Moving back to Manhattan
April 5, 2010 4:46 AM   Subscribe

We're returning to Manhattan after some years. Do you have any suggestions on apartment hunting?

We're returning to Manhattan for work, after having moved out in 2004 (for work). I haven't searched for a rental in New York for more than ten years, i.e., in the dark ages before Craig's List, when people would wait for the late Tuesday/early Wednesday Village Voice to get a jump on rental listings, and, of course, the real estate bubble burst in the time we've been away.

Any suggestions? We intend to be on the Upper West Side (work is with Columbia, so 1 and A lines), but we really want a washer/dryer in the unit, having been spoiled by our time outside New York. I assume this means relatively new construction in the rental market. $3500/month is doable. Note that we're looking for a lease start date of June or July.

posted by chengjih to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of questions/comments/notes:

1) Are you looking for a 1 br or 2 br? $3,500 for a 1BR on the UWS with a washer & dryer doesn't seem unreasonable. At that price assume you get a doorman and an elevator as well.

2) Some landlords have rent incentives these days, meaning they offer you a month or two of rent for free.

3) Are you looking to rent in a co-op? Or a big landlord like Related? The former you likely have to use a broker for; the latter you probably don't.

4) You will need to meet certain income thresholds; generally, for a $3,500 per month apartment you'd have to be earning at least 40 times the monthly rent, or around $140,000 per year. Plus your credit has to be good.
posted by dfriedman at 5:26 AM on April 5, 2010

Best answer: Oh, and I'd use Streeteasy, not Craigslist. The reason I say this is that given your criteria for the UWS and a washer/dryer and $3,500 per month in rent, you can create a search for those precise terms:|beds:1|amenities:washer_dryer

You have 25 apartments to choose from in the $3,000 to $3,500 per month range.
posted by dfriedman at 5:29 AM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Don't forget to check with Columbia's office of off campus housing (linked from the UAH website, you need an affiliation). They have some good rental listings that aren't open to the general public and where the landlords prefer CU-affiliated tenants.

For $3500 you could do very nicely in a 2BR or even a 3BR on the UWS. Heck, you could do a 1BR or even 2BR (with less space) in the Village (as someone who works uptown, I far prefer living out of the company zone). It's a bit more of a renter's market than over the past decade right now. Indeed, if it's luxury you want, at that price you could probably afford a place in one of the new towers springing up on Broadway between the 100s and CU.

I'd be flexible on the washer/dryer thing. Older buildings often just can't support such units in apartments. But a laundry in the basement of your building is perfectly workable even with a family for most folks.

Welcome to the hood!
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:58 AM on April 5, 2010

Also, the NY Times listings are not bad, and a bit less wild west than Craigslist. I personally find Craigslist an infuriating platform for apartment searching because there are so many dubious, scammy listings to sort through. In your price range, the Times or Streeteasy are much better search tools.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:59 AM on April 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks. I hadn't heard of StreetEasy before. As said, I haven't looked for a place in Manhattan since everything was on paper.

We'd like a 2BR on a good deal, but a 1BR should be fine. I think, in about a year, once we get reacquainted with the real estate market, we'll look again, so a less than ideal place will be OK. But my wife says the washer/dryer in the unit is close to non-negotiable.
posted by chengjih at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2010

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