Finding an apartment in New York City can be like the proverbial needle in the haystack, or maybe even like the nanoparticle in the entire cornfield. There are some things you can do to put yourself ahead of the game. When you are on the prowl for apartments for rent in Brooklyn, follow these simple tips to get a good start on securing your new digs.
Have Your Stuff Together
Get the basics organize and ready – your credit report, three years of bank statements, color copies of your ID and passport, pay stubs and tax documents. If you need a guarantor (which those with shaky credit or who make less than 50x the rent in yearly salary will), he will need all of those documents at the ready as well.
Do Not Start Too Soon
The New York real estate market moves fast. No, not like “wait until three months before your move to find an apartment for rent in Brooklyn” fast. More like “find a broker two weeks before and expect to move in almost immediately” fast. When you start looking more than a month in advance, what you are going to get are the leftovers that property owners and brokers are trying to unload from the last round of showings. If you wait until 2-4 weeks before you are ready to move in, you are getting the places that have just opened up and therefore you have a better chance of finding a desirable place at the right price.
Pound the Pavement
Even if you are not planning to directly approach landlords or property management companies, visit the neighborhoods you’re interested in if at all possible. Go during the day, so that you can observe people coming and going and get a feel for the atmosphere. Keep an eye out for area conveniences that matter to you – things like quality grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks aren’t always right around the corner in some Brooklyn neighborhoods, so you’ll want to be sure you’re looking in an area that has what you need.
Consider Smaller Brokers
There are often more obscure agents available locally to help you when you are looking for apartments for rent in Brooklyn. They sometimes have the ups on apartments other, larger agencies do not know about.
Be Firm on Your Must-Haves
Before you even start your search, decide what amenities and features are necessary and which ones you are willing to compromise on. Don’t settle for the very first “this is just okay” listing that comes your way. It can take time to find the place that meets all your needs, but they are out there.
It may seem contradictory to the above advice, but it does pay to be a little bit open to new ideas. While you may have your mind set on that beauty in Crown Heights, areas like this that are already reaching a high level of gentrification are also experiencing record hikes in rental rates.
Consider places like Bay Ridge that are a little further from Midtown (45 minutes on the R train), but are still less trendy so boast lower rents along with visual appeal, nice parks, and a quality food scene. Prospect Heights also offers a gorgeous park, lively nightlife, and rents that have remained affordable despite the up and coming status of the little borough. If you need good schools for your little ones, Greenpoint is another excellent choice of places to look for an apartment in Brooklyn. Great restaurants and bars abound and yet it is intimate enough to feel like a real community.
Don’t Count Out Online Apartment Finding Tools
These can be a treasure trove of information about everything from shops and restaurants to crime rates. You might still pay a fee, but you’ll have access to listings that you probably won’t be able to find on your own. Check out sites like BuildNRate.com to help take some of the stress out of your apartment search.
Show Me the Money
Save the money for your deposit and bring your checkbook with you. There is nothing worse than finding that perfect place that you can just picture your antique armoire gracing, and realizing that you lost it because you weren’t prepared to put the money down right then and there. The real estate market – including rentals – is brutally competitive in New York City, so if you’re not 110% prepared, don’t start looking yet.
You are going to have disappointments, and it’s going to be time and energy consuming, but if you keep at it, you will find that ideal apartment for rent in Brooklyn that’s just perfect for your needs.
Searching for apartments for rent in Brooklyn can be frustrating, but keep plugging along. With over 30 neighborhoods to choose from, you’ll soon find the ideal place to call home.