Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartments For Cheap In Nyc

April 9, 2013

Sandy asks…

Does anyone have any advice for a recent college graduate who wants to move to New York City?

I have no idea on how to get started. Should I look for a job first or should I try to move there first before I get the job? What are the bad neighborhoods? How much money should I have saved up before I go?

Administrator answers:

I moved to NYC about two years ago from the Midwest. I was 23 at the time and had just graduated college.

As far as an apartment goes, when you first get here I would strongly advise against signing any sort of lease. There are plenty of people here subletting their apartments–you don’t need to sign a lease; you don’t need to do a credit check (which is great since a lot of young people your age don’t have much credit anyways).

Look for apartments in Brooklyn and Queens and shy away from Manhattan to start. In Brooklyn or Queens, if you stay close to Manhattan, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-1000 a month (in a sublet).

As far as money goes. I moved here with $3,000. Some people say that’s not enough, but it worked fine for me. Keep in mind that I wasn’t expecting to live in Manhattan right away. All of the apartments I looked at when I first moved here were in Brooklyn or Queens (I eventually found my 1st apartment in a sublet, for only $550 a month in Williamsburg, Brooklyn).

Keep in mind that when you move here, even if you get a sublet, you will need 2-3 months of rent to actually move in. It usually consists of first months rent; a security deposit (equivalent to one months rent); and sometimes the last months rent (however sometimes landlords won’t ask for this and your security deposit will cover the last month’s rent).

A good piece of advice is to not use any sort of rental broker/real estate agent, etc. They are out to make a buck and can spot newbies to this city from a mile away. Don’t let that scare you away, but just be aware that you’re going to stand out when you first move here. Use a site called craigslist.org. Use it for everything! That will be your bible.

Keep in mind that no one will set up an appointment with you to tour an apartment if you’re not already living in a city. Too many people want to rent, so if they find out you can’t tour it immediately, you’re out of luck. When I moved here I stayed at a hostel (a very cheap, bare bones place for young travelers to stay at). Just do a google search and you’ll find a listing of hostels here.

Once you’re in the city, then you can actually get out there (by searching craigslist.org of course) and look at apartment. You really have to hit the ground running, but you’ll find something. There are so many people in this city renting, so expect that you’re going to have to look at 5-10 apartments before you find a good fit.

As far as jobs go, your college degree will not open any doors for you here. Literally millions of people have college degrees here and most have something even more valuable–years of experience. As a fresh college grad it can be extremely difficult to get your foot in the door because here in NY everyone expects you to be the best at what you do–most resumes go in the trash, because for every job there is a thousand people trying to get it.

Most of my friends, including me, had to do retail jobs the first few months we lived here–no one would hire us beforehand. For some friends the retail thing lasted a month or two, but it wasn’t uncommon to take up to a year to land the first “grown-up” job here.

Wow, that’s a lot. It really sounds tough, and it is, don’t get me wrong. But you’ll quickly realize that New York is a city of people who really are determined to make it… So if you’re willing to put your share of effort into it, NY can be a wonderful place! If you’re not willing to put 150% into everything you do, you’ll get pushed out of this city in a matter of days. It sounds tough, but it’s worth it if you’ve got enough ambition.

Ken asks…

what is there to do for a teenager over spring break?

everyone seems to be going to florida. and i have nothing to do. i live in ohio and theres not much to do here. i want to go somewhere but im only 17.

