8 best NYC apartment hunting resources

Searching for an apartment in NYC is likely one of the most stressful things you will ever experience while living in the city.0316APP-tmagSF

You have likely started your search on Craigslist and found seemingly perfect apartments with “no (realtor) fee” …only to find they were either a bold-faced lie posted by sneaky real estate agents with astronomical fees or a money-stealing ploy posted by a scam artist, attempting to steal your security deposit before you even view the apartment. In a nutshell…it’s a headache.

My best advice is to be realistic about your apartment search. You are not going to find a brand-new, beautiful apartment in a great location that is also within your budget easily (if at all). However, there ARE some helpful resources to use to find the best apartment within your means. I found the resources below through word of mouth and countless hours scouring NYC apartment blogs, so I thought it would be helpful to distill it down to a simple post. Happy hunting!

Websites
Streeteasy.com – I have found this site to be the most reliable in terms of general pricing and finding the true location of the apartment. Best of all, they allow you to search by building (and see what other similar units have rented for and when), and also by distance from your job via public transportation. Highly recommend, though know in advance most listings come with a realtor fee. Streeteasy also offers an iPhone app.

Suitey.com – I wrote about the nice extra perks Suitey offers to their clients in a previous post, but their apartment-finding service is also worth noting. I found many apartments listed on here that I could not find elsewhere or on Streeteasy. All of them come with a realtor fee, since Suitey is essentially a realtor service, though it may be worth the extra money to secure an overall lower rent rate than if you were apartment hunting by yourself. The database seems to pull from MLS listings that are usually only available to real estate agents, but Suitey allows individual users to access these. It’s worth it to sign up just for this search feature, even if you don’t use a Suitey realtor. You can simply take the address/location of can apartment that you like from Suitey and look it up on Streeteasy to figure out which realtor the landlord is using directly (which might help cut some fees)…You will quickly realize that you must be shameless and ruthless in the NYC real estate market, so don’t ever feel bad for doing some apartment detective work.

RentHackr.com – This site allows you to “connect with the best apartments before they hit the market and follow buildings to receive instant notifications and insider information.” But most importantly, RentHackr promotes transparency, as real people post their real rents, which allows you to comparison shop true pricing…and know if your real estate agent is ripping you off.

Housing Groups
The Listings Project (f.k.a. Stephanie’s List) – This free weekly email is curated personally by the site’s creator, so the possibility of bogus listings is significantly lowered…especially since you must pay a fee to list your rental listing. The list was originally created to serve the artist/creative community, but anyone is allowed to subscribe. Emails are sent out every Wednesday morning and include listings for:

  • Art studios for rent
  • Art studios for share
  • Art Studios for sublet
  • Office/desk space for rent or sublet
  • Exhibition / Event space for rent or sublet
  • Rooms for rent
  • Rooms for sublet
  • Live/Work space
  • Apartments for rent
  • Apartments for sublet
  • Apartments for sale
  • Houses for rent
  • Houses for sublet
  • Houses for sale
  • Seeking apartments for rent
  • Seeking art studios for rent
  • Housesitting
  • Swap
  • Non-real estate opportunities: exhibition opportunities, open calls, internships, jobs, services, items for sale, rent or barter

Gypsy Housing – Don’t let the weird name or Facebook description scare you. Self-described as: “A group to connect members of the NEW YORK PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY who have a need for housing. THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVE GROUP…IF YOU DO NOT FIT THE QUALIFICATIONS, PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST TO JOIN…YOU WILL NOT BE ADDED.  **PLEASE NOTE: IF IT IS NOT READILY APPARENT UPON A QUICK PROFILE VIEW THAT YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY, YOU WILL NOT BE ADDED.**” …However, I clearly am not a prima ballerina member of the NY ballet or an artsy gallery owner, and they added me to the group. So give it a shot. People post sublets, rooms for rent, lease-breaks and available apartments multiple times each day. Also, this is a good way to connect with a huge group of people if you are looking for a roommate.


Phone Apps
MoveMent – Known as the app to finally put landlords, brokers and the public on equal ground, MoveMent requires listings to have live geotagged videos/photos of the actual apartment for rent. Photos must be uploaded from within the physical apartment and listers are required to re-post their listings every 5 days, ensuring you are not wasting your time looking at apartments that are no longer available.

Urban Compass- This app also offers search features on their website. It is very similar to MoveMent, though its app interface is easier to use and more user-friendly. The website works similarly to Suitey. Pricing seems realistic, though note that most apartments come with a fee.

