House Hunting Virgins

What people don’t tell you about searching for your dream apartment in New York City.


As a college graduate, or for anyone moving to a new city, house hunting seems like an exciting and promising adventure. For some, it’s the first time you are going to be in a place without the burden of running into your mom during your midnight runs to the fridge. For others, it is a chance to reinvent yourself and explore all the possibilities a new city has to offer. Yea, this all sounds like unicorns and cookies, but there is much more to the apartment shopping experience than simply looking at places and visualizing how you want to decorate. Here are the five things you should keep in mind while apartment shopping, especially if you’re planning to move to a big city.

1) Going Stag vs. Realtors Going stag when apartment shopping may seem like a great deal because you don’t have to worry about getting charged for a real estate agency’s services. For some people who know exactly where to look and what they want, going stag is completely fine. But if you are moving to another city and have absolutely no clue what you’re doing, an agent might be your best bet. Realtors can take you through the process step-by-step and help you figure out your top priority. They also can give you a hand when doing your homework. Most likely they know the area better than you and are more than happy to take you around to the best possible areas for your budget and vision. Either way, it’s best to do your research.

2) Picking Your Priorities To a veteran house hunter this might be a no-brainer, but to a house-hunting virgin it might be a good idea to consider what is you number one priority when it comes to your dream apartment. Do you value space, proximity, price, or neighborhood? Of course price seems like the biggest issue, but with a good search and elimination process, you can control this factor. So that leaves the other priorities. Space is often a huge factor when there are roommates. There is nothing wrong with wanting a spacious apartment, but just understand that more rooms or a bigger living room comes at a higher price. Proximity can also play apart in making your decision. A fifteen-minute commute might be the most desirable, but those don’t come cheap. And an hour commute to work may not be ideal, but the possibility of more space may be an option. Once you decide on your top priority, it becomes easier to narrow your search.

3) Who Are Your Neighbors? You may not have any intentions to interact with the people next door, but that is not to say that it is a factor you should skip over. Your neighborhood and the people who inhabit that area should be taken into consideration when making your final decision. When apartment or house shopping, take some time to look at your surroundings. Pay attention to whether people are walking around or going straight to their house – whether they are walking dogs and mingling with others. Also, pay attention to how your neighborhood looks and feel when you go to visit. The last thing you would want is to move in and realize your neighborhood is sketchy and unsafe.

4) Compromise This is more for people who are planning to live with one or more roommates. Just face it now: you are going to have to make compromises, whether that’s on the bedroom space or on what may be your biggest priority. That’s just what comes with sharing a place. If you can’t come to a verbal agreement, maybe flipping a coin is your best bet. Nevertheless, talk about it prior to visiting the places. The last thing you want is to get there and realize this isn’t what either or you had in mind.

5) Hold It, Hold It! Holding it is essentially a term that describes the proceeding step after you find a place you are in love with. Big cities have such a competitive real estate process, so in order to not miss out on your potential dream place, you want to hold it and take it off the market. In order to do this though, you have to submit an application and give a down payment. This part of the process is terribly confusing, and unless you are good with numbers, it can get a little hectic. But you don’t want to miss out on you dream place, so it’s definitely a necessary step. Ask questions; have whoever explain as many times as you need until you completely understand what you are signing or saying yes to. And if you aren’t completely sure about your decision, don’t go any further with holding it.

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