When it comes to moving to New York City, not losing your mind can feel like a challenge, but we promise it doesn’t have to be that way. And even if you do end up losing it a little, the experiences this city has in store for you are worth it. There’s truly no other place like it. So, if you’re looking to make the big move and join the rest of the world’s movers and shakers, follow our expertly curated tips on how to move to NYC relatively painlessly and prepared.
Calculate Your Maximum Rent and Save Enough Money for Deposits and Fees
This is something you’ve likely already factored in, but we can’t stress enough how crucial it is to establish a budget based off whatever your monthly income will be. Most NYC landlords require that your gross annual income (before taxes) be 40 times the monthly rent. According to Naked Apartments, the average rents in NYC are as follows:
Studio: $1,300 – $2,800
1 bedroom: $1,400 – $3,000
2 bedroom: $1,800 -$3,500
3 bedroom: $2,600 – $6,000
Overall: $3,000 – $3,500
For a quick and easy ballpark equation, simply divide your income by 40. But also keep in mind that financial experts generally recommend that you spend no more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent alone in order to comfortably afford other monthly expenses.
In addition to the monthly expenses, don’t forget to factor in the upfront costs that come with signing a lease. This will likely include first and last month’s rent, along with a security deposit that usually also equals one month’s rent. Being prepared with enough money saved up really can mean the difference of winning or losing an apartment. They go fast — people arrive at showings with checkbooks.
Be Prepared to Compromise
It’s time to think about your deal breakers. What’s most important to you when it comes to living in an apartment? Generally speaking, there are three main apartment selling points: rent, location, and size. Prioritize this list of three things, because you’re probably going to have to sacrifice two of the three.
We don’t advocate messing with the budget you set, so that leaves location and size. It’s more likely that location will be your main deciding factor given that size comes at a cost, which is where our next tip comes in.
Downsize Your Stuff
No matter what, if you’re moving from outside of NYC, space is something you’re likely going to have to give up. When it comes to the square footage you can expect, a typical Manhattan studio is 550 square feet whereas one bedrooms average 750 square feet. This means you won’t be able to fit all the stuff in your current roomy apartment into wherever you’re going to end up, so you’re going to have to get rid of a large percentage of your belongings.
Have a moving sale or donate stuff you don’t need. If you’re really struggling to get rid of certain things or if some of your stuff is seasonal, consider using a local NYC storage service like MakeSpace, who will actually pick up, store, and deliver your stuff whenever you need.
Every neighborhood in NYC has their own unique qualities. Ask yourself a number of questions to help you decide what neighborhood you might want to move to.
Do you like to eat out a lot? Do you prefer to shop at a grocery store and cook meals at home? Is a short commute time important to you? Do you prefer a more quiet neighborhood as opposed to a bustling one filled with bars?
Once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a neighborhood, head to your computer. There are a number of websites, such as AddressReport, that will give you an idea of what living in a particular neighborhood is like.
If you find an apartment that claims to be in a neighborhood you want, do your research to make sure the address is actually located in that neighborhood. Some listings can be purposefully misleading regarding where the apartment is actually located in order to make it seem more desirable.
If you’re really not sure what will work for you, consider opting for a place with a month-to-month lease to give you the opportunity to learn what you like and what matters to you.
However you move, make it bold and congratulations on your future home in the city that never sleeps!