how much rent should i be paying in NYC?
July 28, 2012 7:43 PM   Subscribe

mid-20s, moving to NYC jobless but with some prospects to realistically find an entry-level job in the $40,000 range. have $20,000 saved. what kind of rent should i realistically plan to pay? am looking at a $1150/mo (per person) in Fort Green. can i do better?

i know nyc is way more expensive than where i've been living in the midwest. however, i'm used to paying $850 rent, so this isn't a huge jump. i'm just uncertain of what a good price would be. should i keep my eyes open for something less expensive? also, is the cost of living much more expensive in nyc just because rent is so damn much? or will my groceries and other expenses be much more expensive too?

also would very much appreciate any neighborhood recommendations or means of finding apartments in nyc
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just a heads-up: Unless you're already in a field in which you have a skillset, a $40k entry-level position for someone who has never worked in NYC is perhaps a tad overly optimistic.

Also, you need to learn where to shop, which you will get the hang of eventually. I've lived in a number of places, and NYC has the cheapest food, hands-down.
posted by griphus at 7:49 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Unless you are used to Wal-Mart prices, of course.)
posted by griphus at 7:50 PM on July 28, 2012

Well, just a few thoughts....
40K may or may not be "entry level" - could definitely be much less.
20K won't go very far if you have to rely on it for a while - any you definitely might.
$1150 is possible, but be prepared to pay more for less - this applies to pretty much everything -housing, food, entertainment etc.
To be happy and comfortable, it'll depend on what you're used to and what you'll tolerate.
Don't be afraid to live in NJ if it'll save you money. Its like going to Brooklyn, only in the opposite direction.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:53 PM on July 28, 2012

Are you planning on living alone? I know people with higher incomes that still do the roommate thing just because it's cheaper. If you are looking to live alone, $1150 will get you next to nothing, and certainly not in Fort Greene. If you want to live alone, I would say you could maybe MAYBE find a crappy 1br for $1300 in that neighborhood. Otherwise I would start looking for a roommate situation or a cheaper neighborhood.
posted by greta simone at 7:59 PM on July 28, 2012

I make about what you expect to and am not willing spend nearly that amount of money on rent. That said, I work in a relatively unstable/flexible field, and the choice to live lower to the ground is my own.

At the end of the day rent is going to be the bulk of your budget unless you plan to bring your car here. Without knowing where you're coming from, it's hard to tell whether things like groceries will be more expensive. Food may seem more expensive because a lot of gentrified Brooklyn neighborhoods are full of health food stores and upmarket groceries that specialize in imported speciality items. It can be hard to look past the $5 packets of imported European snacks and see the beans and rice that are just as dirt cheap as back home.

Entertainment type things like movie tickets and the price of a drink in a bar definitely will be more expensive, but the nice thing is that those aren't necessities.

Agree with others that you may be optimistic about pay, though that will depend on your field and what exactly you mean by "entry level".
posted by Sara C. at 8:03 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreed, too, that you won't find an apartment for $1150 in Fort Greene. It shouldn't be too hard to find a share for that, though.

Assume you'll have a roommate, even if it's possible that you could find a tiny basement studio somewhere that you could sort of afford. You'll get much more apartment for your money that way, and if you're new to the city it'll help you meet people and get the lay of the land.
posted by Sara C. at 8:06 PM on July 28, 2012

am looking at a $1150/mo (per person) in Fort Green

The Asker pretty clearly already found a place at this price, so I'm not sure how helpful telling them they'll never find anything at that price is. And "per person" kind of implies they are indeed planning to live with another person.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:19 PM on July 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

But the overall phrasing of the question indicates that OP hasn't found an apartment yet and is wondering if these numbers are realistic. So, no, they haven't already secured an apartment in Fort Greene at that price.

I originally assumed they meant a share, but since someone else brought it up, I thought I'd clarify.

People who don't live here have really bizarre ideas about how housing works.
posted by Sara C. at 8:22 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're planning on moving to NYC jobless, you might have trouble getting yourself on a lease.

$1150/mo. is doable for a room in a share in Fort Greene. Sunset Park, say, is cheaper, pleasant, and will get still get you to lots of jobs easily enough. I personally wouldn't want to be paying $1150 in rent on that income.

If you want neighborhood recommendations, you should probably list what you want.
posted by akgerber at 9:06 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Akgerber is on the money. $1150 is good for Fort Greene. But you could get cheaper elsewhere. Ie Sunset Park, Bay Ridge.

Be prepares to pay first last and security wherever you go so that's a couple thousand gone.

Also 40k is often a step above entry level. Many people start with internships or hourly. It isn't always easy to get your foot in the door. Be prepared for that. Your savings will help there but won't sustain you long in low or no income situations.
posted by manicure12 at 10:47 PM on July 28, 2012

All the above said....

