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13 Sep 2017

It’s well known among New Yorkers that even the most enthusiastic transplants will eventually face a moment of reckoning, and the culprit is often those infamously tiny Big Apple apartments. Even when you’re lucky enough to snag your dream pad, it’s still easy to feel the culture shock if you’ve never lived in such a densely populated city before.

Whether you’re just getting the apartment hunt started or are settling into your new home among the skyscrapers, here are five important tips for renters in the city that never sleeps.

Redecorating Is Usually Mandatory

If you’ve spent much time viewing apartments, you’ve probably noticed that the hallmark of a New York City apartment is the archaeological evidence of dozens of paint layers on all the molding and trim work.

Throwing up a fresh coat of paint is a rite of passage for local tenants and a good way to make sure you feel right at home. Stick to light colors and careful shading to make your rooms feel open and airy, but don’t be afraid to go wild with bold accent walls when appropriate.

Get Ready to Walk

If you’ve lived a life in rural towns or the suburbs, you’ll likely be shocked by the amount of walking required in New York city. Whether it’s hiking to the subway station or schlepping to your sixth-story walk-up, you’re sure to get plenty of cardio one way or another.

Shoe management is likely to become a regular part of your life, so take a tip from the locals and set up a shoe station right near your door. In smaller, more intimate buildings, many New Yorkers even keep their shoes on the exterior landing, but a shoe rack inside the front door works just as well to prevent tracking street grime into the house. Additionally, get used to carrying an extra pair of shoes if you work somewhere with a professional dress code, since you’ll regret having nothing but a pair of tight dress shoes when walking sneakers are called for.

Always Aim to Downsize

Storage and living space are at a premium in the Big Apple, so get used to culling your collections. Ideally, you’ll engage in a round of aggressive downsizing before you start packing to move into your new apartment. But even once you’ve moved, it’s a good idea to take stock at the end of every season. Paperwork and other disposables are frequent clutter culprits, along with worn-out or outdated clothing.

To make the most of your space, do as the locals do and rent a self-storage unit ASAP, then split your belongings into warm weather and cold weather categories and keep the off-season junk stashed away for half the year.

Embrace Open Spaces

Claustrophobia is inevitable in the city, so do everything you can to give yourself room to breathe. Most locals take every opportunity to visit open spaces, whether it’s one of the many parks scattered around the city or just an open plaza with benches to eat your lunch on.

Avoid the rookie mistake of trying to replicate the feeling of many-roomed exurban homes by splitting your apartment up with shelves or movable walls and, instead, delineate spaces in your abode with smart decorative choices that don’t obstruct sightlines, especially those leading to your windows.

Avoid the Fee

Of course, these tips only apply if you already have the apartment. If you’re looking, NoFee Rentals is the best place to start, with studios, one bedrooms and larger shares in many neighborhoods around the city. And, because we own and manage our own properties, there’s never a fee.  Ready to move? Click here.

3 Sep 2017

Living in New York can be exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t need access to a car, helicopter or private jet to take a break from the city. Enjoying a little nature and the beauty that the legendary New York fall season has to offer is less than an hour away in many cases. Whether you just want to put some mileage on your MetroCard or splurge on a Metro North or LIRR ticket for a quick day trip or weekend getaway, there are convenient and affordable options for every schedule, lifestyle and budget.

Quick Getaways From NYC That Don’t Require a Car

If NYC has everything a cosmopolitan city dweller can ask for day and night, heading just slightly north brings the city and country life right into balance. With the help of public transportation, you can enjoy a weekend of apple picking, kayaking on the Hudson, or enjoying some wine and live music in an orchard or vineyard.

First stop:

Warwick, NY

Head over to Port Authority, jump on a New Jersey transit bus, and arrive in Warwick in less time than it might take you to commute from Brooklyn to Midtown during rush hour. Warwick was doing farmers markets before they were cool and is home to some of the best orchards and apple picking in southern New York state. A popular destination for families and adults of all ages, the area offers a number of vineyards, hiking trails and skiing options when the temps start to drop. It’s close enough to make it a day trip, or you can spend the weekend if you want to get a taste of Woodstock but prefer to stay a little closer to home.

