The summer not only means warmer temperatures – it also means that we’re in right smack in the middle of the rental high season. This time of year, rental inventory tends to be at its peak, but then again, so is the competition. So what on earth can you do as a prospective renter to get a leg up? Here are a few tips:
Know What You Can Afford
- Most landlords want to see an income of 40 to 50 times the monthly rent for individual renters. If you have a roommate, some landlords might allow you to combine your income to reach this target, but be forewarned – many will not, which means you’ll need a guarantor.
- Most landlords require guarantors to have excellent credit plus an income of about 80 times the monthly rent.
- You should also do some research about the current prices in your desired neighborhoods. Two great resources for current rental prices are Corcoran.com and Street Easy. Just enter the search parameters for what you want, and see what kinds of listings and prices come up.
Pick Your Neighborhoods
- Once you know what your budget will be, and what neighborhoods fall within that budget, you should zone in on which neighborhoods would be the best fit for you. Be sure to consider the following:
- What type of neighborhood feel do you want? More urban? Quiet? Tree-lined? Lots of social activity (i.e. bars and restaurants)?
- Are you okay with a longer commute or do you want it to be as short as possible? How far away do you want your apartment to be from the subway?
- What neighborhood amenities do you want and/or need? Gyms? Parks? Shopping options?
Get Your Documentation Ready
- You won’t be able to move quickly on an apartment without the right documents. Here’s a list of the most common items that landlords want:
- letter of employment, stating your position, length of employment and your current annual salary plus any bonuses
- last two pay stubs (some may want more or your W-2 form in lieu of pay stubs)
- last 2 years’ tax returns
- last 2 to 3 months of bank statements
- name, address and phone numbers of previous landlords or a landlord reference letter
- photo identification (driver’s license, state I.D. or passport)
- If you’re going with a guarantor, landlords will want to see the same documentation noted above.
Start Your Search at the Right Time
- You should start looking about 30 days out from your desired move-in date (45 to 60 days out if you’re interested in rentals in a co-op or condo building).
Communicate Your Needs Clearly to Your Broker
- Be sure to let your broker know what’s most important to you. You should tell your agent exactly you want, but you should also be receptive to what the agent has to say about how easy or difficult it will be to find what you’re looking for. Try to focus more on “deal breakers” rather than your “wish list” – this will save both of you time and energy.
If you’d like a quick reference to take away from here, you can also download this one page rental search overview (click here).
If you want some really detailed tips on searching for an apartment here in NYC, contact me for a free in-depth rental search guide by filling out the contact form below.
And finally, if you have any other specific rental (or sales) questions, you should feel free to reach out to me. I’m always happy to help!
Nikki R. Thomas
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
The Corcoran Group