Search Results for 'how to get the apartment you want'

How to Get the Apartment You Want, Part 3: Preparing Your Paperwork

The number 1 thing you can do to ensure you get the apartment you want is to have your finances and paperwork in order before you start looking. Unlike most cities, in NY you are not just renting an apartment–you are also applying to rent an apartment and just like applying for a job or college admission, you want to present yourself in the best possible light . Being organized and prepared makes you look like a way better potential tenant than all those other people scrambling to find their 2006 tax returns or who can’t even remember their last landlord’s full name. Continue reading ‘How to Get the Apartment You Want, Part 3: Preparing Your Paperwork’


How to Get the Apartment You Want, Part 2: Questions of Timing

Today I will address questions of timing in an apartment search. The first question is “how long should it take to find a rental apartment?” and the second question is “how many weeks before you want to move should you start looking?” There is no hard and fast answer to either of these questions and they are undoubtedly related and thoroughly intertwined. How long you spend looking for an apartment depends on how picky you are and how realistic you are about the mutability of rental market conditions that may preclude the very existence of your “dream” apartment. After seeing 30 apartments over a series of two months and having them all be insufficient, it might be the case that what you desire does not exist and you will need to adjust your expectations so they are more in line with reality. Continue reading ‘How to Get the Apartment You Want, Part 2: Questions of Timing’

How to Get the Apartment You Want, Part 1: Should I Use a Broker?

This week I will be outlining the process of renting an apartment in New York, drawing from my own perspective and experience as a broker. The first question on every renter’s mind is should you use a broker? I am a broker, so I say “hell yeah!” But seriously, I realize that many people don’t want to pay that fee and in reality, it’s a basic question of time and resources. Would you rather spend time or money? Do you even have time to look for an apartment on your own? Do you believe that it is worth paying somebody else to go looking for apartments on your behalf? Continue reading ‘How to Get the Apartment You Want, Part 1: Should I Use a Broker?’

Further Tips on Negotiating With Your Landlord

Right now it is a very real option to negotiate with landlords to get a lower rent and as lease renewal season is upon us, I’m sure any tips are welcome. Successful negotiation with a minimum of anxiety and bad feeling is something of an art form, and THIS factsheet from offers some great tips and tricks that can help you to arm yourself better for what could prove to be a difficult or stressful discussion.

As a broker, negotiation is a big part of my job and I would also like to offer some negotiation advice for those of you who are moving and looking at new apartments as well as those of you looking to change the terms of your current lease.

1) If you see an apartment that you like and want to negotiate on the price, be prepared to submit your offer along with an application that includes a credit check and supporting documentation. This is not a trick to get you to apply for an apartment–the broker and landlord are not trying to force you to take it. The fact is that people make crazy offers all the time and most of them never follow through. If you are serious then prove it and submit an application! The stronger a candidate you are, the more favorably a potential landlord will view your offer.

Continue reading ‘Further Tips on Negotiating With Your Landlord’

NY Times “The Hunt” Column Features Young Renters

While 23 year old Megan Dearing was not a first-time renter, as a recent graduate of Fordham University, the Buffalo native faced several challenges in finding a livable apartment and her story is one that many recent grads will identify with. The first challenge is of course coming up with enough cash to pay the high rents Manhattan demands, but also the security deposits, broker’s fees and moving costs can quickly add up into the thousands. Of course Megan also wanted to live somewhere she felt safe and comfortable and after living with two messy roommates in her last apartment she decided to live with her cousin, Katie Dearing. So where did the two young women end up? Read the whole article here.

What You Need to Know Before you Rent via the NY Times

This past weekend the NY Times Real Estate section once again featured the New York rental market and the process of searching for an apartment as their lead story. The article is pretty good, highlighting some of the peculiarities of our beloved city’s insane rental market. You can read the full article here, and if that’s not enough for you check out the additional info available here on my blog!

How to Get the Apartment you Want, Part 1: What Happens When I Use a Broker?

How to Get the Apartment you Want, Part 2: Questions of Timing

How to Get the Apartment you Want, Part 3: Preparing your Paperwork

Sixteen Perils: Don’t You Want to be Covered? More on Renter’s Insurance via Apartment Therapy

Rental Insurance is one of my favorite topics. The risk versus reward curve is so heavily in favor of an insured person that getting the insurance should be a no-brainer. Still, many people (myself included) wait for far too long before taking the plunge. Insurance just sounds so grown-up, like something my grandpa has. For not much more than $100 you too can be a card-carrying insured adult and won’t have to fear fire, flood, theft or the sixteen other perils that can befall your apartment. To find out exactly what these perils are, this great post on Apartment Therapy delves deeper into the murky realms of insurance and I hope you find it as useful as I did.