Check out:

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach and its more famous neighbor Coney Island need no introduction to New Yorkers, especially during the summer months when people from every corner of the five boroughs and beyond brave the masses to experience a little sand and surf (without leaving the city limits). Once the crowds have dissipated after Labor Day, a weekend trip to Brighton Beach is the perfect getaway if you don’t want to venture outside the five boroughs or go anywhere beyond where a MetroCard can take you. You’ll have vast expanses of clean sand to yourself and the ability to enjoy one of the few neighborhoods left in Brooklyn that hasn’t been completely transformed by gentrification (but don’t worry, it has a Starbucks and a Chase). Splurge on some vodka, knishes and caviar on the boardwalk with OG Russians, and then take a stroll down to Astroland to ride the Cyclone and take a few snaps in front of the Ferris wheel for your Instagram.

Hop on the Q train and check out:

Beacon, NY

Like Warwick, Beacon is about an hour away from NYC on the Metro North from Grand Central but offers a respite from city life with a number of galleries, bars, hiking trails, water sports and live music options, especially if you have a soft spot for early American Revolutionary history.

Check out:


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23 Aug 2017
Photo credit @lisaiannarino via Twenty20

Congratulations! Finding an apartment in New York City isn’t easy, but at last you have a place to call home. Here’s a few quick tips to help you make a smooth transition to apartment life.

1. Face Time

Living alone for the first time is an exciting milestone in anyone’s life. It’s a chance to become more self-reliant, make your own rules, and explore your personal style. It’s also a little scary; you might be spending more time alone than you ever have before.

Create a routine that includes getting out and about regularly. Frequent local shops and cafes, introduce yourself to the neighbors, and join local community events. Invite your friends over — a lot. Make the most of this experience to develop your social skills, face to face to face.

2. Roommates

Sharing your apartment can be just as much fun as it looks on those classic television shows, if you find the right roommate. But don’t rush into this new relationship. Compatibility is important, and so is dependability; an error in judgment or a misunderstanding about commitment could mean more expenses for you.

Find out up front what might be deal breakers for each of you, and don’t let small annoyances simmer. Choose your “compromise zones” — usually shared spaces, such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room — and reach a mutual understanding about decorating and maintaining them.

3. Keeping House

You don’t need to break the bank to turn your apartment into home, sweet home. Throw pillows or an area rug are inexpensive ways to personalize the space, while lamps and accent lights in key places help create a warm atmosphere. If you’re sharing the apartment, go shopping together to find items you can agree on, especially for those compromise zones.

Keeping the apartment and appliances clean saves problems in the long run, and it’s essential for healthy living, both physically and mentally. Don’t let the chores build up — find a system that works for you, turn on some music and get down to it.

Related: 5 Key Organizational Tips for Tiny New York Apartments

4. Storage

A New York City apartment probably means adjusting to living in a more compact scale than you might be accustomed to. At first it seems like you have much more stuff than space, but assessing storage possibilities will soon be second nature to you. Take advantage of the move to cull dead weight, and aim for charming instead of cramped when you decorate.

Use design techniques that make the space seem larger, such as limiting the color palette and placing mirrors strategically to reflect light. Clutter-free surfaces help create the illusion of space, too. Some furniture items can double as storage or be hidden away when not in use. Maximize vertical storage solutions to keep floor space clear — hooks and shelving are practical and can also be visually striking features.

5. That Safety Habit

No matter how safe the neighborhood is, it’s wise to cultivate a habit of safety. If it locks, lock it; always lock your door and windows — and yes, that goes for apartments above the first floor, too. You should know all the potential routes around the apartment and where the emergency exits are from any point inside the building.

You don’t have to be nosy, but be aware of the general habits of your neighbors so that you’ll recognize when any activity is out of the ordinary. If you have a roommate, you should discuss a safety plan with him or her, including locking the door, not giving away keys and being careful about who enters your home.

