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3 Reasons People Have Difficulty Finding NYC Apartments

Updated on December 3, 2013


Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope you get everything you need from this post.

Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan | Source

NYC Apartments Pre-search Mistakes

Ok, here are some things you need to keep in mind before you go out to find apartments. With anything in life it is better to understand the basics before we jump into anything new. Even when we are familiar with a topic we want to review what we know after we've spent some time away from it. This is also the case for new york city real estate.

People often run to Craigslist on impulse. What happens then is they find BS apartments being slung by BS agents.

Craigslist isn't all bad so lets assume the two factors mentioned above worked out in this case. The apartment was awesome and the agent was amazing! So whats wrong?

Well, you cant afford the apartment. Nor can you afford the agent. You also cant afford the amenities that are fixed in the monthly bill. Your pooch isn't allowed in the building and it will take you too long to get to work from that apartment.

Trust me, this happens.

They are the results of these mistakes

  • Unfamiliarity
  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Poor Time Management

Luckily this can all be avoided with a little preparation.



Sometimes you just don't know where to start.

You are new to the city or you never had to do the search yourself so your stepping into a whole new world. Thats completely fine. You can become familiar by reading articles like this, speaking to a friend who's gone through the process. Make sure they live/lived in NYC.

NYC is different from everywhere else. Im not just saying that because it looks different or because its famous. The numbers are different. What you paid for 3000sq ft in Vermont will NOT be the same you'd pay for an NYC apartment. Not even close. This brings me to my next point.....

Unrealistic Expectations

Not knowing where to start also comes with not knowing what to expect.

So of course, your imagination runs wild.

It's not all your fault. Sites like Craigslist are dominated
by agents. They tend to misrepresent the market. NYC apartments are
posted constantly battling for the top search spot and are reused
even when an apartment is occupied...The old bait and switch.

Keep in mind, just like yourself, tons of people are trying to find apartments in NYC. So apartments are occupied quickly, especially when you have very specific needs. How do you figure out what you need?

First figure out how much you can afford. How far can your money go? This will filter your expectations to what you need and then you can compromise with what you want. You may find out that you'd rather live in Brooklyn because you get a bigger space for your hard earned cash. Maybe the neighborhoods in Harlem aren't what you thought it would be like.

Regardless of what you see in the movies there are NOT dog parks in every neighborhood (although its getting close compared to a few years ago).

Not everyone can live in TriBeCa or The Village like Carrie Bradshaw. Find out what the average rent is.....

For Example:

Median Price
West Village
Data From

My favorite of all unrealistic expectations are derived from a familiar
source so we believe it. A friend.

See friends can be misleading but not purposefully, their story just may be different from yours.
Just because your friends found an apartment in midtown for $1,600 and it included amenities doesn't mean you will. It also doesn't mean you won't.

Just don't get you hopes up. Some friends fail to mention that they know the landlord or they knew the owner of the apartment or even the broker. They also could have gotten the apartment at the perfect time....


Time Management

Timing, Timing, Timing!

New York Real Estate is just like any other market. There are ups and downs. When it down its a buyers (renter) market.

New York City rentals have clearer up and down cycles. Some years are more drastic then other depending on the overall market place.
But lets Keep the focus on New York Rentals.

The NYC rentals market cycle is like the weather. In the winter it cold and in the summer it's hot! Think about like this, in the beginning, middle and end of summer people are coming back from school, switching jobs and relocating. In the winter people are more settled. There are moments like the top of January when people are moving again but it isn't nearly as hot as summer.

Keeping this in mind if the market is cold landlords are more eager to
close apartments because they may have more vacancies then they'd like
to have after the summer season a.k.a the hot season. Makes sense right?

So be conscious of the time of year when speaking to a management company, landlord or broker. If you can choose when you move, do so.


I hope this info was useful and has you thinking clearer about finding NYC apartments. Remember, this is a great time, if you're moving from one neighborhood to another or from another state it's all a new adventure!

Have fun with it!

Wait a Sec...

Have you already found an apartment? do you think these pointers are useful?

Are you about to move? what are you using to find NYC Apartments?

Please share below OR if you know someone that can use this information send them a link!

Thank You!


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