Renter Questions

“I am moving along with the new wave of college grads to the city for work that begins July 9th , I figure that this influx of new hires might cause the market to be overly competitive (thus more expensive) for that june/july move in. Do you think it is a justified strategy to try and find a short term lease (3 – 6 months) so that I coud look for an apartment when the market is more in my favor? Is there any particular time of the year that is considered the best time to get the best value?”

You are 100% correct that June/July are the most competitive months for renting an apartment. There are some things to consider in terms of value. The summer has the most turnover in apartments compared to the rest of the year. This means if you want options the best time to look is the summer because the vacancy rate is highest then. BUT Landlords do jack up prices and brokers raise prices. If you look in the fall-spring there is significantly less inventory but probably better prices. But if you are looking to at least have a few options and not get stuck with the one or two than the summer is probably best for you. I know this sounds vague. My personal opinion is September/October is probably the best time of the year to look. Other people will disagree with me on this. I think this is because all the masses have settled but apts that did not get rented in August or people who tell their landlords last minute that they are moving out Sep 1 leaves a good amount of inventory with a lot less competition. Bottom line, rent is expensive- if you can find a deal for 3-6 months with a low cost for moving and no broker than maybe it is worth it to wait till the fall but if you are paying for peace of mind I suggest only looking once a year. Moving and renting is a draining process. Hope this helps!

“I will be doing research in NYC for 2 months (June and July). What are my best options for renting an apartment for such a short time frame?”

The best option for short-term summer rentals is in the sublet/roommate sec. Thousands of students are only here from Sep-May and there are many, many students who are always looking for someone to sublet to just for the summer. If you are of a certain age and don’t want to bunk up with a 20-26 year old, there are many students who have studios in prime areas and charge significantly cheaper than their rent just to get some money back on it for the summer. Any other time of the year is more difficult for short-term renting but the summer is actually quite easy and you have a large pick!

When submitting paperwork, can I black out sensitive information (eg. my social security #, or the account # for my bank account or investment info) or does it all need to be visible? By the way, your site is great… very helpful.

This is a great question because I received it often when I worked as a broker. Unfortunately, the social security number will have to be exposed because all companies/landlords will run a credit check on you. As for bank statements you do have the right to black out the account #’s. There could be a few management companies that would like to have access to it all, but I never encountered one personally. I know you feel extremely vulnerable exposing every financial detail about yourself but that is the nature of the beast in NYC. I have had many a guarantor scream at the paperwork involved but there isn’t a way around exposing your social security number. Even the “shadiest” brokers in the company I worked for never ripped off someone’s social security number- but use your best judgment with who you work with.

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