Not coming prepared
Everyone we spoke with said the easiest way to avoid making a mistake while searching for an apartment is to be ready to submit an application the moment you find a place you love.
“Have your supporting documents easily printable and at the ready,” says Jason Hernandez, an agent with Douglas Elliman.
According to Hal Gavzie, head of rentals at Douglas Elliman, that means having a letter of employment, last two pay stubs, last two bank statements, tax return, and photo ID on-hand, whether you’re applying for a rental, co-op, or condominium. All documents should be less than 30 days old.
There are other things to keep in mind, too, like the standard New York rule that renters should make at least 40 times the monthly rent. And renters will likely need to put down the first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit equal to at least one month’s rent. There will also be a broker fee (at least one month’s rent) and miscellaneous application processing fees, key fees, and more. Essentially, you need to have a lot of money available up front.
And if you don’t have the assets or the necessary income, “have other incentives ready,” says Compass agent Grant Braswell. Get a guarantor who makes at least 40 times the monthly rent, or enough cash to pay an extra month’s security deposit.
Christine Mariani, an agent with Compass, says to be sure all those funds are available in a US bank account, because you’ll need to cut a check very quickly. There’s really nothing worse than finding out the apartment you loved most has already been rented out. “You need to be prepared to pounce on a good apartment when it comes your way,” says CityRealty.com’s Gabby Warshawer. “I’ve seen too many people lose apartments because they were dragging their feet,” Eliasi adds.