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How to Get the Apartment Rental You Want

Don't be satisfied with a lesser-than apartment; 4 tips on landing your dream space

Looking an apartment rental in New York can be stressful situation — so stressful, in fact, that many people settle for an apartment that they really don’t want.  Your apartment is your home, and you should never settle for an apartment that does not fit your lifestyle.  The key to getting the apartment you really want is having a good agent and being willing to make decisions quickly.

The New York City rental market is in a unique place right now. First, living in the city itself is a more popular idea now as it’s ever been. Second, the housing recession has reached its end. And lastly, we’re still at the tail-end of some of the busiest months in New York real estate — May through September.


For rent

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Find an Agent that Knows Your Target Neighborhood
First, you need to find an agent that knows the neighborhood you want to live in. He or she will be able to show you as many apartments on the market within your area as are available.

One Month Ahead Is Plenty of Time
If you are looking to move in November don’t start looking before September. It will be a waste of time! Whenever an apartment is well priced, in good condition and it hits the market, it will be gone in a day or two.

Be Fast and Decisive
The rental market in New York is a like a Formula One race and all the craziness that comes with. If you are not the fastest and the best driver, you will lose. If you visit an apartment that you like, you must submit the application right away with a deposit check. Do not hesitate! If you turn around and think for a second, the apartment will be gone.

For example, one of my agents was showing an older couple listings in Brooklyn. Every time they saw the right apartment for them, they spent time with the measuring tape to see if all their furniture would fit. If the furniture fit, and they agreed that it was the right one for them, they wanted to go home and sleep on it. Of course, within 30 minutes the apartment was gone! At the end, my agent got firm and told the couple that they couldn’t afford to sleep on it. They had to make a quick and fast decision.

If you do your search by yourself, you will be a disadvantage. Agents likely have access to and have already seen all the apartments on the market in your desired price range and neighborhood. Single searchers have limited resources and will often miss out on the full range of what’s available. You also will not be able to move quick enough to secure a nice apartment.  A good agent will show you just apartments that match your needs and won’t waste any of your time. Let them negotiate and fight for your apartment for you!

Be Prepared to Pay a Fee
Don’t believe the No Fee ads. No Fee apartment are rare at best and are almost always a scam. In this kind of a market, the tenant pays the fee. When the market was down, landlords might give away a free month’s rent to get their place rented, but in this booming real estate market, the old days are over.

So, are you ready for the race? Remember, you think too much. A fast decision and good financials will get you the place you love and you will be feeling lucky and at home in no time.

Vanessa Gad is the CEO and a broker at Gad Realty NYC, which handles residential real estate sales, purchases and rentals and caters to an international clientele. She speaks five languages fluently.

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