Do I need a broker or not?
Personally, I did not enjoy my experience with a broker and ended up finding a great apartment by myself. Our Broker was specialized in two neighborhoods (this is the case for most brokers) and was not very helpful in finding places outside of his zone. He was pushing “his” neighborhoods and trying to discourage us from searching in our preferred areas; I found this a little annoying. Anyway, regardless of whether you want to work with a broker or not, here are a few bits of advices that may help you find a nice place.
Effective tricks for your apartment searching:
- Set alerts in the New York Times real estate section: The New York Times website has an interesting and useful real estate section. It is renowned to be the most up to date place to find listings in NYC. If you have the chance, set alerts matching your criteria a few months before your move, this will allow you to learn a lot about the market and upgrade your budget – or adjust your expectations - if necessary.
- Take a walk in your preferred neighborhoods: When I arrived in New York, the first thing I did was to go for long walks in the different neighborhoods that I like. This allowed me to discover apartment buildings that I never would have found otherwise. To get information about vacancies, don’t hesitate to ask the doorman, note the name or the address of the building or simply take a picture of it. You'll just have to do a quick search on the Web when you get home.
- Complete your research with the website New York Bits: The New York Bits Website regroups information about buildings and vacancies in the different areas of NYC. It can be very useful: you get a brief description of the building, its situation on a map of New York, availabilities (updated in most cases), prices and a link to the Website of the landlord. You can also do a search with your preferred neighborhoods and your price range.
What are your favorite resources for apartment search?