How to Find an Apartment in New York (2024)

How to Find an Apartment in New York (1)

By Lilly Milman

Jul 01, 2024

Anyone who has tried to move in New York City knows that it is one ofthe country’s most competitive rental markets. For one, it’s known forbeing incredibly expensive (it’s consistently ranked the No. 1 mostexpensive city to rent in the US). Plus, it’s home to over 8.5 millionresidents, making it the biggest city in the US. Combine those factors,and it starts to feel like for every great deal you find in New York,there are at least a dozen other renters waiting to apply. Basically,moving to New York can be daunting — but we’re here to help.

In this guide, we dive into everything you need to know for findinganapartment in NewYork— from yourinitial search to your signed lease. To skip to specific section you’dlike to read, refer to the ta­ble of contents below.

  • Planning: A Sample Timeline for Moving in New York
  • Apartment Hunting in New York: Picking Your Borough
  • Touring: Everything You Need toKnow
  • Budgeting: The Upfront Costs of Moving in New York
  • Learn More: New York Resources Roundup

Planning: A Sample Timeline for Moving in New York

When you’re moving apartments in New York, you have to be ready to movequickly to make sure you can snag the best deal. Here’s an example of amoving timeline for the city.

Day 1 — Start Your Apartment Search

In New York, you probably don’t want to start your apartment search anyearlier than 30 days in advance of your move-in date. That’s becausemost landlords don’t require their tenants to give them more than aone-month notice tovacate.If you start your search any earlier, you may be met with blank staresfrom landlords who don’t know whether their units will even be availableyet. So, if you are planning on moving into an apartment on August 1st,you’d start your search on July 1st at the earliest.

Use an online apartment listing site like ApartmentAdvisor to findavailable apartments in your price range that match your criteria. Wehave filters to help you find apartments that are pet-friendly, have adoorman, washer/dryer in unit, short-term rentals, and more.

This is also a good time to hire movers if you haven’t done so already,as it’s recommended you book them at a minimum of three to four weeksout from your move in New York.

Days 2-7 — Tour Your Favorite Apartments

Once you have a list of apartments you’d like to see, it’s time toschedule and attend tours. If you are only looking at buildings that areprofessionally owned and operated by a management company, you canlikely schedule tours on your own to see vacant units. If you arelooking at condos or apartments owned by smaller landlords, then you mayneed to work with a realtor to set up a tour.

When renting withApartmentAdvisor, youradvisor will handle all scheduling for you and meet you at each of yourtours — regardless of the kind of apartment you are touring — to ensurea smooth process.

If you know you will definitely be moving at the end of the month, thennow is also a good time to start packing up your current place.

Day 10 — Submit Your Application

Like we said, New York is competitive — so you don’t have much time tomull over your options before submitting an application. If you wait toolong, it leaves an opportunity open for someone else to apply and getapproved for the same property that you wanted.

Day 14 — Sign Your Lease

If you are diligent about touring multiple apartments in the span of afew days, it shouldn’t take much longer than two weeks to get anapplication approved and a lease signed in New York.

Day 15 — Apply for Your Moving Permit

If you don’t want to struggle with finding parking on the day of yourmove, then you’ll want to apply for a parking permit at least 15 days inadvance. This can be done online at the New York City Department ofTransportation’s website. While thiswon’t guarantee you a space, it’ll allow you to block off an open spacethat you find on the day of your move.

Day 30 — Moving Day

Happy moving day! It’s finally time for you to move in to your new home.Get there early in the day to secure a parking spot and put up yourparking permits.

How to Find an Apartment in New York (2)

Apartment Hunting in New York: Picking Your Borough

NYC is a huge city — with five distinct boroughs, each offering a uniquefeel and lifestyle. When searching for your perfect apartment, it’simportant to do your neighborhood research to find the borough that’sright for you.

Borough Breakdown

In this part of the guide, we will go through what you can expect tofind in each borough, which should help you narrow down your search forthe right neighborhood.


When you picture NYC, you are likely thinking of Manhattan. Arguably themost fast-paced borough in the city that never sleeps, Manhattan is hometo the city’s financial and business districts, many of its famouslandmarks (like the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square,and the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and its entertainment (Think:Broadway) — despite being the smallest borough. If you’re looking to bein the thick of city life, then Manhattan may be the borough for you.Just know that it comes with the highest price point on average as well.


Located right above Manhattan, Queens is a more residential andslower-paced section of New York — with the benefit of being very closeto the action. Its neighborhoods are more quieter and feel homier, butmake no mistake. Queens is no sleepy suburb. Known as the “world’sborough” for its status as one of the most diverse counties in the US,Queens is filled with diverse food options, bars, coffee shops, andmore. Plus, it’s home to the New York Mets, two major airports (JFK andLaGuardia), and shopping malls (the Queens Center Mall and FlushingCenter Mall). It also offers a lower price point than Manhattan, whilegiving its residents the benefits of proximity to the center of thecity.


