Moving to NYC is one of the hardest things in the world, and for reasons that you wouldn't expect. Personally, it wasn't that hard to leave North Carolina. It wasn't hard to find someone to take over my lease in Raleigh, pack up my things and figure out those logistics. It was hard because the apartment rental market here is INSANE. Really.
In New York, landlords have ALL of the power. There are so many hundreds of people moving around at a given time, that the best apartments come on and off the market in hours. This makes things difficult when one lives in a different state. I accepted my job offer a little over a month before my start date, and I thought that would be plenty of time to find an apartment. Not exactly the case.
I began searching on my own and quickly became overwhelmed. Personally, I'm over random roommates, so I didn't want to go that route. Also, the listings on Craig's List are all over the place. You can't tell if the pictures are accurate or not (and even if they are, it's really easy to make a tiny apartment look big in pictures). I had also heard horror stories about brokers posting fake apartments online to reel in clients, and then mysteriously pulling the apt off the market once someone is interested, just to get their contact info. SHADY.
Even after hearing some terrible things about brokers, I quickly learned that I couldn't navigate the listings myself. I researched reputable brokers, mostly on the review site Yelp. I found a company called Anchor Associates that had good reviews, and I liked their website because they were very up front about their fees. I wanted to feel like I could trust my broker. I didn't mind spending money on someone to help make appointments and help me through the process, but I didn't want to feel like they were being sneaky, or trying to get extra money somehow.
I ended up working with Andrew Vo, who was great. He wasn't pushy at all, and was very patient when I looked at 25+ apartments. His job isn't easy, and I honestly wouldn't have found my awesome apartment without him.
I also saw some real hell-hole apartments. Dingy, dirty and small. I went into the search knowing that I would be down-sizing (a ton), but some apartments were shocking. I wish I had taken pictures of some of the terrible ones. But I did take some that I actually liked. Here are some of the runner-ups:
In the end, none of these worked out. It was very frustrating at the time, but it worked out for the better. I ended up finding an apartment in my price range that was way better for me. Stay tuned for pics of the winning apartment. Let me know if you have any questions about moving to NYC from out of state!