Living in the heart of New York City means living in a vibrant, eclectic, "city never sleeps" kinda place. It also means that your cost of living is roughly double the average cost of living in the United States. New York City is the tenth most expensive place to live in the world. Rents are astronomical in NYC. Nowhere in the US is property so valuable. This can be augmented by the proximity to downtown and location within a neighborhood, as while as the condition and amenities of the apartment, but as a whole housing is very pricey within the city. Demand far exceeds supply, and the average rent for a 1 Bedroom New York apartment in August 2008 was $3,488. Finding a roommate can make apartments much more affordable, with 2 bedrooms costing $4,043 and 3 bedroom apartments around $4,705.
Between May and September, demand is at its highest as people move into the city to begin new jobs. From December till April demand goes down, as do prices.
For up-to-date information on New York Real estate, go to http://ny.therealdeal.com/.
To get the area you want for a price you can live with a simple formula may be employed. Divide your monthly income (after tax) income by three. Not much more than a third of your income should go to rent to insure that you can pay for the cost of living. If this figure doesn't net you the desired lifestyle you still have options. Make more money, consider a different neighborhood, or consider a different living arrangement by taking a roommate.
To calculate these expenses, there are many cost of living calculators available:
NYC is a city that is ever-changing, with each neighborhood hosting its own unique personality and community. The buildings, people, and events vary widely from place to place, and finding the right neighborhood can be like finding your soul mate.
Traveling through New York can be incredibly confusing as the neighborhoods are sometimes geographically named, like "Upper East Side", sometimes refer to the people, "Chinatown", and sometimes are acronyms, like TriBeCa (for "TRIangle BElow CAnal Street") or SoHo ("SOuth of HOuston"). To understand the neighborhoods, here is a brief premier on Manhattan geography and terminology:
Uptown: means north-northeast, which is the direction in which the island and its street grid system is oriented. The term also refers to the northern part of Manhattan (generally speaking, above 59th Street
Downtown: refers to south-southwest. This usage differs from that of most American cities, where downtown refers to the central business district. Manhattan has two central business districts, the Financial District at the southern tip of the island, and Midtown Manhattan. Downtown can also refer to the southern portion of the island below 14th Street.
Midtown: covers the middle area, generally between above 14th and below 59th. East/west designations: Fifth Avenue roughly bisects Manhattan Island and acts as the demarcation line for (e.g., East 27th Street, West 42nd Street); street addresses start at Fifth Avenue and increase heading away from Fifth Avenue, at a rate of 100 per block in most places. South of Waverly Place in Manhattan, Fifth Avenue terminates and Broadway becomes the east/west demarcation line. Though the grid does start with 1st Street, just north of Houston Street (pronounced HOW-stin), the grid does not fully take hold until north of 14th Street, where nearly all east-west streets use numeric designations, which increase from south to north to 220th Street, the highest numbered street on the island.
New York City is composed of five boroughs. Throughout the boroughs, there are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.
Manhattan is the heart of the city with 1,620,867 people. It is the most densely populated borough with people as well as skyscrapers. The borough is the financial center of the city, houses the United Nations, important universities, and many cultural attractions. Manhattan is loosely divided into Lower, Midtown, and Uptown regions. Uptown Manhattan is divided by Central Park into the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, and above the park is Harlem.
For an example of some of Manhattan's most identifiable neighborhoods:
Chelsea: offers a large gay district and charming little streets with luxurious homes. Most recently, the neighborhood has been a center of New York's art industry and nightlife.
Chinatown: the biggest Chinese city out of Asia, Chinatown has a dense population of people of Chinese descent. To find out more about the area, go to www.explorechinatown.com/.
Little Italy and Nolita: This area is especially popular with visitors during the Feast of San Gennaro in September. The neighborhood is packed with restaurants, shops, and old-world charm. To find out more about the area, go to www.littleitalynyc.com/.
Soho: what used to be an ancient manufacturing quarter is now a hot spot for artists and night-clubbers with a multitude of upscale shops. http://www.sohonyc.com/
TriBeCa: Famous for its warehouses and artists' lofts, Tribeca is mostly a quiet residential area known for its film festival.
Greenwich Village: Also known as the West Village, this area has a distinct bohemian vibe. A great neighborhood to explore when you want to escape Manhattan's crowded streets and tall skyscrapers. More information at http://www.nycgv.com/.
Upper East Side: This is the ritziest, most expensive area of town and tends to be safe and quiet. This is also home to Museum Mile and excellent shopping. Also features convenient subway and bus service, as well as some of Manhattan's swankiest hotels. Neighborhood guide atwww.uppereast.com/.
East village: Famous for punk-rock, great bars and its immigrant history, the East Village is a an exciting place to be. To find out more, go to http://www.east-village.com/.