RadPad – Like MoveMent, RadPad requires listings to be geo-tagged and verified. And like Urban Compass, they have a website too.

Free services for #broke New Yorkers

The moment I stumbled across Suitey, a real estate tech startup, and General Assembly, an online and in-person technology school taught by professionals, I knew I hit the jackpot.

Not only are both sites incredibly helpful and provide great services, but they both offer awesome FREE benefits to users…and it’s free to sign up too: the definition of a win-win situation. Also, I am going to list all of the codes below to save you all the leg work…you’re welcome.

Site: Suitey.com Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 7.08.34 PM
What: A NYC real estate site that allows users to search listings and then book appointments with Suitey agents to view them. The site offers a special concierge service for customers that is accessible immediately upon signing up, even if you have not rented an apartment through them or even viewed a listing. Hint: Take advantage before they figure this out…like right now.
How: Sign up for a Suitey account and then head over to the Suitey Moving Concierge section.
Benefits:

  • Time Warner Cable – Free installation and first month of cable free (from $89.99 triple play package)
  • Uber – $15 car service credit for first time users (enter in-app code: SUITEY15)
  • Better Move – 10% off your next move
  • Equinox – Free one week trial at the luxury fitness club
  • Parcel – Three free package deliveries (sign up here and enter code: SUITEY)
  • SoulCycle – One free SoulCycle spin class
  • Zipcar – $75 driving credit (sign up here and enter code: SUITEY2012)
  • Handybook – Free one hour of home services (sign up here and enter code: suite)


Site:
 GeneralAssemb.ly Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 7
What: A school for tech geeks and business hounds alike that offers trendy online and in-person classes and tutorials. Best part? Instructors are industry professionals that aren’t just reciting case studies from a text book; they’re teaching from their own experience and imparting cutting edge knowledge.
How: Sign up for a free two-week trial of the online portion of General Assembly and you will receive an email linking to their Front Row Member Benefits.
Benefits: 

  • Shutterstock – 15% off royalty-free stock photos, videos and illustrations (sign up here and enter code: FRONTROW15)
  • Clarity.fm – $25 credit towards one-on-one business advice from entrepreneurs (sign up with this link)
  • Karma – 30% off mobile wifi services (sign up with this link)
  • Typeform – Six months of free online survey and web form building tools (sign up here and enter code: STUgssembly&07)
  • Omnigraffle – 20% off licenses for graphics like flow charts, diagrams and more (sign up here and enter code: GAUX2014)
  • O’Reilly – 50% off tech books and media from the world’s most trusted publishers (sign up with this link)
  • Oyster Books – Two months of free access to over 100,000 books via the Oyster app for first-time users (sign up with this link)
  • Amazon Web Services – $250 credit towards a low-cost, easy-to-scale “in the cloud” computing platform (sign up with this link)
  • Elance – $50 credit towards the freelance job board: post your services or find a freelancer for your needs (sign up with this link)
  • Holstee – 20% off tastefully-designed prints and posters (sign up here and enter code: galore)
  • Kimono – 50% off web app service…turn your web site into an API in seconds without writing a single line of code (sign up by emailing ga@kimonolabs.com and mentioning that you’re a GA Front Row member)
  • UXPin – Three months free + 25% off of UX design tools built by UX designers (sign up here and enter code:  ga_ooPIAH)

#FitnessFriday: Sweat for a Cause with NYC’s 2nd Annual “Sweaty Saturday”

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Hey everyone! I heard about this awesome event in a newsletter from Uplift Studios, a workout studio just for women that really kicks your butt into shape (in a good way, of course–a review of a class I took there to come!), and thought I would share the details.

Visit SweatySaturday.com for more information, but basically this is a brand new event to raise money for The Partnership for a Healthier America and promote a healthy lifestyle by focusing on fitness, health and wellness…sounds like a win-win to me!

WHEN: Saturday, February 22, 2014

WHERE: Fitness studios throughout New York. Check out a list of participating studios and the classes they are offering here.

WHAT: Sweaty Saturday™ is the first day New York City is devoting entirely to fitness, health and wellness. In its second year, Sweaty Saturday™ on February, 22 2014, brings together New York City’s finest fitness studios, health brands and wellness experts. Studios will offer special classes and amazing music, and there will be plenty of nutritional advice, limited- edition goodies, raffles and giveaways.ss1
And, while you’re doing your body good, you’re also doing something else equally valuable:
A portion of the proceeds from Sweaty Saturday™ will go to Partnership for Healthier America, which is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis.