Want to spend a ton of money on something that will probably leave you frazzled and frustrated?
Rent your first apartment in New York City.
“The entry-level rental market in most cities, but particularly in New York, is actually a horrible thing to navigate for most millennials,” says Next Step Realty CEO Blair Brandt. “However, millennials and entry-level people tend to also have the least amount of resources and guidance.”
However, Brandt, who was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, says that there are certain steps you can take to mitigate the confusion and costs that come with renting your first apartment in the Big Apple.
Here are his biggest mistakes to avoid:
1. Starting to look too soon
“People will often come here at a time that’s not really correct for their move-in date,” Brandt says. “You move in June 1 and you show up on April 15. The apartments for June 1 aren’t available yet. You’ve wasted a trip to the city to come look for an apartment.”
So, what’s the optimal time to apartment hunt? In general, it’s best to come in about a month before your move-in date. In the summer, you have to keep seasonal fluctuations in mind: Let’s say that June 1 is your move-in date. According to Brandt, May 1 through May 5 will be the craziest time in the market, when apartments come up for rent. He recommends coming into town between May 5 and May 10.
However, if timing isn’t an issue, you’d save more money by holding out ’til the winter.
2. Leaving paperwork to the last minute
Brandt broke down a hypothetical scenario for Business Insider:
You’ve found your dream apartment — or, at least, something close enough. There’s just one problem. You forgot to bring any of the documents you need to finalise the purchase. Make no mistake, the New York rental scene is a vicious jungle. While you’re out scrounging around for all that required documentation, someone else might just swoop in and swipe the place.
You have to have the paperwork on hand. Naked Apartments broke down a helpful checklist of all the paperwork you’ll need to snag that apartment and avoid missing out.