NYC Advice: What to Avoid While Searching for a NYC Apartment

By Pascalle Farr

It looks like the price for rental apartments is getting higher this summer. The Real Deal has a story this morning that landlords are cutting back on their rental incentives. The article quotes a broker from Compass who says prices are less negotiable.

If you’re planning on moving to a NYC apartment, make sure you do your homework. You don’t want to end up like my horror story from my first apartment search.

It seemed like the perfect apartment when I was back home in France. This 2-bedroom furnished apartment was clean with a living room that seemed spacious. It was also located in the Upper East Side – a neighborhood made famous by Gossip Girl.

My roommate and I were moving to NYC for the summer and we were excited for our new adventure as soon as we locked in this apartment. Everything seemed perfect until we walked through the doors for the first time and realized the broker lied to us. She took advantage of us as foreigners.

When we arrived on the street and saw the outside of our building for the first time, my roommate joked, “I hope this is not our building.”

It was our building and it only got worse as we walked inside.

The apartment was DIRTY, and it looked nothing like the photos the broker sent us. This was our first mistake. We relied on photos to assess what a NYC apartment looked like. I’ve since learned never trust or secure an apartment by the photos. Always visit it in person.

Don’t Rely on Photos before Signing

If we could do it all over again, we would have booked a few days at a hostel and looked for an apartment after we had arrived in NYC. That is much safer than relying on a photo to reflect what your future home will look like.

There were more problems with this apartment along the way.

The gas didn’t work during the first week. We had paid $110 for a cleaning service to clean the apartment, but it was never cleaned. We found dust and hair on the ground and the shower was disgusting. We also had no dishes even though we were told we would have dishes.

We only had a one month contract, so we were able to get out of that apartment. We found our new apartment the way most New Yorkers find their apartment. We went to Craigslist and visited the apartment in person.

Our new apartment is a real two bedroom, clean and it’s spacious for less money. If you plan on moving to New York, learn from us. Visit the apartment in person and don’t ever believe what any broker says.

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