Each of the apartments below was featured in one of our New York newsletters for the week of June 6. If you’re interested, follow up with the contact person in the listing; we have not confirmed since the time the newsletter was sent out that the apartments are available. Things move fast in New York!
We believe RentHop is a great tool for finding and renting your next apartment. When the time came for me to find a new apartment in New York, it was obvious that I should use RentHop to find it. This is my first-hand account of my experience using our site to find an apartment. Spoiler: it worked!
Step 1: What do I need, and what do I want?
I needed a studio or one bedroom. My priorities were: finding an apartment with a rent concession (where the owner pays an inducement to the renter); completing the search quickly; keeping my rent low (no more than two-thirds of my previous rent); and keeping my commute under 30 minutes by mass transit. I also had some nice-to-haves – I wanted to remain on the east side of Manhattan if possible, to have a super on-site (or a doorman), and to have a dishwasher, gas range and full-size refrigerator. When I started I was still working out my move-in date.
Given my tight timeline I was willing to pay for a manager to guide my search. It was important, though, to offset that with a rent concession.
Step 2: Picking out apartments – and neighborhoods – that fit
I first used our Rental Heatmaps to find neighborhoods with a decent selection of studios and one-bedrooms in my price range. I looked for neighborhoods where the median rents for studios and one bedrooms were at or around my target. Neighborhoods where my target rent was at or near the 25th percentile for rent would have too few choices (sorry, SoHo and TriBeCa), while neighborhoods where my target rent was at or above the 75th percentile for rent were either too far (East Harlem, Fort Greene) or just not what I wanted (no offense intended, Upper East Side).
Of the several neighborhoods that fit on the Heatmaps I did some research and came up with four – Lower East Side, Gramercy, Murray Hill and Kips Bay. I then did two searches on RentHop for a studio or one bedroom in those four neighborhoods with my maximum rent, one with “reduced fee” and one with “no fee” checked in the filters. Sticking solely with apartments whose HopScores were above 85, I found several apartments that worked.
I read each of the apartment descriptions closely to confirm that it made sense. I then reached out to five managers with the same message – my name, contact info, expected move date and a request to be contacted back. (I didn’t tell any manager at this stage that I work with RentHop.
Step 3: Contacting managers
I got quick responses from three of the five managers whom I emailed. Of those three, one asked me to reconnect when I’d set my move-in date. Another agreed to meet me at the apartment about which I’d emailed – a studio in Gramercy – the following day. He also asked some questions so that he could pick out more apartments for me. He noted that landlords offering concessions often charge higher rents to make back the cost of the concession. (Apparently there’s no free lunch.)
The third asked that we meet at her offices. The goal was to pick several apartments that we could see quickly. She also gave me a list of documents I’d need to have so I could apply quickly.
Step 4: Seeing the places
I met the manager showing the Gramercy space on the afternoon of the third day, a Tuesday. We met on the steps to the building, where we spoke briefly and I completed the agency agreement (so that if I rented an apartment he showed me I’d pay his broker’s fee). We then looked at the apartment. I realized immediately that my priorities had to change – the apartment was way too small for me. It turned out that I hadn’t really understood what I needed in my new space until I saw some spaces. The manager had one other apartment in the Lower East Side that fit, but it had no concession, it was quite small and he couldn’t show it that day.
I met with the third manager and her partner at her offices on the morning of the fourth day, Wednesday. My original requirements weren’t right, so we widened the search. The managers felt strongly that there were apartments in Midtown East with good landlords that would fit my needs. I agreed to see some of those apartments along with some further south. The managers put together a list of six apartments for me to see, and we went to work. (We had only a few hours to see everything. There’s a lot going on at RentHop!)
We started in Midtown East and worked south. While we viewed apartments, she and her partner texted back and forth to answer my questions. Turned out that the Midtown East apartments were a great fit – the bus and subway were convenient and the apartments themselves were spacious, especially compared to what I’d already seen.
We saw all six apartments in short order, and I settled quickly on a second-floor studio in Midtown East in a doorman/elevator building with a concession. It didn’t have a dishwasher or full-size fridge, but I didn’t want to be too choosy. I gave my documents (which I’d already assembled thanks to her helpful list) to the manager, who prepared and sent the application that day.
Step 5: Negotiations
With the application submitted, the only things left to do were to wait – and negotiate the broker’s fee. The standard broker’s fee in New York is 15% of the first year’s annual rent. With the concession covering broker’s fee equal to 8.33% of the first year’s annual rent, we were left negotiating over the remaining 6.67%. With some skillful back and forth we ended up with a broker’s fee of 11%, which meant that I was only paying 2.67% of the first year’s annual rent out-of-pocket to the broker. Score!
