Help With Apartment Hunting in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
November 29, 2011 6:27 PM   Subscribe

Moving to New York from Florida to take a job at the beginning of January, and i'm having some trouble finding a good place to live, mostly that I don't really know how to find good places that aren't on craigslist/padmapper. The friend i'm going to live with works in Greenpoint, so we're leaning heavily on that neighborhood, just off the Greenpoint or Nassau stops, so only one of us has to take the subway to work.

The extra problems:

We've been looking pretty diligently on craigslist, but friends that we know in the area are telling us that we're never going to get a place at our ideal price point (2br for $1700 or less, apparently do-able but kind of hard to come by) on CL, or if it does show up, it'll likely be shitty or gone before we can blink. But, they themselves don't know of any good deals going on the market.
So, is there anywhere else we can look that might not get scooped up so quick?

The roommate will do just fine on verification of income/ability to pay paperwork, but i'm just now starting the first full-time job i've had since I graduated from college in May (freelance design, living with folks, whomp). I will be paid enough, but won't have any way to prove it. The closest maybe guarantor I have would be in upstate NY.
So, how problematic is this? Are out-of-state guarantors possible?

We're starting to think it might be worth the money to get a broker to do the work for us, especially if it works out that they can find us a place for $100-200 less than we would find on the open market, but, of course don't know any reputable brokers that deal with cheap kids. Also we'd really like to not do this.
So, does anyone have recommendations? Corollary: what's the deal with the 'call the management company' angle?

We're amenable to the idea of less.. legitimate housing situations if it means cheaper--improperly zoned loft housing, cash-payment leases, etc.-- but a) aren't really sure it's the best idea and b) don't even know where to start looking for things like that, cause that kind of stuff normally doesn't get posted on craigslist.
So, is this a good idea, and where do you find such situations?

That's it. Thanks for your help.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Apologies if this is considered a derail, but I'm confused about why you have to live in Greenpoint. Why can't your friend take the subway to work also? Unless you are also planning on getting a job off the G line, you'd have to take at least two trains to get to a job anywhere else, and that doesn't sound like a fair deal if she's just walking to work. It sounds like you're willing to make a lot of personal compromises with getting some sort of bargain-basement Greenpoint apartment when you could get a decent place a little further away. But it doesn't sound like you'd be comfortable living in a total dump, either.

In short, I think you should take the advice of your friends that live in the area.
posted by wondermouse at 7:04 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

In my (somewhat limited) experience, brokers tend to show more expensive places, not less, and ask for enough of a commission that you wouldn't get a bargain in any case.

Would you consider having additional roommates/housemates? My housing success has come from looking at the rooms/shares section of Craigslist.

Seconding wondermouse that a commute from Greenpoint to anyplace that's not off the G will probably be a hassle. It's a nice neighborhood but I don't think it'd be the best bang for your buck, transitwise.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:59 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Regarding out-of state guarantors: for my lease last year, I was required to have one and ran into no problems putting down my out-of-state father.

Seeing as we're brothers, he is also your father. So you might want to give him a call.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 8:25 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Try to get a letter of employment that shows your start date and salary on your employer's letterhead. This helped me when I was moving a month before my job was actually starting.
posted by Sylvia Plath's terrible fish at 8:43 PM on November 29, 2011

What's with the aversion to CraigsList? I don't understand why you'd dismiss the most popular way to find apartments in NYC.

I will be paid enough, but won't have any way to prove it.

Really? Why can't you get HR to write a letter specifying your salary?
posted by John Cohen at 10:11 PM on November 29, 2011

Response by poster: Logic as far as Greenpoint is concerned: My job is just off the L train in manhattan. Living six stops further down (bushwick/e. williamsburg) or riding 1-2 stops and walking through the Metropolitan/Lorimer station and waiting for the train work out to about the same amount of time for me, so why not try to accomodate the roommate?

This is not to say we're not also looking on CL/etc. for places over that way, but it's why Greenpoint is on the top of the list.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:06 AM on November 30, 2011

Best answer: I have lived in Greenpoint recently and have friends that live there still. You can find a place for 1700. It won't be fancy, but I'll be plenty fine. Can your friend just be the only person on the lease so that you don't have to worry about proof on your end? Most people I know who live with roommates, only one person is on the lease and everyone is an illegal subletter. But by illegal I mean that the landlords don't really care so long as they get their money.

I suggest getting here, subletting a place together for month or couchsurf or whatever and look at places every day as soon as they pop up, have your friend be the only signer, and then you'll be fine. Or if you have enough cash at hand, you can offer a few months up front or a bigger deposit or whatever if you don't have income proof. It's not as scary or impossible as it seems. And don't listen to everyone else bitching about the G train. It's also not so bad, and things are even better if you have a bike.

posted by greta simone at 10:58 AM on November 30, 2011

Try not to pay a broker's fee. Lotsa places on Craigslist say "no fee", but yep, guess what, big fee. Try and look for places with "for rent" signs in the window and phone numbers : usually those go directly to the landlord or super. Also, (i've heard) you can look at the little plaques in the entryways to buildings and find the super's number and call him.

And if you do get stuck with a broker's fee, BARGAIN THEM DOWN. I never paid more than 12%, and that was in MH.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:31 PM on November 30, 2011

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