Navigating the Rental Market

Navigating the Rental Market

  • Byson Real Estate Co.
  • 01/4/21

Renting an apartment in New York City is an exciting time -- but it can also be overwhelming due to the sheer size and speed of the market. 

At Byson, we've performed hundreds of rental transactions and work closely with industry leaders so we can help you find the apartment that's right for you. We want to be your trusted advisor, helping you find a place that fits within your budget and gives you that feeling of "Home."

Whether this is your first apartment post-graduation or a welcomed upgrade now that you’ve earned that big promotion, Byson is here to help.

Getting Started

Before you start scrolling through listing online, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions.

  • What’s my budget?

  • Which neighborhood best fits my lifestyle and commute?

  • Do I meet the income requirements individually? Or require assistance?

  • Should I tackle the search alone or work with an experienced agent?

Having these in mind will help drive and narrow your search. Next, you should prioritize what you want and what you actually need. 

Prioritizing each criterion will help you communicate your hierarchy of preferences, which subsequently drives the search. For example, if having a washer and dryer in your unit is a priority, we will find you that apartment -- but at times you might have to compromise on location or budget. We always say that every renter will need to make a concession in some form when working with a budget. 

Consider us your best friend during this process, we want to hear everything you’re thinking so we can help you find the right place for you. 

Choosing a Neighborhood

New York is comprised of five boroughs and 157 neighborhoods! Each has its own unique vibe, attractions, and pros and cons. Some are very residential, and others are in the center of all the action.

As a starting point, you’ll want to do some research about what the neighborhoods you want to live in are like. Consider if you’re going to live in the hustle and bustle of East Village or a more subdued Upper East Side. If you’re able, we suggest even walking around a few neighborhoods to get a feel for each place’s distinctive vibe. 

Should I work with a real estate broker?

You may have a bad experience with a real estate broker (or maybe a few) in the past. So did we, that is why our founders started Byson. As ex-consultants, we wanted to address the problems which had become industry norms and change the stigma associated with brokers — we do this by approaching each issue with professionalism and transparency. 

We understand working with a broker is something you're choosing, and find that it's usually best suited for those who are busy at work, unfamiliar with the city and or simply want to kick back and have someone do the heavy lifting for them.

Here’s why you should work with us!

  • Searching for an apartment in New York City is like having a full-time job. That’s why it’s our full-time job to find you one, so you can keep your focus on yours. Our goal is to eliminate the stress for you and have you doing yoga at your local studio or sipping a beer at your neighborhood bar in no time.  

  • Our company has strong working relationships with landlords, leasing representatives, and doormen. We leverage these relationships to work for you.

  • We have a number of tools and databases to provide you with both off-market and up-to-date listings, giving you the biggest selection possible. 

  • Our agents can often offer advice and guidance when attempting to negotiate the terms of a lease to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

If you’re worried about any additional, hidden fees, just ask. We will always be upfront and honest with you throughout the process. 

Getting Organized 

The ideal time to start looking for an apartment is 30 to 60 days before you need to move in. Starting too early or too late can result in limited inventory for you to select from. So plan your ideal move-in date and work backward one to two months and you’ll know when to start searching. It’s good to note that most new listings come to market on the first of the month.

Before you start viewing apartments, we suggest having the documents you’ll need to submit a rental application and sign a lease ready. This way, when you find your dream apartment, you can apply quickly, increasing your chances of being selected as the tenant. 

What documents you’ll need:

  • Letter from employer stating your position, salary and start date

  • Three most recent pay stubs

  • Prior year tax return

  • Three most recent bank statements

  • Verification letter from previous landlord

  • Photo ID (passport or driver’s license)

While most of these docs are easily accessible, some take time to gather. Submit your requests with your current landlord and employer ahead of time to mitigate your risk of losing the apartment.

If you have all your documents ready, once you find the apartment you want, we can help expedite the process to usually get you approved in 1-3 business days.

What should I expect to pay?

There are a lot of factors that go into how much an apartment costs to rent. Location, time of year, size, and the building’s amenities can all impact the price. 

It’s also important to note that New York City has a high-demand season, which runs from May to September. Because of the influx of people moving to the city at this time, rent prices increase.

We consider the below ranges to be a baseline for what you can expect to pay for an apartment in Manhattan:

Studios range from $1,800 to $4,000 a month

One-bedrooms range from $2,500 to $5,000 a month

Two-bedrooms range from $3,000 to $6,500 a month

Three-bedrooms range from $4,000 to $10,000 a month

Start Searching! 

It's time to step inside your future home. While listing photos are beautiful, they can be deceiving so we encourage our clients to view each apartment in-person before signing on the dotted line.  

Whether viewing with an experienced agent or tackling it alone, we suggest blocking off a couple of hours to view multiple apartments at once. Seeing several places will help you understand the market and make the best decision for you.

Should you elect to work with an agent, all you'll need to do is provide us the times that work best for you. We will arrange all the access on the backend to maximize the time you have available to ensure that you see as many options as possible. While most management companies only allow showings between 9 am and 5 pm, we will do our best to work around your schedule. 

While we understand you’re busy, know that waiting multiple days to view a great listing could mean it’s gone by the time you want to see it. Good apartments can sometimes receive an application within a few hours of being listed, so it’s important to move quickly.

If you’re living with a roommate or significant other, viewing the apartment at the same time helps expedite the process. 

Once you’ve found an apartment that’s right for you, we’ll guide you through the entire application process. 

“Do I need a guarantor?”

While navigating the world of New York City real estate, you may hear a few terms you’ve never encountered before, such as a “guarantor.” A guarantor is essentially a co-signer who is willing to guarantee your lease. He or she agrees to be legally responsible for the apartment, it’s condition and the rent due if the tenants fail to pay. So if you lose your job and can’t pay rent anymore, your guarantor becomes responsible for doing so. 

If you’re wondering if you need a guarantor, consider this: Most of the time, to be approved to rent an apartment a landlord or leasing company will require the tenant(s) to collectively earn 40 to 50 times the monthly rent and pass a credit check. 

To calculate this for yourself, multiply the monthly rent by 40, and see if your salary is above or below that. However, if you’re a recent graduate who meets the requirement, you may still require a guarantor due to your lack of work history.

If you fall short of these requirements and need a guarantor, keep in mind that they are held to different standards. A guarantor needs to earn at least 70 to 80 times the monthly rent to qualify. Your guarantor will also be subjected to a credit check and any associated application fees.

We suggest reaching out to a close family member or friend to be your guarantor, but if you don’t have someone that can fulfill these requirements, there are a few companies that can help insure your apartment and fill your guarantor need.

Be prepared for the upfront costs!

Congratulations! You’ve found the apartment of your dreams and decided to apply.

We'd recommend that you get your finances in order to ensure that you can meet the upfront costs. Almost all landlords will charge an application fee that ranges from $20 to $100, these monies are used to run your credit. If you’re renting in a co-op or condo, the fees could be as high as $200 to $1,500. 

If approved, things start to move pretty quickly. After you’ve been approved, the lease signing will typically take place within 24-48 hours. 

At the signing, you’ll need to provide the security deposit, first months’ rent, and any associated broker fees. This amount usually equates to two to three months worth of rent and it’s common practice for a landlord to require that the funds be certified.

It’s time to move in!

Move-in day is finally here, and we’re excited you found a great place to live. We hope you enjoy your new apartment for years to come!

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