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How To: Remote Apartment Hunting In NYC For International Students

December 14, 2023

Each year, thousands of students come to New York City from all over the world to attend their dream college and they all need to find housing. Finding apartments in NYC is already hard, let alone as international students who may not have the luxury to visit all the places in person.

But how can you find a place without being able to visit in person? While it's not the most ideal situation to rent a home without physically being able to see it, there are some steps you can take to make sure your search for an apartment is successful.

In this article, we'll discuss what steps you need to take to find your next apartment in NYC without having to leave your home.

Understand The Rental Process

Before getting started, you'll want to understand the rental market in New York City. How much should you expect to pay for a studio or one-bedroom apartment? One great way to check is to look at the average price for each neighborhood. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Soho costs $3,700 on average, while a Washington Heights one-bedroom apartment would be $2,338 (prices as of November 2023).

Besides understanding the price, you also want to understand the renting process. This procedure may look significantly different than the requirements in your home country. For example, many apartments in New York City require that you have a substantial amount of money to put down, including a security deposit, first month's rent, and last month's rent. Understanding what to expect before jumping into your apartment search can help you set realistic expectations for your apartment search.

Have Your Rental Profile Ready

Apartments move fast in very competitive housing markets like New York City. What's available can change from day to day or even hour to hour. Good deals move quickly, which is why it's essential to have everything prepared beforehand so that if you do like an apartment, you'll be ready to apply instantly.

While most listings will tell you what you'll need to have in order to apply, there are some standard materials you should consider having available at all times, such as:

  • bank statements
  • pay stubs
  • credit cards
  • past references.

Consider The Commute

If there's one thing you should know about NYC, it's that the commute is no joke. Many apartments in Brooklyn or Queens may seem like a great deal, but if you have to spend a few hours commuting each way on a bus with multiple subway rides, then it's not worth your time and money!

Instead, consider apartments in neighborhoods close to your school, or at least close to an easy transportation option. For example, maybe you can't find an apartment right next to your school within your price range, but the neighborhood you've chosen has a direct subway line to your school.

Create Your List Of Options

Once you know what to expect and have some areas in mind, it's time to start your search. But where do you begin? The best way to find an apartment in NYC is to use popular rental listing websites like StreetEasy, Apartments.com, or even RentHop.

Since there are thousands of rental listings when you search "Apartments in NYC," you'll want to narrow it down based on the neighborhoods that interest you the most. From there, make a list of 6-10 apartments that sound the most interesting to you.

Set Up Virtual Tours

It's never a good idea to trust pictures alone to help you choose your next apartment. Pictures can be deceiving and might not tell the whole story of what the apartment or complex looks like. Instead, it's much better to book a virtual tour of the apartment with a third-party service.

Gander is a great option that matches remote renters with local residents who will give a thorough and unbiased virtual tour through a video chat.

Gander’s mission is to make it easy for anyone to make informed decisions on their next home, especially for individual who are remote or new to the city. The local residents give a comprehensive view of the apartment, commenting on everything from natural lighting and water pressure, and not just the positives. Plus, you can instantly book online and choose from multiple packages to fit your needs, allowing you to tour alongside the local guide on Zoom or have tour videos sent to you if you have other commitments during that time.

Not sure if the neighborhood is ideal? Gander can even tour the immediate block over Zoom to help you get an idea of what the surrounding area is like, including how close you are to public transportation and nearby stores.

Apply For Your Dream Apartment

Assuming you've found an apartment that you're interested in, it's time to apply! You don't want to wait to send in your application because it's likely that other people are looking also looking at the unit at the same time. In competitive markets, you always want to be one of the first to apply to secure your new apartment.

The listing agent will have all of the information you need to apply for the apartment and can act as your resource for any other questions you may have about the application process or apartment.

Read Your Lease Terms And Sign The Contract

Once you've been approved for the apartment, you'll be sent over the official lease agreement. The lease agreement will include all of the terms and conditions you need to know, including how much your monthly rent will cost, who pays utilities, and specific rules on subletting or transferring the contract. Make sure to read all lease terms carefully before signing on the dotted line.

If something doesn't make sense or you have questions about the agreement, contact the leasing agent. While the market is competitive, that doesn't mean you have to sign a contract that doesn't work for you or mandates ridiculous terms!

Conclusion

Now that you've received all the information you need to start your apartment search, it's time to find a new home for the upcoming school year. By taking the time to research and vet each of your potential new apartments thoroughly, you can guarantee that you're making the right move for your future! Plus, with Gander at your disposal, looking in person is no longer necessary, taking a massive burden off finding your next apartment in NYC.

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