So, you’re starting the hunt for a new place. The NYC rental market can be extremely fast-moving. Never let an agent rush you into making a decision about an apartment, but understand that there is ALWAYS the possibility that an apartment you love could be lost to someone else if you take a night to think about whether you really want it.
The best thing you can do to prepare for seeing a new place is to have your application items on hand. This way, if you find yourself standing in your dream home, you can stake your claim to it on the spot.
Get a large folder and put the following items into it:
- Photo ID – ok, you can keep this in your wallet 🙂
- Letter of employment (stating your salary) on company letterhead
- 3 recent pay stubs
- Last year’s tax return
- 3 recent bank statements (hopefully these statements show that you have some money!)
- A blank check
Most management companies will ask for some combination of these items. For example, most places will not request your tax return. However, if you are self-employed or a freelancer, this will replace the pay stubs and the letter of employment.
The bank statement may help you to overcome a not-so-hot credit score or a salary that comes in slightly under the standard requirement of 40x the monthly rent. Sometimes, bank statements are required, sometimes not.
And the blank check is for the $50-$100 it will cost the management company to run your credit check. This is generally known as the application fee. TIP!: If an application fee is significantly higher than $100 (let’s say it’s in excess of $175), you can certainly question what the charges will cover. Don’t ever let yourself be swindled, just because you were uncomfortable about pressing someone for information. Everything is negotiable!
Once you submit your application materials, the approval process should be fast. Ask your point of contact how long it should be before you hear back, and then make sure you touch base at that given time. If you don’t hear anything, call them. In some instances, your real estate agent or management company will be able to run your credit check on the same day you apply. In these situations, assuming your documentation is all favorable, you may be able to leave a security deposit that will hold the apartment for you until you sign your lease. Typically, though, you’ll be paying the first month’s rent and security deposit at the lease signing. This means that in the interim, you really need to stay on top of your status as an applicant. I have seen situations where my friends have waited to hear back from agents, only to find out a week later that the agent rented the apartment out to someone else. There are no guarantees in this business, and you don’t want to lose a place you love just because you didn’t follow up.
Have a unique situation that I didn’t cover here? Drop me a line, and I’d love to help out in any way that I can.