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Advice & Reports

Thinking About Renting?

Finding and securing a rental in New York can be a challenging process. We’ll help make the rental process as easy and enjoyable as possible so you can Live Who You Are.

What's the first thing I should do before I start my rental search?

When renting in New York City, preparation is key. Those who are familiar with Manhattan’s unique rental process and come prepared will have the best chance of securing an apartment. Your independent agent can provide you with a wealth of information to help you make an informed decision. Remember to ask plenty of questions about neighborhoods, building types, parks, public transportation access, or anything else that might influence your decision. Next decide on the date you need to move. Ideally you should start to look at apartments 30-45 days before you need to be in your new home. Vacant apartments are usually available immediately while occupied apartments are usually listed 30-45 days prior to vacancy. And of course, determine your budget. A general guideline is to spend approximately 25%- 35% of gross annual income on rent. So if you earn $100,000 a year, you might end up spending around $30,000 a year in rent or $2,500 per month.

Do you need board approval if you rent in condos and co-ops?

Both co-ops and condos have boards you must go through to be approved, though condos are much easier to rent in and you most likely will not need a board interview. You will have to submit a board package which typically includes first and one month security; signed leases (this includes guarantor signatures if applicable); employment letter stating your length of employment and salary (can be a CPA letter instead if you own your own company); tax returns for the last two years; signed acknowledgement of the coop/condo rules; two pay stubs; All paperwork you need for NYC (i.e. lead paint clause, window guards, bed bug disclosure, etc.); recommendations (two personal, two business); a clear photo ID; bank statements; application fee and other board fees. Rely on your agent to help you gather what you need to present for board approval.

What should I expect in a brokerage fee for a rental?

The commission is the money that the broker earns for successfully renting a property to you. The market typically controls the commission rate. As a rule, expect to pay about 15% of your first year’s rent in commissions. For example, let’s say that your monthly rent is $2,000. That means that you pay $24,000 for your apartment over the course of an entire year. Fifteen percent of $24,000 equals $3,600.

The Renter’s Checklist
  • Keep in mind that there is a low vacancy rate for New York City rentals so available rentals go quickly. The more prepared and organized you are, the better your chances of getting the apartment you want.
  • Determine what you are comfortable spending monthly (including utilities, cable, etc.).
  • Prior to your search, gather all necessary paperwork and financial documentation.
  • Find a local real estate professional; have them confirm the rental is in line with the going rates of similar rentals.
  • Explore different neighborhoods to determine which ones suit your needs.
  • Evaluate access to transportation and commuting time to work in selected neighborhoods.
  • Know when you will need to move into your new home. If you are moving into a condominium, you will likely need to apply to the condominium association, which may take up to 4 weeks.
  • Identify any “must have” features, e.g. washer/dryer, doorman, elevator, etc.
  • If you own pets, find out the apartment's policies regarding pets. Some NYC apartments have strict regulations regarding pets.
  • Before finalizing agreeable lease terms, find out if the apartment is clean and freshly painted. If a renovation is promised, find out what exactly will be done.
  • Once credit and reference checks are done you will be asked to sign a lease and settle any outstanding applicable fees which will ensure that the rental is yours.
  • Before you move in, get renter’s insurance.