While the manager and I negotiated the fee, the manager negotiated with the landlord. I was a solid candidate for the apartment. However, this landlord usually requires new tenants to move in within ten days of lease signing; I wouldn’t move in for over three weeks. The manager got the landlord to accept my application and agree to end-of-month move-in, a win that saved me over $1,000 in rent.
Step 6: Lease signing
On the morning of the sixth day I went with the third manager to the landlord’s offices to sign the lease. She patiently sat with me while I reviewed the entire lease in detail and worked through my questions with the leasing agent. The process took over an hour, but the lease was signed and I had a new apartment.
There you have it. In six days’ time I identified the apartments I wanted to work with, found several good managers, saw a bunch of apartments, found a great one and rented it. RentHop was an important part of the solution – along with being prepared, listening to the broker’s advice, and being decisive. It works!
Each of the apartments below was featured in one of our New York newsletters for the week of May 30. If you’re interested, follow up with the contact person in the listing; we have not confirmed since the time the newsletter was sent out that the apartments are available. Things move fast in New York!
Miles Young is a freelance business writer and home decor enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrMilesYoung.
By Miles Young
The true trick to having your dream apartment space isn’t to have the perfect location and an unlimited budget — it’s to make the absolute most of the space you already have. If you’re feeling cramped in your current place, it’s a lot easier on you (and your bank account!) to get smart and just a little bit sneaky about how you organize and adorn your spaces. Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean it shouldn’t feel like home! Here are a few clever hacks to make your too-small environment look and feel open and expansive without also being empty and expensive.
(1) Clear the clutter
A surefire way to make you feel claustrophobic in your space is to let the junk and random decor pile up. Examine your space for ways that you can clear useful surfaces and better organize your belongings. Make sure everything has its right place, especially trash and recyclables. Optimize your space with flexible storage like under-the-couch bins and hanging racks so random stuff doesn’t take up chairs and tables. The more usable space you open up, the more functionally large your home will seem.
Things can start to feel confining if nothing ever changes. Static decor is especially problematic — not only does it make a space feel stagnant, but it also often means that all of your decor is out at once. Changing the scenery with the seasons is a great way to put your stuff in rotation, so you feel like nothing’s being neglected but everything doesn’t have to fight for the same limited real estate.
How open and airy a space feels often has as much to do with light and color as it does with actual floor space. Dark colors absorb light, making a room feel heavier and more confined. This can be a great effect when you want to make a larger room feel warm and cozy, but it can be a bit overbearing for smaller rooms. Aim for bright walls and economical light sources, eliminating dark patches and using reflection from windows and mirrors to amplify the existing light in the room. The more you can see, the more it seems you have.
People get so preoccupied with adding decoration to conservative furniture that they don’t consider using the furniture itself as decoration. Bold colors, unique styles and unconventional arrangements make a room intriguing without having to give up wall or table space for decorative objects. A couple statement chairs that pop out of the rest of the room’s palette make the most of form and function, while artistically ambitious tables make conversation pieces out of useful furniture. Keep in mind, though, that the more furniture and decorative pieces you add to a room, the more hassle it will be when it comes time to move. Consider buying interesting but cheap furniture second-hand so you don’t get too attached when it comes time to move.
While you’ll need more seating and table space when you’re entertaining, there’s no need to keep all of that stuff out on quiet nights. Look into extra pieces that you can easily stow and store when there are no guests around, from high-quality wood folding chairs to dining tables with adjustable leaf segments. This will let you reclaim space for everyday activities and fit more people into the environment when it’s bound to feel crowded regardless.
Chances are there’s a lot of empty space in your apartment above eye level. It’s amazing how much storage and decoration you can put in high places, especially tall walls. A few floating shelves, vertical racks and moveable wall lights can free up both walking paths and useable space. Consider distributing your library to several shelves around your home instead of giving over a large amount of the floor and wall to a single bookcase. Also, modify your kitchen to get things off of countertops and free some space in the bathroom with extra racks.
Before you go crazy with shelving (or any other permanent installation), figure out how much time and expense will be involved. Also, look at your lease; you may need your landlord’s permission to undertake those improvements.
By being smart about how you use and fill your space, you can make even the smallest room feel more functional and inviting. Keep your eye on motion, color, light and functional space so clutter doesn’t get out of control. Also, consider how your decor and furnishings can change over time and with company.
