pitfalls to avoid, especially if you are looking in a competitive category and have limited time in NYC.

#kindnesswins

Best Neighborhoods to Move to in New York City

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.

https://gocity.com/blog/nyc-neighborhoods/

New York City Real Estate Agent

Thanks for joining me!

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

 

So what comes to mind when you read those six words? New York City real estate agent.

There are hundreds of hard-working, talented, kind real estate agents and brokers in NYC. But people are often a bit wary. The truth is not everybody is cut out for this job. While I would be honored to work with you,  anyone you click with, who knows the inventory, and  is willing to work hard for you, can probably find you an apartment.  People often start searching listings on their own, but the truth is at the beginning search for the right agent instead. Listings come and go, apartments rent, but a strong relationship with someone you trust is the key when you are new to town.

Most people call me because they see a listing that they like, but very rarely, does somebody rent that first apartment.  More often that phone call starts a dialogue about housing wants and needs, budget, location, and a number of other factors. While it’s possible to visit NYC for one day and find a place, it puts a lot of pressure on your trip. It’s also simply exhausting and overwhelming. Two to three days is normally sufficient. 

In the coming days I will write about some of the ways that smart planning can help make your search successful, and the pitfalls that can make it frustrating. I once got a call from a mom with a daughter who had been living in a hotel looking for a month!