This summer is one of the roughest in years for the real estate market. Rentals, high in demand yet low in supply, are making apartments more costly and harder to find. Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, tells us how to survive the summer market.
Do your homework
"First and foremost, preparation is key to a successful search," Malin says. "A lot of people don't do enough homework, so when they get [to an apartment they like] they realize they're missing a lot of paperwork and end up [losing out on the unit]. Typical documents needed to rent an apartment in NYC include your last two years of tax returns, two recent bank statements, two recent pay stubs and an employment verification letter that states your annual salary. If you are self-employed, then a letter from your accountant would be required along with tax returns. In addition, it helps to have a letter from your current landlord saying you pay your rent on time, and are a good tenant."
Know your non-negotiables
"It's important to say to yourself, 'what are the things that I absolutely can't give up?' Prices are pretty high, vacancies are low, and you're probably going to have to make some sacrifices along the way. Maybe you're going to get a studio instead of a one bedroom, live in the East Village versus the West Village. It's good to ask yourself, 'what are the items where if I can't have it, it's not like I'm not going to be able to proceed?'"
If you love it, take it
"Sometimes apartments are rented in a matter of hours. If you love the first apartment you see, put down an application because three hours later it might be gone."
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Be open to others' ideas
"Don't get honed in on one area and one area only. It's important to be open to suggestions. No matter what the circumstances are, you're probably going to be paying a lot of money in rent, so it's important to see what opportunities exist. You might find the ideal apartment but not your ideal location, but once you factor everything else in, you say to yourself, 'You know what, I'm glad I took a look at this.'"
Timing is everything
“The ideal time to look for an apartment is within 30 days of your desired move-in date. For example, if you’re looking to move into your new home on Oct. 1, then you would begin the search in early September.”