Apartment searching in New York - any tips?

A buddy of mine is looking to search for rental apartments in New York. He’ll be moving to the city this fall. I’ve been out of the market for a while so don’t know what to advise him, other than that this seems like a good time to be looking since prices tend to come down after the summer. He’s looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Downtown Manhattan, wants a decent sized space, but doesn’t care about other things like a kids room, swimming pool or whatever these luxury rentals are trying to sell to you these days.

Are there any good deals to be had through brokers, or is it easy enough for a fairly savvy person to find stuff on StreetEasy, NakedApartments or NYBits? Any other sites people recommend? Thank you.

Does he want to be able to enter the front door? Or does he mind having to walk around to the side door for the lowly peons?

Best deals for 1 bedrooms are on the upper east side. No young people want to leave there + pretty bad subway coverage = surprisingly affordable places (relatively speaking, obviously).

Where is that CL post looking for a roommate?

http://www.analystforum.com/forums/water-cooler/91335673 Your boy can live here.

He should checkout Staten Island, St George area. Can’t beat that view/prices combo!

To be clear, he already knows what areas he wants to live in, and just wants to score the best deals.

He should contact that accountant girl that posted here a while ago.

IME Streeteasy is not up-to-date on rentals. NYBits are good, but not a deal. I also was able to find legit ads on craigslist, but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone new to NYC rental market.

If your friend is planning to stay at the apartment for more than one year, it’s worth paying the broker fee.

I lived downtown for a few years and i always had great success with metroloft mgt. Prices may have gone up a bit but i am still a fan of fidi and i liked working with this mgt company.


Thanks krnyc. I think he’s open to dealing with brokers if they have exclusive listings or condos, but for no-fee apartments, can’t he just contact the leasing office himself? What is the value-add from the broker?

Any other sites you recommend? I’ll suggest Craigslist to him, he knows New York prett y well since he’s lived here in the past.

Back when I was young - and poor, of course - I lived in NYC. This was around 1999, maybe. I needed to find a new place and I responded to an ad in Village Voice, I think it was, saying that three roommates were looking for a fourth because someone was moving out. The ad said they wanted to have a get together for prospective roommates to interview them. I think the place was in the East Village or not far from there.

Anyway, i show up to check out the place and meet the roommates and I swear there were 80 other people checking it out too, meeting the roommates, having little interviews with them. I thought it was highly amusing for about five minutes, at which point I’d had my chuckle at the absurdity and moved on with my day.

Yeah, I don’t know about those brokers. In theory, they can find poorly advertised listings and maybe get you a good deal. In practice, I don’t know if this is the case. Their commission is based on the rent you pay, after all…

My buddy isn’t strapped for cash, but like any true value investor (he’s a private equity guy) he’d rather not give away $ for free if he can just as easily take care of something on his own.

CL mad shady - its all fake postings by agents with the old bait n switch. only look for stuff not posted by agents.

nybits is decent. the best option is to go walk around the neighborhood and walk into the leasing offices and talk to them directly.

You boy can live with me, no homo. We’ll take over the NYC nightlife and take some dimes to pound town.

Yes, you are right. There is absolutely no value-add from brokers for no-fee apartments. And your friend should examine those first and apply directly though the management companies such as Glenwood, Bettina Equities etc. You can find the full list of property managers on nybits.com and their reviews in the discussions section of streeteasy.

But there are smaller landowners that typically deal with only one certain broker exclusively, and you won’t find the listings from them any other way. The benefit of renting from such landlords is that they can’t have too many vacancies and it’s easier to negotiate the rent. The downside is that the buildings might not be as impeccably maintained as the luxury ones.

Craigslist is good for finding coops/condos listings directly from the owners.

CL is 99% fake, but if you search it for awhile, it’s possible to spot a real deal. I would search listings early in the morning and schedule the viewing at lunch the same day. The real stuff goes fast!

I tried to find “Pound Town” on Google Maps and got this.

Imagine how much action those firefighters get…

Edit: AF is whack yo.

I’ve found a number of nice places on CL over the years, it’s definitely not all fake stuff. Including the place where I am now.

However, to someone new to town, it’s a little tricky to spot the things that are too good to be true and the things that sound plausible.

Thanks for the thoughts, all. Anyone else have other insights to add?