New York is one of the toughest, most fast-paced cities in the world. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, right?
But we don’t think finding a home in the greatest city in the world should be a panic-attack-inducing ordeal. We’ve been doing this for years and we’re here to help you navigate this unique market, four-story walk-ups and all. We’ve gathered our collective experience and are always just a phone call or an email away.
Timing, determining your budget, and preparation—these are the first steps to securing a rental that’s right for you. If you’re not familiar with Brownstone Brooklyn or Manhattan, our agents have lived here for years and can provide you with valuable insights about the neighborhoods you’re considering.
Ideally, you should begin looking at apartments 30-45 days prior to the date you want your lease to begin. If you begin looking too soon, there might not be enough inventory to meet your needs; too late, and the market will likely be too picked over.
On average, New Yorkers spend roughly 30% of their annual salary on rent, meaning, if you earn $100,000 per year, you could expect to spend around $2500 in rent each month or $30,000 per year. Most landlords require annual income of between 40-50 times the monthly rent, along with exemplary credit histories. But don’t let any of that freak you out—New York is the biggest city in the nation and it’s full of wonderful neighborhoods, many of which our agents call home themselves.
Most landlords request the following documentation in support of your rental application:
In the event that you do not meet the landlord’s requirements based on income or credit, you might be able to enlist the help of a guarantor. A guarantor (often an immediate family member) is someone who will sign a legal notice guaranteeing payment and performance of your lease. Your guarantor is expected to submit the same application and supporting documentation noted above. Most landlords require guarantors to earn annual income between 80-100 times the monthly rent, or if retired, prove substantial assets or savings. Landlords prefer the guarantor reside within the tri-state area (NY, NJ or CT).
Once you’ve found the perfect home, your agent will help you compile a thorough application for the landlord’s review. You will be required to pay credit check fees (typically $25-$50 per applicant) and a refundable $500 good faith deposit. Should your application be denied for any reason, the $500 deposit will be returned to you.
Once the landlord has approved your application, a lease signing can be scheduled. Your agent will let you know all the payments required at the lease-signing; typically, a certified check for the first month’s rent, one month’s security deposit, and the broker’s fee. Here are standard riders and disclosures that accompany New York leases:
We also provide a Moving Checklist to help you prepare for your move.
When an agent successfully helps you secure a rental property and only then, the commission due is generally 15% of your first year’s rent. So if your monthly rent is $2000, you’ll be paying $24,000 for the year; 15% of $24,000 = $3600.
We encourage you to read more about your rights as a tenant in New York. Knowing is half the battle!