Related: Dealing With Obnoxious Neighbors

What? Still looking for that perfect apartment? Chances are we have just what you need. Click here to search

14 Aug 2017

Chelsea sits on New York City’s West Side in the borough of Manhattan and is one of the most desirable neighborhoods these days. It is named after the 18th-century estate of British Major Thomas Clarke, the original developer of what was once farmland owned by Dutch settlers. Clarke left this parcel and home to his daughter, who, in turn, left it to her son Clement Clarke Moore, the author of the famous poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Moore sold lots on his estate to wealthy New Yorkers who built row houses in the early 1800s, some of which stand today and form the core of the Chelsea Historic District between 8th Avenue and 10th Avenue, from 20th to 22nd Street.

Chelsea’s Artistic Pedigree

Chelsea is also home to several historic apartment complexes and the storied Hotel Chelsea, which once was the city’s tallest building. The Hotel Chelsea has been the home of famous artists and writers, such as Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Madonna and Leonard Cohen. It’s scheduled to reopen as a hotel in 2018.

Infused With Art

Chelsea happens to be the premier art gallery district, with New York City’s greatest concentration of galleries between 10th and 11th Avenues, from 19th Street to 28th Street. In addition, high-fashion boutiques, including Balenciaga, Comme des Garcons, Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin and Stella McCartney, also reside in the neighborhood.

Chelsea Market, taking up an entire block between 15th and 16th Streets, from 9th Avenue to 10th Avenue, is the location of high-end eateries, ground-floor culinary markets and big-league media company offices. Many of the city’s largest nightclubs are on 27th Street, and the well-known High Line park runs from 30th Street to below 14th Street, close to 10th Avenue. Chelsea has a thriving LGBTQ community, and myriad businesses cater to it.

Performance and Theater

If you like theater or performance art, The Kitchen, Joyce Theater and Sleep No More/McKittrick Hotel venues offer cutting-edge experiences, while New York Live Arts on 19th Street presents dance performances by the Arnie Zane and Bill T. Jones dance companies. The Rubin Museum of Art on 17th Street features a permanent collection of Himalayan and Tibetan art, as well as rotating exhibitions by notable contemporary artists.

Schools, Recreation and Stores

Chelsea also features some of the city’s best paper, photography, home goods and grocery stores. Many local and foreign shoppers flock to outlets B&H Photo Video and Adorama for their electronics needs. The School of the Visual Arts (SVA) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) are located in Chelsea, and the area is also the headquarters for many industrial companies that fill warehouse space on the far West Side.

Chelsea Piers is a sports and recreation complex along the Hudson River that includes ice skating rinks, golf driving ranges, rock climbing walls and baseball batting cages. The city’s Hudson Yards office, retail and residential development is currently under construction in Chelsea between 30th and 34th Streets, running from 10th to 12th Avenue, and is scheduled for completion by 2024.

Easy Access

To access Chelsea, you can take the 7 train directly to 34th Street and 11th Avenue or the L train to 14th Street and 8th Avenue. Alternatively, the A, D, E, F, N, Q, 1 and 2 trains run through Chelsea on a North-South axis and feature a number of convenient stations in the neighborhood. The PATH train allows direct access to New Jersey, and, in the Northeast corner of the neighborhood, Penn Station offers trains to Long Island and other destinations.

Live in Chelsea

No Fee Rentals has a wide selection of full-featured apartments in Chelsea and other Manhattan neighborhoods at competitive prices. Check out our listings, and skip paying a broker’s fee!

30 Jul 2017
Entertaining in Small Spaces (and on a budget)

Living in New York has tons of perks. It’s easy to go out with friends and have the time of your life every night — but what if you want to have people over at your home? Entertaining in a small apartment may seem like a challenge, but it’s actually possible to have a great time in your small space — without having to put a ton of effort (or cash) into doing it.

Here are some great tips for entertaining in small spaces (and on a budget), so you can welcome friends and loved ones into your space — and have a party that’s comfortable, festive and fun!