“The Hunt”: NY Times Features Renter’s Apartment Search

Did you know that the NY Times “The Hunt” column also features renters? This past weekend’s column covered the apartment search of a Judson Vann, a very meticulous young man with a lot of furniture who needed to find a reasonably-sized one bedroom in Manhattan for less than $2500. As a broker, this story is very familiar to me: people want a decent amount of space for around $2000. Often, this is a tall order. In the $2000 price category it’s rare to find anything above 650 square feet in most parts of Manhattan and I often find myself getting discouraged and encouraging people to consider moving to Brooklyn or upper Manhattan.

However, just because something is difficult does not mean that it’s impossible and if you have time to keep looking then you should do so. I always say that there is no perfect apartment and you should really be searching for an apartment that is 85% perfect. A combination of persistence and a little bit of compromising is what paid off for the guy in the article: he eventually found a large railroad apartment on Ninth Avenue at a price he felt comfortable paying. I can identify where Judson’s compromising led to his success: railroad apartments can be a great value and the further west or east you go the more space you are likely to get for your money.

Hall of Mirrors

One of my favorite things about being a broker is getting to see the crazy and awesome interiors that can be found all over this city. I just had to take a picture of myself in this awesome entry hall with mirrors on both sides. I look like I am in a kaleidoscopic infinity mirror. And yes, there are apartments available in this Upper West Side classic with doorman and elevator. One bedrooms for $2300 all the way up to a $6800 classic 6, get in touch if you want to see it for yourself.


Struggling Sales Brokers Suddenly “Not Too Proud for Rentals”

This article in The Real Deal covers the recent trend of  brokers who have previously only dealt with sales transactions now trying to incorporate more rentals into their business. When times were good in the sales market the rental market was neglected by many agents, but as both sales volume and home prices fall within the five boroughs and commissions are harder to come by, the previously-maligned rental side of the business is looking increasingly attractive. There seems to be a perception that working in rentals is easy and quick money and that an agent who is experienced in sales will easily turn a profit in the rental market with a bit of training, when nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading ‘Struggling Sales Brokers Suddenly “Not Too Proud for Rentals”’

NY Times Reports on Downturn of the Luxury Rental Market

Already being covered on NYCrentopia (here, here and here), the luxury rental market has been hit hard by the economic downturn. This may be good news for renters as you can expect lower prices for better apartments and various landlord incentives such as free rent and more landlords paying all or part of the broker’s fee. If you’re looking for an affordable luxury rental, get in touch with me and I can help you out for free now. All my contact info is on the sidebar to your right. If you want to watch the NY Times video, click HERE .

Rental Q&A via the NY Times

Today’s rental Q&A from the New York Times is a particularly interesting one: “Landlord demands $1 million in insurance.” If you find yourself in a situation where you need to get up to speed about renter’s insurance, check out this post from back in July,  “Sixteen Perils, Don’t you want to be Covered?”

Brooklyn Rentals Offer More for Less

According to a recent NY Times article, there’s a new breed of rental development in Brooklyn, one that will be very familiar to Manhattanites: the condo-style building that features designer kitchens and baths, fitness centers and roof decks, video intercom systems and doormen. This kind of rental has been popping up in Williamsburg for a while now but these days they can also be found in other parts of Brooklyn like Fort Greene, Bed Stuy and Downtown Brooklyn and tenants couldn’t be happier that Brooklyn living is no longer restricted to pre-war elevator buildings or subdivided brownstones and townhouses. “You can’t put a fitness center in a Brownstone” says one new tenant.

The Times identifies several trends at work here. Primarily, as the sales market slows and there is a glut of new inventory, condo projects are trying to forestall the problem of poor sales and many are opting to convert into rental projects. This movement is dovetailing with an increase in the number of renters who want sweet apartments with high-end finishes and amenities without the Manhattan price tag. The price differential cited by the Times was striking. An apartment in the Mynt building on Myrtle Ave in Bed Stuy that rents for $2550 in Brooklyn would rent for nearly $7000 if it were in Manhattan!


Hi!Welcome! This website is dedicated to the rental market in NYC, with news and information about rental apartments in Manhattan and (sometimes) Brooklyn.

Most real estate websites about New York are focused on the sales market in spite of the fact that 2 out of 3 New Yorkers are renters. The rental market is just as complex as the sales market and there are as many reasons to rent as there are renters: some people prefer the freedom that comes with being a tenant –-the security of knowing that the landlord or super will make repairs and maintain the building. Some tenants aren’t sure how long they want to stay in the city or plan to eventually move in with a family member or significant other. Often, the monthly cost of a rental is far lower than a mortgage payment would be on a comparable unit and many renters are on their way to home ownership, remaining in a lower-cost rental while saving for a down payment.

NYC is a city of renters and this website will chronicle that facet of life in New York.

Michelle Erfer is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson in New York City. My brokerage firm is Citi Habitats and all the opinions expressed in this blog are my own, Citi Habitats has nothing to do with this and bears no legal responsibility in any way for anything you might see, read or hear on this blog.  Please direct all questions, comments, criticisms and suggestions to Michelle. Thanks!
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About Me

Michelle Erfer is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson in New York City.
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