Between broker fees, fifth floor walk-ups, and short turnarounds, moving in New York City is nothing short of stressful. As I made my move from the East Village to Astoria, I went in with the mindset that I will NOT be doing this again anytime soon. I have never lived on my own before, so it was important for me to take the time to find everything I wanted in an apartment.
Getting started was tough because my lease was up at the end of June. Between work and travel, I had little to no time to dedicate to my apartment hunt. Luckily, my cousin let me spend the summer with her in the suburbs of New Jersey while I got my life together and figured out what I wanted. Before I even kicked off my search, I made my “must have” and “wish” lists.
Must haves: Wish list:
From the start, I knew that I wanted to move from Manhattan to an outer borough because it opened up more affordable options for me to live alone. Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island were going to be too far of a commute to my office in Midtown, which left the lovely borough of Queens. I have always been charmed by the residential feel of Astoria, and therefore it went to the top of my list.
I used Hotpads for my rental search, which is a map-based search engine that pulls in data from all over the web (Craigslist, StreetEasy, etc.). It’s awesome because you can see where potential apartments lie in relation to a neighborhood or point of interest. Once you’ve setup your preferences, you can also subscribe to email notifications so you are always on top of new posts.
I spent all of July looking at my notifications, but it wasn’t until early August that I found a rental that really appealed to me and met all my must-haves and even had a few items on my wish list. The realtor associated with the booking, Ana Salijanin of Citi Realty, took me to see the rental and also showed me another one nearby. While the one I had originally found online was nice, the second apartment I looked at was THE ONE. It had everything I wanted and more – access to the M train, a massive studio with separate kitchen, in-budget, on an adorable tree-lined residential street with a laundromat (and wine shop) all within a block. Talk about a dream!
I knew I wanted the apartment, but I also knew I had to move fast. Rentals are snatched up quickly in New York, and Ana was talking to other interested tenants. I met the landlady to get approval, expedited the paperwork as fast as possible, cleared the background check, and signed my lease all within 3 days. It was beyond stressful but totally worth it as I am now settling into my cozy little studio. A huge thank you to my realtor Ana for helping make the whole process a little easier. You can view her open listings here.
Some additional resources to help on your apartment hunt:
RentLingo | Rent Affordibility Calculator