Apartments for Low Income

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Your Questions About Apartments In Nyc For Rent Cheap

October 29, 2012

Sandra asks…

Apartment rental in Brownsville & East New York, are these areas safe for me, im white?

Im moving to USA next year and to NYC, I don’t have much money and have spotted several cheap apartments for rent in Brownsville and ENY sections on Brooklyn.

I’ve heard these areas are dangerous or is that just bullshit?

Im white and 20 years old, male, I’m not from a rich background either Im a working class guy so it’s not as if I’m not street smart, because I’m not dumb and wouldn’t walk anywhere at night or do stupid stuff like that.

What do you think?

Administrator answers:

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and moved away as an adult in 1959. My family continued to live there. Even during this relatively safe era, Brownsville had the reputation of being quite dangerous. A book was written about the gangs there- The Amboy Dukes. My deceased husband grew up there.
In later years when I drove thru the area, I noticed that it had deteriorated, and I was even fearful of driving thru. So unless there’s been a redevelopment there in recent years, I would say that it is not a good place to live.
East New York is not the best place, but there might be some good areas. I’m not sure. I’d hate to see you move there, and then be stuck in an undesireable, even dangerous place.

Betty asks…

What percentage of your income should go to rent/paying off a house?

A lot of websites say it should be only 25-34 percent of your income. I was wondering if this is accurate. I want to live in manhattan after I finish school, where the cost of rent is extremely high. after finishing school I’m going to be making around $3,800 a month (before taxes). Is it unrealistic to want an apartment in manhattan that costs around $2,000 a month? Thanks for your input.

And yes I understand in other parts of the country rent is MUCH cheaper. but nyc is the only place for me.

Administrator answers:

Great question!
My background in the mortgage world may help with this one. Lenders usually ‘allow’ or ‘suggest’ that people spend around 28-30% of GROSS income (before taxes) on housing. In some cases, I’ve done loans where the number was closer to 45% of gross income spent for housing.
Having said that, there’s not one ‘right thing for everyone.’ I admire your intention to live in NYC and your commitment to simply make it happen! It’s that kind of commitment that will allow you to make it happen.
In light of that, I’ll suggest some other ideas for you to help you along:
1) Commit to remaining debt free in terms of ‘no credit cards or car loans! (Having no car is
probably pretty simply in NYC which is good)
2) Set aside a separate ‘slush fund’ or savings fund for buying your own house. As you amass
a down payment over time, you can use that to buy your own pad if you so choose.
3) Determine some additional ways of increasing your income beyond your job. This could take
the form of finding a product or service to market or sell part time for additional savings.
4) In the future, if you could find a good deal on a duplex or some type of real estate where you
have other rental income, this is a good way to have other people offsetting your housing
expense. In NYC, I would guess that the FHA mortgage limit is probably upwards of
$500,000 for a 2 or 3 unit property. You could always keep an eye out for a good deal.
Just prepare yourself with good down payment money and good credit so if the
opportunity arises you’re ready. Just an example: If you could find a duplex for $400K*
your total monthly obligation may only be around $2800 (after about $20K for down
payment & some closing costs). Rent from the other side would be at least $2000 which
means your half would only run $800. (*Of course, you’d have to look hard for a $400K
duplex..but if you’re committed……something would happen over time!)
Anyhow, the long & short….be smart with money by not getting debt & save money for your down payment so you can lower your monthly outlay.
Hope there was something helpful for you there!

Donna asks…

apartment rental in nyc?

Me and another family member are looking into renting an apartment near midtown for grad school/college, etc. All the listings that I went through say the rent is about $4000. When you’re looking at listings like these, does it typically mean $4000/month or $4000/year. I always assumed that it was whatever the amount per year and then you paid it off in monthly increments.. so it would be $333.33 per month… but I’m looking at places in NYC- is it really that cheap??

Administrator answers:

You should go through a broker to find the right apartment even though you pay a fee. You can find something for less than $4000. You can find a 1-bdrm. (3-room) for $2500 I am sure. The rent is monthly, not yearly. If you are planning to live there only one year, you should consider subletting an apartment from someone who will be absent for a year. A lot of people in NY travel or have other homes or jobs and they sublet a lot. Hopefully it is a legal sublet, but not always.

Mandy asks…

What is Harlem NYC like ?

Hi, im going to be moving to New York City for one year and was looking at apartments to rent. I assumed that the cheapest would be in queens, Bronx etc. (am I right) but when looking a website all the very cheapest places seem to be in Harlem, to me this looks like a pretty good location but obviously I’m not there and have only ever been to manhattan (I stayed about 4-5 blocks from time square).

So what’s Harlem like as a place?
Is it cheap or am I wrong ?
What are the cheapest places ? Bearing in mind iam a student (the one years part of my uni course)

Administrator answers:

Harlem is a traditional African-American neighborhood in upper Manhattan. The housing is mixed, but largely apartments, with some low-income projects and some townhouses. The area had a bad reputation in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, with a lot of street crime. It’s turned around a lot in the past decade and is nowhere near as dangerous as it once was, and is far more than just African-American these days.

One caution: there are no housing bargains in NYC. If the rent is less than you expected, it’s either a scam (“Sorry, that apartment was just rented but we have some others for you to look at…”), or the apartment is in a bad building.

You would definitely need to walk around and get a feel for the area and see if you would be comfortable there.

Lizzie asks…

Can I get accomodation in NYC for less than $200/month?

I need some really CHEAP lodging. Besides living out of my own car, I am wondering if I can share apartments with some roommates there for an affordable price. The key is to save $$$, so the less money spent on rent the better. Is it possible to survive in NYC on $6,000/year? this is not a joke.

Administrator answers:


You may be able to get a tiny share with someone really far out in Queens for $500 plus utilities.

There is no way you could live in NYC on $6,000 for a year.

Back in the late 1970′s when I was a student, I literally starved in NYC on $10,000 a year and that was almost 30 years ago.

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