Moving to NYC: Where Do You Want to Live?


Arial view of New York City at Night. Image by Unsplash


Even though historians insist New York City started as a small settlement, it's almost impossible to imagine the Big Apple as anything but a thriving metropolis. Comprised of five boroughs, over 8 million people call NYC home, and soon you'll be one of them.

As you're planning your move to New York City, there's a lot for you to consider. However, there's something you need to do before contacting a moving service. The first thing to figure out is where you're going to live. After all, you need to be able to tell the movers where to deliver your belongings.


Figure Out Your Budget

Buying property in NYC is way out of most people's budgets. Renting is usually the way to go but this also isn't exactly cheap. Most landlords look for tenants bringing in around 40 times the cost of the monthly rent. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, you're probably going to need to find a roommate or a co-signer.

If the combined income of you and a roommate still isn't enough to satisfy the landlord, your co-signer helps ensure your rent will be paid on time. However, you can't grab just anyone to cosign on your lease.
This individual usually must be a close relative of either you or your roommate.

Oh, and be prepared for credit checks, this includes the potential co-signer. Everyone may not need to have outstanding credit but they should have at least a good or acceptable FICO score.

Your potential landlord may require your co-signer to live in the city or at least the state. If you're moving to NYC from another state, it may be difficult to find someone to act as a co-signer who also meets the landlord's requirements. This doesn't mean you can't still find a place to live in NYC, only you may need to lower your expectations a little bit. Some neighborhoods and boroughs are more affordable than others.


Pick a Neighborhood

Pretty much everyone thinks of Manhattan when they're searching for places to live. From the casual vibe you get in the Upper West Side to the edgy Lower East Side, Manhattan has something for everyone.

The East Village has an artsy flair and also offers plenty of affordable housing. Harlem is another Manhattan neighborhood to consider, it's popular with young professionals looking for rentals on a budget.

Don't forget, there are four other boroughs to consider. Brooklyn is attracting young renters and has a hip vibe and a happening night scene. Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island are other options. All are often more affordable than Manhattan.

Don't worry, you can easily get into Manhattan from any of the other boroughs. NYC has an impressive public transportation system running day and night.


Choose a Place to Live

We already discussed NYC's often high rental prices, so if you can afford to live solo with or without a cosigner, go ahead and find an apartment. Remember, you have five boroughs and multiple neighborhoods to choose from, so take your time and weigh your options carefully.

A good way of narrowing down your options is to make a list of your must-haves. For example, do you need to be close to public transportation? Maybe you want to be close to all of the action the city has to offer. Figuring out what you really need in an apartment location can help you find the ideal neighborhood.

If you need a roommate to help cover rent, a good place to start is with friends or family already living in the city or planning on making the move. If you're new to the Big Apple, another option is checking the ads–yes, people place advertisements searching for roommates. If you do decide to go this route, do your homework, which includes background and credit checks on any potential roommates.

Another affordable option is to move into a sublet or a vacant room. Yes, even established New Yorkers occasionally need help paying their rent or mortgage. By renting a room, you typically have access to a shared kitchen, bathroom, and living area. Rent is usually cheap, even if you're sharing the utility bills.

A sublet can be a little more expensive, and time can be an issue. Eventually, the original tenant is going to want their space back, but it can give you some extra time to find your own place.


Finding Your Place in New York City

With a little research, you can find the perfect place to call home in New York City. You may start off renting a room or subletting, but it's a start. Just take your time choosing a location and remember your budget.

Explore different neighborhoods to find the one that suits your lifestyle best. Before long, you'll feel like the Big Apple is home, and you'll be navigating the city like a local.