Separated from Manhattan by the East River, Brooklyn is like itsartsier, hipper counterpart. With a mix of neighborhoods — some offeringa more residential, community feel of brownstones and smaller buildingsand others comprising high rises and luxe new construction —it’s alively and energetic borough that’s continuously evolving and beingdeveloped as we speak. Less expensive than Manhattan but pricier thanthe other boroughs, Brooklyn offers the best of both worlds in manyways.

The Bronx

If you’re looking to live by lots of green space and some of the bestItalian food you’ve ever had, then the Bronx may be the borough for you.The second smallest borough, it offers much more of a small communityfeel within a big city — and packs a punch within its 42 square miles.It’s home to Yankee Stadium, plus the Bronx Zoo, the Bronx BotanicalGardens, Pelham Bay Park, Van Cortland Park, and more. It’s also theleast expensive typically of all the boroughs.

Staten Island

The most suburban of any of the boroughs, Staten Island almost feelslike a different world compared to the rest of New York City (and you doneed to take a ferry or drive through a tunnel to get there). Ratherthan high rises and multi-family buildings, single-family homes andduplexes are much more common in Staten Island. Many families appreciatethe quiet suburbia of Staten Island, but it’s not for everyone. It hasless public transit than the other boroughs, fewer nightlife, and feweremployment opportunities than the rest of the city.


Our rule of thumb for renters is to spend no more than a third oftheirgross incomeon housing. New York is the most expensive cityin the nation, so depending on your income, you may need to live withroommates in order to afford a place here.

Below is a breakdown of 55 neighborhoods in New York by their medianrent prices for studios, one-, two-, and three-plus–bedroom apartments,based on our rental data.

Alphabet City$2,733$3,695$4,579$6,000
Battery Park City$3,990$4,933$8,395$14,500
Bay Ridge$1,735$2,015$2,600$3,250
Boerum Hill$3,468$3,608$4,998$6,500
Brooklyn Heights$3,125$4,250$7,230$11,995
Carroll Gardens-$3,500$4,700$8,311
Clinton Hill$2,872$3,595$4,300$5,443
Crown Heights$2,398$2,698$3,200$3,612
East Flatbush$2,208$2,450$2,800$3,178
East Harlem$2,302$2,713$3,200$4,173
East Village$2,975$3,498$4,690$6,450
Financial District$3,901$5,032$6,795$10,461
Flatiron District$4,514$5,995$10,307$13,150
Fort George$1,884$2,150$2,625$3,143
Fort Greene$3,010$3,885$4,998$5,875
Greenwich Village$3,620$4,898$6,310$9,338
Greenwood Heights$2,350$2,700$3,497$3,900
Hell's Kitchen$3,477$4,300$4,831$5,998
Kips Bay$3,200$4,195$4,750$6,648
Long Island City$3,300$3,995$5,900$8,000
Lower East Side$2,613$3,523$4,455$5,997
Murray Hill$3,200$4,404$6,000$8,064
Park Slope$2,688$3,500$4,475$6,299
Prospect Heights$3,223$3,700$4,400$5,725
Prospect Lefferts Gardens$2,374$2,650$3,165$3,650
Sheepshead Bay$1,895$2,483$2,800$3,500
South Slope$2,677$3,250$4,125$5,998
Stuyvesant Town-$5,387$6,420$7,088
Upper East Side$2,650$3,416$4,995$9,600
Upper West Side$2,900$4,200$6,200$8,167
Washington Heights$1,973$2,263$2,791$3,473
West Village$3,800$4,999$6,713$7,995

For more help figuring out what your budget should be, try ourRentCalculatortool.

Public Transportation

New York is one of themost walkable and transit-accessiblecitiesin the country. While theMTA’s subway system may sometimes get delayed, it really has no match inthe country as far as how connected and far-reaching its trains are.

When picking your neighborhood, it’s important to think about where youwill be commuting and how often. The vast majority of New York is servedby public transportation — but some commutes are easier than others. Forexample, if you’re working in Manhattan but want to live in Brooklyn,make sure you pick a neighborhood serviced by multiple subway lines.Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights are two options with short and easycommutes, where you can hop on the train and get to Manhattan in lessthan half an hour without transferring.

Use the MTA’s TripPlanner tool to checkout potential commutes, as well as the “What’s Nearby” tool on ourapartment listing pages to see how close a unit is to a train station.You can also filter by which subway stops you'd like to live close towhensearching for New Yorkapartmentsonour site.

