Go to StreetEasy.com
StreetEasy Guides Logo

Moving to New York?

If you're moving to New York City, get ready to deal with one of the most confusing and expensive real estate markets in the world.

Already live here? Then, it might be less confusing, but it’s even more expensive than the last time you moved. Let’s get started.

Who’s moving?

Are you moving solo, with a roommate, or several people? Just remember the more people involved, the more difficult to reach consensus on just about anything. But, the upside is it will be cheaper to have a roommate and share space.  

What features?

List the features and amenities you and your roommate care about the most and those you care about the least.  Define deal breakers and makers (e.g., “Can’t be higher than a three-floor walkup,” or “Need to have an in-unit washer/dryer.”)  

When are you moving?

Pick a move-in date and a move-out date. This is usually based off several factors such as:

  • When your lease is up
  • When school starts for your kids (or, you)
  • When you (and your roommates) can actually move

Where do you want to live?

Ideally, you should be within walking distance to a subway. Like most big cities, New York is a city of neighborhoods that differ widely in terms of price point and lifestyle. Important factors to keep in mind are:

  • Access to transportation
  • Distance to your office or to your child’s school
  • Demographic of residents
  • Noise levels
  • Proximity to parks and access to local amenities that are important to you (i.e., grocery stores, gyms, religious centers, etc.)

What about my car?

It’s also important to note that in New York City, you probably need to ditch your car. Unless you are rich and can afford parking, or if you are hell-bent on having a car, most people avoid driving and rely on the subway to get around. For this reason alone, living near a subway line or within comfortable walking distance to your job or school is ultra-important.

A 30- to 40-minute commute is about average, but times can reach as long as an hour or more if you live outside the main five boroughs of New York (i.e., Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island).

Lastly, don’t let a broker, parent, or significant other try to convince you to live somewhere you don’t want to live, or can’t afford to live. You’ll be happy you stuck to your budget when you realize you can eat out once in a while and still pay your bills.

How much do you pay?

Set a price range that is realistic for you to live in this insanely expensive city. Just a heads up that landlords will be looking very closely at your financials and ability to pay. A general rule of thumb is in order to sign a lease in NYC without a guarantor, you need an income 40 times the monthly rent. So, for a $3,000 rental, you should have a minimum income of $120,000.

Tip: Stick to your guns and find an apartment close to your budget. Trust us, trying to pay the rent and having no money to take a cab – EVER – is a morale-killer.


Share this article

Find Your NYC Apartment

StreetEasy has the largest set of real estate listings for New York City