If you're moving to NYC and looking to find a sublet rental, there's good news and bad news.
The good news is you've got options: the NYC rental market is constantly turning over with new sublet listings, as renters look to break their lease early, find new roommates, or bring in a little side cash each month. The bad news is that there are countless rental scam artists out there trying to make a buck off any innocent out-of-towner trying to find a place to live in the city.
Because of the huge volume of sublet options and the ever-present scammers out there, one of the most difficult aspects of apartment hunting in New York City is just getting started. The tips below will help you conduct a successful NYC sublet search.
Finding a Sublet in NYC - Know the Numbers
Know what you need to qualify for a sublet, before you begin searching. In the housing market in New York City, rental deposits and commitments happen very quickly. Because of this, you need to have everything ready before you even think about beginning your NYC apartment search. Having everything in order and ready to go may mean the difference between entering your future home and running into a locked door.
Subletting in NYC - Surrender Your Expectations of Grandeur
Realize that in your search to find a place to sublet, you may not find the luxurious accommodations you were hoping for. Know yourself: do you need something affordable on a student's budget? Can you afford to pay up for a rental with tons of luxury amenities? Ultimately, you need to examine your budget and personality and determine if you want one of the nicest apartments within your price range in New York or if you'd rather time your move to save some cash. Generally, for the nicest options available, start at the beginning of the month; for the best deal, near the end.
When thinking about your budget, don't forget to factor in your moving costs as well. Basically, you'll either need to suck it up with what you've got (or the sublet provides) or do the research to find great deals on everyday needs. Stock up on towels, dishes, pillows, and other accessories that generally don't cost an arm and a leg. If you're looking to replace some bent mini-blinds, www.blinds.com has a great selection at affordable prices, perfect for that new move-in.
Subletting During the Summer Months
If you're a student and committed to subletting during the summer, make sure you sign your lease prior to spring break. Do this whether you have already found summer employment or not. There are many jobs in New York, but decent apartments are much harder to find. In fact, even though it's the nations largest housing market, New York Citys vacancy rate is extremely low -- recently floating at just 2%!
When Searching for a Sublet, Trust Institutions and Never Blindly Send Money
Scammers abound in New York City, which makes legitimate housing companies and universities your best bet. Given how competitive the NYC rental landscape is these days, you may even consider taking a course at the local university to qualify for student housing.
Be very wary paying someone to find you a sublet. You're much better off, if you know a local or someone very familiar with New York whom you trust, asking a friend to assist you in your search (just be ready to take them out for a VERY nice dinner when you're done). Some things your friend could particularly help with: helping you narrow down the list of neighborhoods you'd consider, taking pictures and/or video as you visit apartments, and even scanning through any listings you like for obvious fakes. Yes, it's true: in NYC almost anything goes, so you shouldn't be shocked to find that some of the buildings listed don't even exist.
Packed Up & Ready to Move
There's no doubt that moving into a new place requires preparation, but it should also be enjoyable. Think about it! A big move to a new city is always an adventure. You have a new neighborhood to get used to and new neighbors to get to know. Explore the sights and sounds of your surroundings and take in everything the city has to offer. From corner cafes to bike paths and dog parks, a new city is an opportunity to experience something new, broaden your horizons, and even reinvent yourself.
These five tips should keep you pointed in the right direction as you look for your perfect NYC sublet. Just remember to start looking early, remain ever-wary for scammers, and -- if the process stresses you out -- just keep in mind why you're going through all the effort of moving in the first place!