NYC can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. If you’re heading off to the big city or are the parent of someone who is, here are a few tips to help you find an apartment and start life off on the right foot.

Let’s do this!

Budgeting, Paying Rent on Time

First apartment? Create a budget early on so you’ll know how much you’ll be able to allocate to rent. Look for apps like Dave Ramsey or You Need a Budget for tips on rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment, etc.

Roommate or Solo?

Ready for a culture shock? NY apartments can be really small and expensive. Studio apartments in New York City (rooms with kitchenette and bathroom) run $1,100 to $2,500/month. Expect 150-400 square feet. They’re dorm size. If you like privacy – awesome!


  • Check for deadbolt and chain locks, fire escapes, window locks, bars and gates if ground level.
  • Check for well-lit lobbies and stairs, inspected elevators, security doors with buzzers, secure locks, security cameras, etc.
  • Check online news for crime.
  • Look for laundromats, restaurants, bus stops and train stations, police stations, a library, shops, deli, hospital, houses of worship, gyms, bike paths, or parks.
  • View apartments when you’re ready to give a deposit. They go fast, but don’t pick the first place.
  • Visit at night. Is it safe? Are the walls thin? Ask building tenants about the area.


    • Create a written contract outlining terms including rent, utilities, phone, etc.
    • Outline communal spaces: the living room, kitchen and bath only.
    • Check for room door locks. Add one. If one already exists, change it.
    • Check roommate references. Ask neighbors. Confirm jobs. You don’t want them hitting you up for loans or hitting on you for favors.
    • Don’t give cash for utilities. Buy a Staples receipt book.
    • For strangers, run free background checks. Ask for ID. NYers have reported heavy drinkers, items stolen, drunk boyfriends popping up, hidden room cameras, etc.


When to Call Mom

You miss her cooking and family time.

You just wanted to say hi and that everything is okay.

You just saw the biggest water bug and he refuses to leave.

When It’s Better to Call the Super Instead

The water bug now has a friend.

You see a ceiling leak or the tub or toilet is flooding.

There’s a light out in the lobby, elevator, stairwell or elsewhere.

General safety tips include:

      • Blend: NYers dress down with inconspicuous over-shoulder bags and umbrellas, water, snacks, and IDs.
      • Don’t carry purses or wallets. Hide money on your person.
      • Don’t carry maps, cash or phones openly like tourists. Stay in groups.
      • Don’t walk while talking on your phone or with headphones on.
      • In bars, don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
      • Language barrier? Travel in groups.
      • Keep cash, ID, birth certificates, computers, electronics, passports and visas in safes.
      • New Yorkers can push. Don’t push back.
      • Research areas with maps and landmarks before visiting.
      • Walk away from strangers starting conversations.

What Is a Guarantor?

To rent one of our apartments, you’re going to need one of these. A guarantor can be a parent who can cosign your lease. They’ll backstop you in case you can’t (or don’t) pay the rent.

Whether you’re headed to NYC for a summer job, internship or just moving off campus, you’re going to want to look for an apartment that’s walking distance or an easy commute. Search our listings of available apartments or give us a call and speak with a Leasing Associate. We’ll help you find the perfect apartment that works within your budget and meets all your other requirements. IT ALL STARTS HERE.