Virtual showings of NYC Apartments

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Yep. It will really be interesting to see how the coronavirus crisis changes NYC apartment rentals long term.

Right now instead of hunting for keys we are hunting for videos.

It’s a big change.

In the past we would go see listed apartments, sometimes, many times, without seeing pictures first. This is part of the craft of being a NYC real estate agent. You have a hunch, a super gives you a tip, you know your landlords, and then you and the client go see some places. You gauge their reaction, see what they respond well to, adjust, get a cup of coffee, admire the dog park, it’s a process and if a client trusts it, it works.

But now due to the pandemic, we are trading in video. Yes it’s a good tool, but I am not sure it is satisfying. Yes, so many people were willing to take 110 Greene Street from a short video, it was a once in a lifetime deal on a SoHo loft. Yes about 1 out of 10 apartments are rented without people seeing them.

But I find the time spent emailing and clicking is less productive, it’s nice to see a video of an apartment, but it is very different from experiencing it. It also it is my job to read your mind, to figure out what you want BEFORE you do. So many people get here and admit, what they thought they wanted changed when they started viewing.

It is ok, it is expected, you are not ordering a Big Mac and a side of fries, I know you may decide having a place that feels bright and roomy is more important than laundry in unit. Just like a shrink our job is to guide you.

Don’t get me wrong, a video is a great storytelling tool, especially in sales, but it just doesn’t replace the real thing. Cue Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

If you want to work with Suzanne email I promise someday will climb stairs, sip iced coffee, talk about life and see apartments soon.

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.



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


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!

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.