the skinny on snagging a phat apartment in NYC

Today I have hit a wall. I know what you’re thinking, it’s not Monkey #2, she’s a great baby and all is going as well as can be with a one week old – I’m in love. It’s apartment hunting. We are living in an apartment leased by Big Monkey’s work as part of our relocation package. The lease is up at the end of the month and we are more than ready to move on from here (long story for another time).

We’ve had our sights set on Brooklyn and have been heading out there on the train on weekends to get a feel for different areas. Brooklyn is so massive, so diverse and so different even from just one street to another. We narrowed down our ideal neighborhoods and began our hunt. Craigslist is the favorite around here. Problem is it takes alot of time to wade through the real ads as opposed to the ones that are trying a bait and hook routine – you call about the rental, he tells you it is now off the market but offers to show you something else usually far inferior. Can you say timewaster? Time is something we are in short supply of around here. We ditched Craigslist pretty fast and enlisted the help of 2 brokers. We were hoping to not have to use a broker as they take a minimum of 1 month’s rent on top of the 1 month’s rent that will have to be paid to the landlord. It is hard to get anywhere without a broker in NYC, especially when you are new to the city.

Generally leases start on either the 1st or 15th of the month, so hunting usually begins on the 1st of the previous month. In fact, Big Monkey was viewing a few choices when I called to tell him my waters had broke.

By the beginning of last week we thought we’d narrowed it down to 2 choices. So we filled out form after form, supplied info about our income as well as personal and business references and bank account information. We also had to put through a credit check at a cost of $35 even though we warned them their would be no history. Well waddya know, the credit check turned up zero history. So now we find ourselves in a terrible catch 22 where we are unable to get a definite yes from either property because of a lack of credit history, even though we have the proof of future ongoing income to cover the rent. So the rules keep changing, the landlords want more upfront and still no guarantees from either property. We’re concerned now that they might string us along until they find someone else. We’re trying to get the broker to lock it down this week. With less than 3 weeks til the end of the month we din’t want to start our search all over.

So we’re wondering, how do decent people with no credit history in the country get a nice apartment without paying through the nose? Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you by the end of the week



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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »