Renting in NYC can be a tough task, from horrid stories and scams to walking into an apartment that’s already rented or falsely getting accused of breaking into a home thinking it was for rent. As an experienced RE Broker, I hope these easy tips can help you find your next home.
1. Document Prep.
Most renters aren’t aware of the essentials required when moving. It is important to have knowledge of your credit standing, proof of employment and income. Other documents that are important are a copy of your bank statement (summary page) which indicates your financial capabilities and your last years’ tax return. Having soft copies of your credit report, bank statement, tax return 1040 page, 2-3 recent pay stubs or direct deposits and an employee reference letter before starting your search would be a good idea.
2. Bring along your skepticism – and your cash.
With demand for apartments so high in NYC, running into a scam is no surprise. Before giving away any monies to a broker or landlord make sure you identify both parties. You can easily look up the actual owner of a property with websites like oasis.org. For brokers and agents make sure you look them up on their company website and even make a phone call to their office to verify if they actually work there. Having cash on hand is important as many apartments go fast. A minimum of three months rent is usually the cost when signing a lease. Make sure to save at least three months rent which includes first month’s rent, your security deposit, and a broker fee. Some places may require an application fee for $50 – 150 depending on the apartment.
3. Finding an RE Broker
Many renters like to avoid brokers because they feel that it can be costly. In fact, statistics show that having a broker may save you in the long run. An experienced broker can save you from extensive application fees, your credit report getting run constantly and overpaying a broker fee. In some cases, a broker can save you from giving your money away to an unlicensed broker or false property owner. Linking up with a reputable broker can make your search easier. The best way to find a broker in the neighborhood your looking in is to first see if you know someone in your social network, if not you can easily do a google search to find a reputable broker online. Websites like yelp, instagram and realtor can help you establish a connection.
4. Why is my credit important?
A credit report shows your standing with credit lines, any late payments, and debt. Theirs a slight confusion when reading a credit report. Many renters feel that a score under 700 can make them ineligible to rent. For example, having no credit at all is better than bad credit and can still be used to apply for an apartment. This is because there isn’t any credit history to determine a persons standing. Renters with bad credit or fair credit can still apply as well. In this situation, you can go over each credit line that’s hurting your credit and explain why it is in default. Having proper documentation to support any debt and evictions can help you when renting. Some of these documents will have to be notarized or can be looked at by a professional attorney. If your prior evictions are hurting you when renting, finding someone you can trust as a guarantor or co-signer may be your next option.
5. Private owners v. Managements
In NYC you have a nice influx of managements who manage and are in charge of renting the apartments. They typically represent the owner of the property. On the flip side, you have individual property owners who manage their own apartments. It is known that it’s easier to negotiate a deal with a property owner versus a management. Property management companies are typically strict and by the book. They don’t offer many negotiations on the going rent and application processing. Whereas individual owners are easier to communicate with and can be more personable. Having a broker represent you can be beneficial in litigating a deal for you. In addition, finding you apartments that are either individually operated or by managements.