How to find a cheap apartment in NYC

New York has never been the cheapest city to live in, however, now that the pandemic is over and everyone is moving back to the Big Apple (especially Manhattan), rent prices have gone sky-high, reaching almost a %13 increase compared to 2022 according to Investopedia. This situation has turned apartment hunting into an extremely difficult task but difficult doesn’t mean impossible and you can still get your dream apartment at a low price.

How to find a cheap apartment in NYC

Where to look

We all know looking for an apartment is a stressful task and sometimes you don’t even know where to begin. If this is your case, we recommend taking advantage of the internet’s wonders and checking websites like Zillow or StreetEasy. These sites have a huge offer for all budgets. Since there are a lot of people currently looking for an apartment, we recommend checking them out a few times everyday until you find something that catches your eye.

Posting you’re apartment hunting on your social media is another great way to find an apartment. Most of the city’s best places are yet to be released to the public, making some connections can help you get to them without a battle.  

If you want to find an apartment in a more traditional way, you can alway check out some local real estate agencies!

Typical requirements

Now that the city is full of people looking for a place to live, the requirements to rent an apartment have gotten stricter than ever, however, meeting those requirements will make you get the place of your dreams so make sure you follow the next list:

  1. Make 40 times the rent. This is quite a common requisite in New York landlords require to make sure you can pay on time each month, but it can be quite hard to keep up with. If you’re struggling with the 40x the rent rule, check this out. 
  2. Proof of employment. If you’re self-employed, don’t worry, a CPA letter will do. 
  3. Deposit. The typical deposit is the equivalent of a month’s rent and will be returned once your lease is up, that being if the apartment is in the exact same conditions as you received it. 
  4. Good credit score. Having a good credit score (from 670 to 739) is extremely helpful when it comes to finding an apartment since it helps the landlord see you tend to pay in time. You can still get an apartment with a bad credit score but you will need to make it up somehow, like offering a bigger deposit.

If you don’t meet most of these requirements, we recommend finding a roommate

Cheapest neighborhoods.

We all love Manhattan’s noise and life, however, living in the middle of the party comes with a price and boy is it a big one. If your budget is tight, moving to another borough is probably the best option. If you don’t mind the commute, here’s a list of the cheapest neighborhoods in the city:

  • Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. This residential part of town is filled with parks and restaurants while having apartments starting only at $1450/mo. The proximity to the R train as well as different bus stops such as the B37 is key to getting to Manhattan in only 40 minutes. 
  • Bushwick, Brooklyn. Bushwick has become known for being where artists hang out. Being full of nightlife and art galleries, this neighborhood still remains affordable, with apartments starting at $1500/mo while only being 20 minutes away from Manhattan thanks to its proximity to L, J and M trains. 
  • Jackson Heights, Queens. If you want to learn about other cultures, Jackson Heights is the place to be. You will find a great South Asian and Hispanic community thrilled to share their traditions with the world. Although there are not many trains in this part of town, it is full of bus stops that can take you to Manhattan in 40 minutes and the best part is rentals start at $1700/mo!
  • Bronx. Home of the Yankees, only 17 minutes away from Manhattan, The Bronx offers apartments from $1200/mo. There are not only plenty of bars and restaurants to go to, you can also enrich your mind with the million cultural activities this borough offers, being able to get anywhere with the 2, 4, 5, 6, B, and D train stops. 

The rental market is crazy right now but don’t let that stop you from getting an apartment you can turn into a home! Just remember to be patient and check if new apartments have been uploaded everyday. 

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