Lower East Side: New York City's historic Jewish neighborhood was once the largest Jewish community in the world. Today, it is home to great bargain shopping, bialys and delicious pastrami sandwiches.
Harlem: Though the neighborhoods name comes from the Dutch colonial era after Haarlem, the area has long known as a major African American cultural and business center.
Upper West Side: Primarily a residential and shopping area, this neighborhood is regarded as more hip than the Upper East side. It is characterized as more intellectual and creative and less stuffy.
The four other boroughs are easily reached by NYC metro and often thousands of dollars cheaper then within Manhattan. Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island can all receive a bad rap for not being in downtown, but the benefits of larger living spaces, the neighborhoods own identifiable characteristics, and the chance to unwind from the hectic center have always drawn a large population.
The Bronx: New York City's northernmost borough is one of the epicenters of rap and hip-hop culture. It is also the site of Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees. The largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States, Co-op City, is located here. The Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, is also here.
Brooklyn: is the city's most populous borough and was an independent city until 1898. Brooklyn is known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, and a unique architectural heritage. It is also the only borough outside of Manhattan with a distinct downtown area and also has a long beachfront. Coney Island, established in the 1870s, is one of the earliest amusement grounds in the country.
Queens : This is the geographically largest borough and the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. Historically a collection of small towns and villages founded by the Dutch, today the borough is largely residential and middle class and expanding rapidly. It is the only large county in the United States where the median income among African Americans, approximately $52,000 a year, is higher than that of White Americans. Queens is the site of Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets. Queens also supports New York City's two major airports, LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Staten Island : This borough is the most suburban of the five boroughs. Connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan via the free Staten Island Ferry, it is its own island. The Greenbelt has some 35 miles (56 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt encompasses seven city parks. The F.D.R. Boardwalk along South Beach is two and one-half miles long, which is the fourth largest in the world.
The following sites offer maps of NYC and a brief description of the various neighborhoods:
There are many different apartments and many different ways to search and rent one. Here are a couple of options:
BROKER: In general, using a broker is a great idea if you are arranging a rental from out-of-town, or have more money than time. In New York City the market is highly competitive and it is very difficult to find the perfect apartment. Because demand is so high, many apartments are never listed and are just rented to clients of rental companies. A broker is responsible for finding apartments that fit your criteria and making appointments to fit your schedule. They save you the trouble of filing through expired listings, and "ghost" apartments that have been placed simply to entice to working with an expensive broker. For this convenience, the agency will usually take about 15% commission on the annual rent of the apartment.
Brokers are easy to come by in the yellow pages, or city search. However, it can save you thousands to have a good broker so pay attention to reviews by former customers and who recommends a company's service. Ask your friends and family if they have used a broker they could recommend. If you are employed with a company they may have a broker they work with and you may be able to use them by contacting your human resources department to use the broker your company uses.
ON-LINE LISTING: There are a variety of on-line forums and community listings in which people will list their places or larger companies offer their apartments. Most searches are free and the selection is massive.
Some examples are:
Apartmentratings.com shows ratings from real people to help you find a home you will love.
VILLAGE VOICE: This popular weekly newspaper includes events, opinions, and classifieds. The website offers daily additions that can be checked out here.
BULLETIN BOARDS: On college campuses, churches, grocery stores, schools, bus stops and outside community centers there are often boards available for posting local ads. This gives you an idea of the neighborhood as well as some useful leads on apartments.
DRIVING AROUND: Many places are listed by simply placing a sign in front of the apartment. Sometimes only a number is listed so it can be helpful to write notes about the place and call the number on your cell phone. If a building without signs seems promising and you are not in a rush to move, you can try to locate the superintendant and ask about future availabilities. Many buildings offer a waiting list for prospective tenants.
An important trait in any roommate situation is having boundaries and a clear understanding of what each roommate requires. To protect yourself against potential problems should the worst happen, try to arrange it so that your roommates co-sign the lease. This makes all the roommates responsible for whatever happens to the property. If the worst was to happen, such as your roommate losing their job and not being able to pay rent, they will be held financially responsible- not you.
Hostels are often the best option when interested in low cost accommodations, especially if you are between the ages of 18-25. www.hostels.com/us.ny.ny.html and www.hostelhandbook.com/usa/nynyc.htm are just two sites that offer searches for hostels in NYC. Central Park Hostel, Big Apple Hostel, American Dream Hostel, and Chelsea International Hostel are all excellent hostel options.
Looking for cheap accommodation in New York City isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.
To learn more about the property caretaking field, and all the rent-free housesitting assignments available worldwide, go to The Caretaker Gazette’s website at http://www.caretaker.org