How to Find an Apartment in New York (3)

What’s Nearby

Nearby grocery stores, parks, nightlife, and public transit can make orbreak a neighborhood for a renter. That’s why every listing on ourwebsite comes with an interactive map that helps you see what’s nearby,including: places to eat, schools, bus stops, gyms, grocery stores,parks, gas stations, and train stops.


If you aremoving to New Yorkfrom out of town, it may take you a fewtours to get a feel for the different neighborhoods. Some renters evenelect to sublet an apartment for a few weeks or months when they firstmove to get a sense of the city — and only once they’re comfortable dothey begin a search for a long-term lease. To find a sublet, try askingfriends if they know of anyone who needs a subletter, or looking in NYCHousing Groups on websites like Facebook or Reddit.

One benefit of the Big Apple is that most neighborhoods are verywalkable and transit-accessible, while a downside is that NYC apartmentstend to be on the smaller side in general. This is pretty true acrossthe board, though some neighborhoods offer slightly more space thanothers — as shown in our breakdown of where to get the most space foryour money in NewYork.

Another fact of New York is that, in general, it’s less car-friendlythan most other cities you’ll go to. Having a car in New York can becostly and inconvenient, but if it’s an absolute must, consider lookingat neighborhoods in Brooklyn (though avoid the Downtown Brooklyn area)or Queens. They should have the most options for street parking. As arule of thumb, the further you are from Manhattan, the easier timeyou’ll have with your car.

If you need more help figuring out which neighborhood is right for you,fill out this form to be connected with one of ourexperts.

Touring: Everything You Need to Know

New York is a broker’s market, which means that you’ll need to work witha licensed broker in order to see almost any apartment in the city (andyou’ll need to pay them abroker’sfee).This is due in part to the competitive nature of the rental market inNew York, which also leads to many units only being on the market for afew days before being rented out. Renters from out of town may also besurprised to hear that many listing agents host open houses forapartments, where there can be anywhere from 5 to 20 potential tenantstouring and applying for a unit at once.

If you’re able to, you’ll want to tour any potential apartment beforeyou sign onto a lease to make sure it meets your needs. If you are notable to tour in person, then ask your real estate professional aboutvirtual touring. Make sure not to hand over any money before you or yourtrusted, licensed agent tour a property — otherwise, you may fall victimto a rentalscam.Before you tour, check out ourguide to the 17 things you should lookfor in arental.

How to Find an Apartment in New York (4)

What to Bring to a Tour

If you come empty handed to anapartment tour inNew York, thenthere’s a good chance you’ll leave that way, too. You may be asked tofill out an application during the tour if you like an apartment. Togive yourself a better chance atbeingaccepted,come to the apartment tour with a few documents in tow: an ID, a bankstatement or paystubs, a printout of a free credit report, and a listofreferences.

If you don’t have an income, have alower creditscore,or a poor credit history, you may be required to have aguarantor orcosigneronyour lease as well. If you suspect this is the case, come prepared withthe name and contact information of a guarantor as well.

Budgeting: The Upfront Costs of Moving in New York

One of the hardest aspects of moving toanew apartmentfor New Yorkers is the upfront cost. Most landlords will require you toprovide first and last month’s rent, as well as a securitydepositequal to one month’s rent. On top of that, the broker will require abroker’s fee, which can cost up to 15% of the annual rent price (so, ifyour monthly rent is $3,000, that could be up to $5,400 for the fee). Alandlord is also allowed to charge you a move-infee(usually 20-50% of one month’s rent), as well as an applicationfee— capped at $20. That means that the upfront cost of renting anapartment can be around 4.5 to 5 times one month’s rent.

So, just to reiterate, the fees you may be expected to pay upfront are:

  • First month’s rent and last month’s rent
  • Security deposit (which cannot exceed one month’s rent)
  • Broker fee (between 8% and 15% of the annual rent)
  • Application fee (capped at $20)
  • Move-in fee (between 20% and 50% of one month’s rent typically)

Learn More: New York Resources Roundup

Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’re feeling a lot more preparedto find apartments in New York. If you need more assistance, though,we’re here to help. Our team of advisors will work with you through thewhole process, from finding prospective apartments, to setting up tours,to submitting your application.Just contact ushere.

Find even more of our resources about moving to New York below:

  • What is a Broker’sFee?
  • Moving From the City to the Suburbs? Here’s How Much You Can SaveInRent
  • The Complete Guide to Renting as aStudent
  • How I Managed to Move to New York City WhileUnemployed
  • Where to Get the Most Space for Your Rent Money in NewYork
  • Apartment Tour: This NYC Renter Decorated her Oversized WashingtonHeights Bedroom on aBudget
  • Apartment Tour: How This Lifelong Renter Transformed Her QueensApartment
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