Moving... till I don't know what's sane.
December 30, 2012 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Is moving to Inwood, Manhattan possible for what I'm looking for?

I've had a great (cheap) roommate thing in Brooklyn for the last 11 years that will end in May, as my soon-to-be-ex-roommate is getting married and her dad wants the place back for his own use. After determining my needs (no more roomies, separate bedroom, separate kitchen, a body of water in walking distance) I'm looking at upper Manhattan. Ideally, I want a one-bedroom in Inwood, but Harlem/East Harlem/Hamilton Heights/Hudson Heights/Fort George/Washington Heights are OK, too.

Aside from where I'm currently living in Brooklyn, which is way, way, WAAAY too expensive otherwise, the other boroughs don't appeal. At all. I've lived in NYC for a long time and know most of the nabes in all boroughs pretty well, and lived in three boroughs. I love that Inwood has the last natural forest in NYC. I love that The Cloisters are right there. It's so quiet. I like how "neighbourhood-y" Inwood feels.

Apparently, I'm supposed to get a promotion/raise and a bonus in the 1st quarter next year from my current job, Capital One says I actually qualify for a "fair to middlin'" regular credit card (I didn't realize that I could've applied for and gotten a card 10 years ago even after wrecking my rating as a 19 year old in college), so hopefully I'll have some sort of decent rating once I need to really start searching in April.

I've paid my rent on time since I've been here and my roommate (or her dad) would be more than happy to write recco letters to that effect. I've paid my Verizon bill and mobile phone bill on time as well, even when I was unemployed for 2 years. My intuition tells me that with the raise, I'd be able to pay up to ~$1300/mo. I've never had a lease while living in NYC, so I might as well be straight from Bumblestick as far as this whole rental business is concerned.

I've read the previous "How to find a place in NYC" AskMe's, and they seem to be out of date now, so I'm asking again: What's the deal in getting a place in NYC these days? Craigslist/Padmapper/Hotpads/Trulia/Zillow seem to have so many scammy listings, and though I see 1-bed rentals under $1300 in Upper Manhattan, I don't trust them to be real. I hear so much crap about brokers that I'm not sure what to do.

TL;DR: I have to move within NYC by mid-May 2013; looking for 1-bed w/separate kitchen in upper Manhattan, preferably Inwood. Can most likely pay up to $1300/mo. Are these expectations too out there given my financial parameters? What should be my plan of action to get as close to what I want as possible?
posted by droplet to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rule of thumb for most leasing agents in NYC is a yearly salary that is 40 times the cost of one month's rent. That said, a guarantor (parent) is usually fine, and I've heard offering a few months up front sometimes solves problems.

We live in Washington Heights. When we were hunting, we went out with a few brokers and they weren't nearly as familiar with the neighborhood as they claimed to be. They also only showed us overpriced recent renos targeted at gentrification. We ended up calling a management company directly and asking if they had anything- we found the perfect place the next day.

I would spend a couple of days walking around the neighborhood writing down the phone numbers posted on the buildings. There's a few big names, like Vantage, that'll direct you to their website, but there are some smaller companies too.

Northern Manhattan is an amazing place to live. Good luck.
posted by jenad at 1:28 PM on December 30, 2012

This is not about rent so much, but a long time ago I dated someone from Inwood. When I stayed over I always was happy she lived in the vicinity of the subway stations (googlemap). It was a big help especially in the winter months.
posted by lampshade at 1:33 PM on December 30, 2012

I live in washington heights in a large one bedroom walkup, 2nd floor, no doorman bldg, $1350 per month rent. Not a huge fan of this area of manhattan but it's fine for now.
posted by dfriedman at 1:38 PM on December 30, 2012

We also live in Washington Heights; your budget puts you on the low-end for a one-bedroom but I think it's still do-able. We moved here a year and a half ago and did all our searching via Craigslist. Meet with a lot of brokers until you find someone who really knows the area, as mentioned above. Calling management companies directly is also a good plan (a lot of buildings have signs with the management company's phone number right near the front door).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:38 PM on December 30, 2012

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