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How to best avoid stress during your apartment search

December 15, 2022 | By Roomrs

 

There's no way to completely avoid stress while apartment hunting. But there are a few ways you can help yourself best prepare for the move, to avoid the whole process becoming totally overwhelming. 

Start as early as possible

Be aware of when you current lease agreement ends, and by what date you need to either renew your lease, or move out. If you decide that moving is the right decision for you, start the process early.

 

The general rule in New York real estate, is to start looking for places about a month in advance. Apartments in New York can be listed today, and gone tomorrow; so if you find a place you like too early, someone can easily take it off the market way before it’s even time for you to move out.

Bring a friend

If you have an apartment showing planned, text a friend and ask them if they’ll come along. Having someone you trust accompany you, calms you down and allows for more rational decision making. They can also provide their input, help you ask important questions, and talk out your concerns with you.

 

Better yet, if you plan on living with roommates, bring them to all apartment viewings. It’s necessary to have everyone who plans to live in the apartment, see where you all may potentially be moving to. This is to avoid someone bringing up their issues with the place, after the lease has already been signed.

Take your own photos

At the end of the day, realtors want their apartments sold. They will hire photographers to take high quality images, skew the lighting so the apartment appears brighter, choose angles that make rooms look larger, and sometimes even edit different paint colors on the walls!

 

Do not trust that the apartment will look like the photos presented. That is why it is imperative you visit every apartment personally, and take your own photos for reference.

 

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Hire movers

Moving is a very expensive process. And the fees incurred from actually transporting your stuff from one apartment to another, is no exception.

 

There are a lot of things you have to keep in mind during your move. Such as, buying small, medium and large boxes to pack all of your stuff; purchasing supplies such as bubble wrap, packing tape, a utility knife, garbage bags etc.; breaking down large furniture such as beds and couches, removing televisions and art work off the wall (and making sure you cover up any holes or chips in the paint), and the list goes on.

 

After all your stuff is packed, you need to decide whether you’re going to move yourself (and with the help of friends), or hire a moving company (some moving companies also include packing services as well).

 

Pro tip: HIRE A MOVING COMPANY!

 

It may cost you less to move yourself, but hiring a moving company is a huge factor in avoiding stress.

Get Documents Together Beforehand

There is a lengthy list of documentation required when putting in an application for an apartment (as well as required fees).

 

This includes:


Filling out the application and paying application fees (which by the way you don’t get back if you are not approved for the apartment)
A copy of your ID (passport or drivers license are acceptable options)
Employment verification letter (stating job title, salary, length of employment etc).
If you are a student, you need to provide verification as well
Student verification can come in the form of transcripts, schedule of upcoming classes, letter of enrollment, or all of the above
Paystubs (two to three most recent)
Bank Statements
Tax returns (from the last two years)

 

Additional documentation may include:
Reference Letters (both personal and professional)
Proof of payment from last rental (document stating rent was paid on time every month)

 

Keep in mind some rental properties have their own unique set of required documentation ( that you may not have ever needed when attempting to rent other apartments in the past).

 

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Have a guarantor if needed

The general rule in New York real estate, is that your annual income should be 40 times the monthly rent for you to be approved.

 

If this rule doesn’t apply to you, you’re going to need a guarantor.

 

A guarantor is essentially responsible for payments if you fall behind on rent. They co-sign your lease in cases where your credentials don’t qualify you for the apartment you want.


A guarantor must posses exceptional credit, usually make double the initially required income (more like 80 times rules), and have remarkable credentials. Not only do they have to sign your lease, they must also fill out their own application, provide all required documentation, and have their credit run.

 

Guarantors are usually close or immediate family; such as parents, possibly an older brother or sister, or grandparents. If there is no one in your family who you believe would agree to be your guarantor, there are online companies that offer guarantor services for a fee.

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