Administrator answers:

Ah well, go to New York!
I am Canadian, heh, but from what I can tell Ohio is kind of close..?
I bussed to NYC last summer, and I was only 19 and I went with someone who was 18. Because in the USA you can’t rent a hotel room before you’re 21 we went on craigslist.com and rented an apartment – a much smarter idea! You can cook your own food in the apartment, and if you get one in a good location (do research!) it is super safe! It ended up being a lot cheaper than a hotel – plus you end up feeling like a ‘real’ New Yorker, a bonus in a city full of confused tourists. New York is a lot more ‘cultured’ than going to Florida for spring break – and there is a lot more to see – you just won’t be able to drink or anything. New York really wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be, either, so don’t be too worried about going there as a teen, everyone was really nice to us. Do New York! If you’ve never been there before, you’ve got to go there! If you go with a few friends, it will only cost you like 250$ each to rent the apartment for the week, and I came from Canada and it only cost me $200 to bus to NYC and back from Ottawa – I am sure it’ll be cheaper for you. New York offers a lot of free stuff to do, it is just the hotel and food that’ll end up costing you – so rent an apt. And cook your own! Going back to your apt. Shouldn’t be a big deal either, get a 7 day subway pass – it’ll end up taking you 15 minutes tops to get back to your place.
If you need any help planning stuff – I could even give you the info for the person I rented from – the apartment was near times square AND central park (near columbus circle) and all the tips I can think of to save some $$.
Good luck!

Carol asks…

Anyone know any nice but affordable apartments in New York?

Im a college freshmen, and I am very interested in moving to New York in the near future. Im majoring in Journalism: Communications & Broadcasting, so maybe Im looking into being a news anchor. But I was wondering if anyone who lives in New York knows any affordable but nice places In new york to live, Im not picky as long as its safe and resonably nice. I would appreciate the help? :) Thank you.

Administrator answers:

‘reasonably priced’ doesn’t exist in nyc (if you want a good, safe area). But i am curious what you would think is reasonably priced. In manhattan a studio (1 room only) runs from $1400 (walk-up building) to $3000 (doorman, elevator). And the prices go up and up. I make $60 k per year and can hardly afford my $1200 rent stabilized tiny apartment. And beware…the cheaper the price, the more scary the neighborhood.

Chris asks…

How does the Singapore government make public transport attractive?

Pls help. Fastest person gets the 10 points.

Administrator answers:

Not only that; SMRT Corporation, which operates Singapore’s MRT system, is profitable while NYC’s subway system operates at a significant loss.

Most MRT systems in developed Asia are run more efficiently than they are in the West. For example, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, and Singapore all have an MRT farebox recovery ratio of significantly more than 100%, while the highest in the US is 61% in Washington DC.

But generally speaking, most everything is cheaper in Singapore than NYC. The median wage is about $2300 a month, whereas the average NYC transit worker makes $30-40 an hour, if my memory serves me correctly. A new government-built apartment in Singapore will only put you back about $200,000, probably 1/6 the price of a similar apartment in NYC. Food is cheaper, and so is transportation.

Besides cheaper labor to build and maintain MRT, Singapore is probably able to run the system more efficiently as there is less bureaucracy. NYC’s subway relies on funding from the federal, state, and city government as well as revenue from fares; no telling how much red tape is involved in all of that. Singapore MRT also has nearly twice as many riders per line as NYC.

Richard asks…

How can I study in NYC?

I currently go to San Jose State and am about to start my second year. In two years I’m planning on spending a semester (fall) in New zealand, but I want to do New york another semester. Anyone have any advice on this? On programs or schools or parts of town or whatever. Thank you.

Administrator answers:

Find out if your school has any sister school in NZ or NYC and if there is ask the office if you can study there as an exchange student. I’m not sure if you wanna leave your current school or not from your question but if you wanna, you can transfer to a school in NZ or NYC. In case you don’t know, you gotta be accepted to the school you’re trying to transfer first before you attned the school. I’m a college student myself and i go to school & live in NYC, and i can tell you that living in nyc is VERY EXPENSIVE. Not only it’ll cost you a lot of money but also it’ll be hard to find a decent place to stay/live especially if you don’t know someone from there. I was fortunate enough to make really good friends at my school to become roomies with them. 4 of us live in a studio apartment on rent and each of us pay $570 every month. You do the math… Living in nyc is definitely fun though. And you can always look for cheaper places outside the city and commute. Just be prepared before you make a move. Good luck!

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