Consider living closer to where you will work.

You save no money commuting too far. Time is money. Lifestyle matters.
posted by jbenben at 11:06 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is an absolutely brutal time in the NYC real estate market. The vacancy rate is well below 1% right now. Prices have hit the roof. (For a series of complicated reasons, which I can explain, if you care.) You should absolutely be sharing an apartment if you are moving here jobless. You can do circa $1000 or less per person, in Bushwick, Clinton Hill, nearer Bed Stuy, and maybe Fort Greene, if you're sharing. (Also Sunset Park, etc.) You will have a very hard time getting a lease of your own, without a guarantor, with no job.

Everything will be more expensive. But in the long run, you'll make more money, if things work out as they should.

But it's New York. If you want to be here, just suck it up, work it out and get on it. If you don't want to be here, you'll leave. More room for someone else who wants it more. :)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:51 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you have a roommate, you can definitely get a place for under $1150/person. I live in Ditmas Pakr now and am well below that; other neighborhood suggestions like RJ Reynolds's are good as well. I have some friends who just moved to Clinton Hill in an enormous apartment for $1200/person, and I'm sure there are less opulent things out there.
Don't know about your field but in mine it took me several years and several raises to get over $40k of yearly salary.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:34 AM on July 29, 2012

If you have $20,000 saved, make that last as long as you possibly can. Even if you were to land a $40k/year job the day after you move here, you don't want to be paying $1,150/month for rent unless you're willing to make other types of sacrifices. After taxes, health care, etc. on $40k/year, you can expect to see a check for around $1100 and change bi-weekly.

Mid-20s, you say? You'll be going out a lot, meeting new people, and drinking a lot (maybe). Someone here said food is cheap, but that's exaggerating. If you go out to eat, NYC is expensive, especially if you plan on dating quite a bit. If you have a social life, drinking is really expensive in New York. If you plan on taking the subways enough to warrant an unlimited monthly MTA card, that's $105/month. When you're new to NYC, you'll be exploring a lot and wanting to have loads of fun--and I do recommend that.

The last thing you want to become is one of the third of New Yorkers who pay more than half their income on rent.

$1150/month is your rent, maybe you'll be paying anywhere between $60-100 or more for Internet/gas/electricity (expect it to be high during the summer months and winter months). Then you have food, transportation, your social life, health care, and other necessities. Soon you'll find yourself spending closer to $1,500 or so just to live out here, and if you're only earning $40k, which is very optimistic for entry-level in your case unless you're a programmer/developer, that's more than what you'll be seeing in a single paycheck.

Sorry this is long-winded, but you ask--can you do better? Yes. Try Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, lower Harlem, Astoria. Don't pay more than $1,000 in rent if you hope to start at $40k/year. You can easily find shares for less than that in great areas if you look hard enough. I have a friend paying $890 for her share in a three-bedroom in Williamsburg next to the Metropolitan stop.
posted by consilience at 10:14 AM on July 29, 2012

If you plan on taking the subways enough to warrant an unlimited monthly MTA card, that's $105/month.

Which is a tiny fraction of what it costs to have a car in any other city. Getting around is dirt cheap here compared to the rest of the US. We gripe about how much fares have gone up in the past few years, but it's still an incredible bargain.
posted by Sara C. at 3:10 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Bushwick that costs about that much (total) -- you can save a lot of money if you are willing to live in less glamorous neighborhoods and have roommates.
posted by modernserf at 3:14 PM on July 29, 2012

Which is a tiny fraction of what it costs to have a car in any other city. Getting around is dirt cheap here compared to the rest of the US. We gripe about how much fares have gone up in the past few years, but it's still an incredible bargain.

That's true, but consider the fact that it can take up to 45 minutes or longer just to travel six miles and suddenly it doesn't really seem like such a bargain anymore.
posted by consilience at 5:16 PM on July 29, 2012

Consillience, you're not really suggesting that OP maintain a car in the city, right?

That's right, I thought not.
posted by Sara C. at 5:17 PM on July 29, 2012

Consillience, you're not really suggesting that OP maintain a car in the city, right?
That's right, I thought not.
posted by Sara C.

Agreed. For quite a while I owned TWO cars in NYC. You do not want to do this. It is not easy, or cheap. The extra time spent on public transportation is better in SO many ways.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:47 PM on July 29, 2012

Most everyone I know pays between 700 and 900. They all have shares, and they live in Astoria or Bushwick or BedStuy, but it is totally possible to get a room for muuuuuch less than 1150. Not in Fort Greene, maybe, but in lots of places.

Frankly, I make what you're looking to make and I can't imagine paying more than my current 830 without being totally miserable. But then, I have student loan payments...
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:58 PM on July 29, 2012

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