Be Inventive With Seating

Only have a couch and two dining chairs? Fear not. You can still have a party where everyone can sit comfortably. Get creative with seating options — use a stool, ottoman or even small end tables for people to sit on and converse. You can add throw pillows onto them to make them even more comfortable.

Do it Potluck Style

If you want to host a dinner party for friends, your tiny apartment kitchen might be too small to cook a full meal that will feed everyone. Instead, do it potluck style. Assign everyone a dish or course to bring, and then everyone gets to taste what everyone else made. This is a great way to save money on a dinner party — and ensure you don’t have too many dishes to wash at the end!

Don’t Forget Temperature Control

Packing people into a small space means there’s a lot of body heat in one place, and a small apartment can get really hot during a party. Before the party starts, open all of the windows you can, and turn on your air conditioning window units and fans. This will ensure the apartment is comfortable while everyone socializes.

Move the Couch

Do you have a couch that sections off your living room from the rest of the apartment, or chairs that are in the middle of your living for lounging? If so, push it (and any other furniture floating in the middle of the room) against the walls. This gives people more room to move about and mingle. This is especially important if you’re planning to host a dance party in your space!

Designate a Spot for Peoples’ Belongings

Don’t have people’s coats, hats, purses, shoes and other items taking up precious socializing space. Instead, designate a place where people can stash their stuff while they’re at your home. Try picking somewhere like your bed or a linen closet where they are out of the way. That way, you can have more space to sit and move about — and everyone will remember where their stuff is when it’s time to leave (and after they’ve had a glass of wine or two).

Now that you know how you can entertain your friends in a small city apartment, it’s time to find the apartment that’s right for you. Check out the apartments available on No Fee Rentals to see if you can find the perfect living space. One of the perks of renting from No Fee Rentals? You don’t have to pay a pesky real estate broker’s fee, so you can have more money to enjoy the city and throw great parties for your friends.

26 Jul 2017

5 Tips for Renting an Apartment Sight Unseen

Moving to a new apartment in the city can be an extremely exciting venture — but it can also be overwhelming and stressful, particularly if you don’t have a chance to visit and look at apartments before you have to move. Sometimes school or work can get in the way of actually being able to check out apartments in person — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t rent one. In fact, there are lots of easy ways you can look at and rent an apartment in the city, even from afar. Here are some of the best tips for renting an apartment sight unseen.

1. Use Google Maps

One of the best features of Google Maps is its Street View feature. Street View allows you to see what an area actually looks like on the street (using pictures it has captured of nearly every block in New York City!) When you see an apartment you’re interested in listen online, go to Google Maps, type in the address and check out the street view around it. You can check out how the building looks on the outside, as well as what establishments are in the neighborhood and if you like how the area looks and feels.

2. Ask a Friend to Visit For You

If you have friends or family in the city, they can be a great resource if you are trying to rent an apartment from afar. Have them go and meet with building management or landlords and walk through the apartment for you. Have them send you pictures or videos and get them to ask the questions you would ask before you rent an apartment. If you send a friend you trust, you should be able to get a good idea of whether the apartment is the right fit for you.

3. Take Advantage of Facetime

If you are sending a friend to look at an apartment for you, or a realtor or management company representative is looking at an apartment for you, have them use Facetime or other video chatting software to walk you through the apartment in real time. Using video chatting software can make it feel like you’re taking a tour of the place yourself, and it can give you a better idea of what it feels like to be in the space.

4. Try a Short-Term Lease

We have an entire section on our website dedicated to short-term rentals, meaning less than a year. You’ll find different sized apartments in a variety of great neighborhoods. If you’re commitment shy, they’re a great way to get comfortable.

Whether for school, work or just to try out being a New Yorker, many of our tenants come from great distances and rent sight unseen. We understand that renting in the city has its challenges, particularly if you’re remote. However, renting sight unseen isn’t impossible and we’re here to help. By keeping a few tricks up your sleeve, you can get the feel of your new digs from afar — and end up with a place that you love.