I want to talk to you about the biggest mistakes people make when renting apartments in NYC. Renting in this big city is like no other. It’s confusing, and it’s normal for first-timers to get overwhelmed, confused, and sometimes JUST GIVE UP.

It takes hours to scan the various listings, only to discover you’re not eligible for the apartment, or the apartment has already been taken. Many first time renters will choose not to work with a broker in order to avoid paying the fee, but then realize how terrible it is to deal with landlords and property managers directly. In addition, the paperwork needed to secure your first apartment is dreadful.

Even seasoned New Yorkers who have lived in multiple apartments and have dealt with numerous landlords and brokers are trying to find ways to improve their experience. The New York real estate make is terribly competitive.

So, hopefully, this article helps you avoid some of the biggest mistakes.

The biggest mistake is not coming prepared. You must be ready to submit your application the moment you find the place. You should have your supporting documents printed, and ready.


  • Tax return
  • Photo ID

This applies regardless of whether you’re trying to reside in a rental, co-op, or condo. All documents should be less than 30 days old(recent). There are some other rules too…like the fact your income should be 40 times your monthly rent. You will also need to put down the first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit equal to at least one month’s rent. There’s also a broker fee, equal to one month’s rent, and other misc fees like processing fees, fee keys, and more. Essentially, you need to have a lot of money available. If you don’t have the assets or other income, you must have other incentives to make sure you get the lease. For example, you might need a guarantor who makes at least 40 times the monthly rent; or you have enough cash to pay an extra month’s security deposit.

It’s important the funds are available in a US account, because you’ll need to cut a check quickly. Many people lose their dream apartment because its already been rented out to someone who had all the necessary documents.

Credit score matters

Many renters aren’t aware of their credit score, and the fact it matters here. It’s one of the main factors that are used in the approval process. It’s important to be aware of it, and make it the best possible. Before you begin your apartment lease search, run your own credit report. You can do it online free. According to the FTC, everyone is entitled to one free report every 12 months.

Know what you’re looking for

One of the biggest issues is people simply don’t know what they want. If you waste time between several neighborhoods, you’re wasting your time – and ultimately, going to miss the ideal apartment. Have specific requirements in mind before you begin looking at listings, or working with an agent. Do not view something above your budget. Typically, you should give your broker a price range that is below your budget, so you can anticipate unexpected expenses. Another key important factor is having realistic expectations. You’ll never get everything you want with a finite budget. It’s all about give and take, and prioritizing what you can get.

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