10 Essential Apartment-Hunting Tips
Make the process ten times easier, and don’t get stuck in an apartment you didn’t expect.
Found the Apartment You Want? Here’s What To Do Next…
Finally found a place that feels like home? Don’t get too excited. Here’s what to do to make sure you’ll still be happy when you move in:
1. Find out the whole situation.
Is it a co-op? If so, move on. No matter what your broker tells you (remember, they just want to make the sale), all NYC co-op boards have rules that state how long an owner can rent out the apartment. It varies from one to two years. What’s the landlord or seller’s deal? Why are they renting the apartment and do they plan on coming back, or letting a family member use it someday? Why are they selling? For these questions, I advise doing a little research and contacting the apartment owner directly, as the broker may advise the landlord to lie in order to secure the sale. You can find this info out as part of public record, then track them down on Facebook or Google.
2. Talk to the neighbors and doorman or superintendent.
What’s it like living in the building? Can they hear their neighbors through the ceiling or walls? Do people complain about noise? Does rent increase much each year? Do things get repaired quickly?
3. Hire a real estate lawyer to look over the lease.
Obviously, don’t ask your broker for a recommendation because there’ll be a serious conflict of interest. Your broker (and his/her lawyer friend) want you to go through with renting the apartment. Therefore, their lawyer buddy is far less likely to tell you if something doesn’t smell right. Always find your own totally independent counsel.
4. Looks up reviews of the building.
Find out if there are complaints from residents. Find out what the management company is like. Know what you’re getting.
Bonus tips: Update your address everywhere at once using Updater. And always make sure to click the light gray link at the bottom of Yelp reviews to view the “other reviews that are currently not recommended”, as Yelp has a worrisome habit of filtering most of businesses authentic negative reviews — the ones you should read first.
Want more tips? Check out our guide to why NYC broker’s aren’t working for you, and how to protect yourself.