We’ve been hard at work building exciting new site features that will help you find a new rental home faster and more effectively than ever. One of those new features is our Rental Heatmaps. (Our friends at Curbed NY wrote about the Heatmaps last week!)
The Rental Heatmaps give access for the first time to aggregated real-time rental price data at the neighborhood level for many major metro areas in an easy-to-use map-based format. The Heatmaps show:
25th percentile, 50th percentile and 75th percentile rents for different floorplans in each neighborhood;
For each neighborhood, a comparison of the neighborhood’s median rent to the overall metro area’s median rent; and
Year-over-year rent trends on a per-neighborhood basis.
Why are we so excited? Sometimes a more expensive apartment may actually be a better deal than a cheaper apartment when you look at all of the neighborhood data. The Heatmaps allow you to make ‘apples to apples’ comparisons so you can identify those great deals and have an early-mover advantage to nabbing a great apartment or rental home.
Click “Show Neighborhoods” on the right side of the screen; and
Roll your cursor over the neighborhoods you want to see.
You can easily toggle between the regular view, the Neighborhood Price Heatmap and YoY Price Heatmap and can view listings while the Rental Heatmaps are activated. No login is required to use the Rental Heatmaps.
Each of the apartments below was featured in one of our New York newsletters for the week of May 23. If you’re interested, follow up with the contact person in the listing; we have not confirmed since the time the newsletter was sent out that the apartments are available. Things move fast in New York!
Each of the apartments below was featured in one of our New York newsletters for the week of May 16. If you’re interested, follow up with the contact person in the listing; we have not confirmed since the time the newsletter was sent out that the apartments are available. Things move fast in New York!
Each of the apartments below was featured in one of our weekly newsletters for the week of May 9. If you’re interested, follow up with the contact person in the listing; we have not confirmed since the time the newsletter was sent out that the apartments are available. Things move fast in New York!
Unless you’re a trainer or professional athlete, you probably have difficulty finding time to work out in the course of a day. This goes double if the home or apartment building in which you live doesn’t have an attached gym – you’ll need to travel to a gym to work out. Even if your building has a gym, you may find that it’s a better call to use a gym outside of your building; some amenities aren’t worth paying extra for!
Fortunately, you can get a good workout, or even just a good stretch, in your apartment. There are many different exercises you can do with no equipment whatsoever (here and here are especially good – but challenging! – lists). With a little bit of equipment you can do a full regime of stretching, training and cool-down. We’ve put together a short list of relatively inexpensive items that will help you make the most of your time and your small space.
NOTE: Check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. We don’t want you to get hurt!
(1) Foamroller – a foamroller is a rigid foam cylinder about six inches in diameter and one to three feet long. Foamrollers come in varying colors and rigidity levels.
There are three main things for which you can use foamrollers: muscle release, stability training and strength training. In our opinion, though, the best use is to give yourself a fantastic self-massage. It’ll work out knots and tame muscle pain like no other. There are lots of videos on how to use them. If you haven’t tried one out, do so – it’s magical.
(2) Yoga mat (or other exercise mat) – if you have hardwood floors, you’ll definitely want something soft on which to lie while you’re stretching or doing floor-based exercises. Even if you have carpeted floors, you’ll want the grip that a yoga mat provides. Of course, if you’re planning to do yoga, this kind of settles itself.
(3) A way to stream on-demand videos to your television – if you don’t have an exercise regimen the Internet will have one (or a gazillion), likely for free or very cheap. A Roku, Chromecast or other device will let you view those videos (or your shows that you DVR’d) without requiring you to awkwardly prop your computer or tablet up on a table.
(4) Resistance bands – great for stretching and for resistance training, these bands come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and resistance levels. You can even put together a pretty intense workout just using these bands. But they’re also really useful for stretching muscles, in particular your lats, which can become extremely tense after sitting in a desk chair at your office.
(5) Exercise ball – obviously useful for yoga, but also really good for stretching and for different kinds of strength training exercises. Try doing a pushup with your hands on the inflated ball – you’ll see what we mean. Not only that, but you can use a yoga ball in lieu of a chair when you’re working or reading. It’ll force you to maintain core stability and sit up straight.
Have any other suggestions? Let us know! We’ll share the good ones on our Facebook page.
Each of the apartments below was featured in one of our weekly newsletters for the week of May 2. If you’re interested, follow up with the contact person in the listing; we have not confirmed since the time the newsletter was sent out that the apartments are available. Things move fast in New York!