Renting your first apartment is an important and exciting experience. It can also be really stressful, even if you’ve rented before. The City has resources to help you find an apartment and consider the options before signing a lease.
Here are a few steps to take before starting to look for your first apartment.
Determine your budget Knowing how much rent you’re able to pay each month is really important. Don’t forget to consider other expenses as well, like groceries, utilities, and savings. Check out the Budgeting page for help getting started.
Decide where you want to live After you’ve determined your budget, start looking at areas where you’d like to live. Think about factors like distance from work or school, how safe you feel there, and whether grocery stores are nearby.
Roommates Having roommates is a good way to lower your living expenses. Just make sure they’re people you can live with.
Ways to Find an Apartment
There are many ways to find an apartment in NYC. Check out some ideas below.
Real estate brokers Brokers can help you find an apartment based on your budget and preferred location. They can also help you submit rental applications. Most do charge a fee, so ask up front.
Apartment finder sites & apps
From StreetEasy to Zillow to Realtor.com, you can use lots of sites and apps to search for an apartment. Most let you to narrow down your selection by entering criteria such as neighborhood, number of rooms, or price range.
Walking around Some people still find apartments by looking for “For Rent” signs. It can pay to wander around the neighborhood you want to live in and see what’s available.
When you find an apartment you like, be prepared in advance to apply.
Credit report: Most landlords want to run a credit check. Look at your credit report first and make sure it’s correct. Visit the Banking & Credit page to lean more about credit.
Fees & deposits: Find out exactly how much you’re expected to pay up front to secure an apartment. It might include first month’s rent, security deposit, broker’s fee, and other fees.
Read the lease carefully: Make sure you know what you’re agreeing to and confirm that all information is correct.
Finding affordable housing in NYC is hard, especially when you’re just starting out. If you need rental assistance, the City offers programs that can help.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people who live in NYC. Rent is based on 30% of your household income, and electricity and gas are often included. Find out how to apply for public housing