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The NYC Real Estate market is unique and extremely competitive. The demand for an apartment is great and the supply is limited. The best apartments get rented first and fast, usually during the first 2 weeks of the month. Some landlords and management companies work on a first come, first serve basis. Others will accept multiple applications and choose the best. Landlords who accept multiple applications will not wait longer than 48 hours to get all your paperwork to complete the application; they will go with the next best completed application.

We recommend that you follow the next few steps so as not to miss out on a great opportunity:

Be Prepared: Have all your paperwork with you and ready to go.

Renting an apartment in New York City can be overwhelming. To avoid confusion and frustration, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the application process. (See more information on 2nd page).

Income Requirements

Landlords typically require an applicant to earn annually 40-50 times the monthly rent, so if you’re looking at a $2000 per month apartment, you’ll need to be earning at least $80,000 per year. If your salary isn’t high enough to qualify on your own, don’t panic! Most landlords will allow you to use a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who promises to pay the rent of the apartment if the current tenant(s) are unable. If you’re a student, don’t earn the required salary, have shaky credit or relocating from outside NYC, you will probably need a guarantor. The guarantor will need to provide the same paperwork as an applicant, and required income is typically 70-100 times the monthly rent. Many landlords will accept additional security deposits and/or rent paid in advance instead of a guarantor. Do not be surprised if you are asked to put up extra security or rent, this is common with any applicant considered a risk for any of the reasons mentioned above.

 

Credit Verification

All tenants (whether students, employees, or self employed) and guarantors must go through a credit and/or background check. We recommend that you check your credit report prior to this process to find out if there are any items that might prevent a successful completion of your application.

If your credit score is low, don’t despair! It’s often possible to work with a landlord, either through a guarantor and/or additional securities.

 

Typical Associated Deposits/Expenses

  • Credit/background check: anywhere from $25-$175
  • Application fee: If there is one, it can range from $100-$500
  • Good Faith Deposit (GFD) Minimum $500, up to one month’s rent.
  • Security deposit: Typically one month’s rent, can be more if International etc
  • First month’s rent, and, in some cases, last month’s rent.

Most landlords will require certified funds, i.e., cashier’s check (bank check) or money order. After the initial payment, you will be able to pay your rent with a personal check.

 

Required Paperwork

It’s a good idea to get all your paperwork together beforehand so that you can move on with the process quickly once you find your new home. If you have the paperwork with you while you’re viewing apartments, you can put in the application right away.

 

Students

In most instances a student will need to be supported by a guarantor and will need the following paperwork:

  • From your School: Copy of your tuition bill or class schedule.
  • Student ID card: You’ll need a legible copy of your ID. Try to enlarge it to about 150% of the original size.
  • Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
  • Landlord reference letter: Some management companies might request a landlord reference letter.

 

Employees

  • Official Photo ID: You’ll need to have your driver’s license, passport, or other state issued ID.
  • Letter of Employment: on the company letterhead and signed by the employer. The letter must state the length of employment, starting date, position, and annual salary. You can get this from your HR department.
  • Pay stubs: Copies of 2-4 most recent pay stubs
  • Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements (checking and savings) or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
  • Landlord reference letter: Some management companies might request a landlord reference letter.
  • Tax returns: Tax returns might be required by some landlords (1040 and W2 forms).

 

Self Employed

  • Official Photo ID: You’ll need to have your driver’s license, passport, or other state issued ID.
  • CPA: Letter from your accountant. Must be on letterhead and signed by the accountant, stating year to date income and projection for the year. Additional information like length of employment, line of work, and how long this accountant has represented you can be considered helpful.
  • Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
  • Landlord reference letter: Some management companies might request a landlord reference letter.
  • Tax returns: Tax returns might be required by some landlords (1040 and W2 forms).

 

Helpful Tips

Prioritize what’s most important to you, and make sure to share that with your agent! What is most important: The Budget; The Location: The Apartment.

 

What is your preferred Manhattan neighborhood?

When choosing a neighborhood, there are many things to consider, such as school district, proximity of public transportation, availability of parking among others. Which of these is most important to you? Which ones don’t you care about? If a quick commute is most important to you, it makes sense to live in the same area as your job or school. Considerations such as supermarkets and pharmacies, Laundromats, and access to public transportation are easy to lose track of in the excitement of finding your new home.

 

Need Vs. Want: Prioritize

Do you absolutely need a 24 hour doorman, or will a walkup be fine? Do you prefer prewar charm or modern design? If you’re living alone, you can probably settle for a studio or one bedroom, but if you have roommates or a family, obviously you’ll need a larger space. If you do have roommates, make sure that everyone has their paperwork in order and that you’re all there to look at apartments.

Identify the apartment features and amenities that are non-negotiable for you

Do you need a W/D in the apartment, or will laundry in the building work? What size apartment would you like vs. what do you really need? Light, kitchen space, laundry in the building, elevator buildings, and doorman buildings all can raise the rent. If you have pets, think of them too. While cats are generally not a problem for most landlords, there are some landlords who will not allow any pets in their buildings. If you have a dog, even a small dog, it will considerably narrow the amount of apartments that you will be able to see. If you have a large dog, the number will become even smaller and you might need to provide a pet deposit.

 

Budget

What can you comfortably afford? Be realistic and remember, you need to show income of 40-50 times the monthly rent. Keep in mind that rent can vary considerably depending on amenities and location, and the time of year. Spring and summer rents are more expensive than in winter months.

 

Move-In Date

Most landlords begin leases at the beginning of the month; this means that most apartments are vacated at the end of the month. You’ll have the best chance of finding something you like with your move in date no more than a month away. New York City rentals work incredibly close to the cuff, and most of the time a landlord won’t know that a tenant is moving until 4-6 weeks before the end of the lease.

 

We hope this information helps you in your search for your new home in the City of New York, as we are certain that if you follow this helpful guide step by step you will end up getting that great new apartment, just as soon as you find it.