Grad Student How-To: Moving in NYC
Moving in New York City is infamously hectic. Since on-campus student housing is very limited, most graduate students often have to look for off-campus housing. Living off-campus can definitely come with challenges. Below, I share my story of how I moved to New York City in the middle of midterms abd the tips & tricks I figured out!
First, start early!
Starting a month early in apartment searching helps to alleviate stress; it also prevents any emergency problems that might occur along the way. In New York City, real estate can be extremely competitive. Multiple people might fight for the same apartment at the same time. Take too long to file your application? Your dream aparemtment won't be on the market long! While the pandemic has slowed things a bit, it's still competitve. Start early and be ready to move forward if you find the one! This means having all your documents and a deposit ready.
Second, find the apartment!
»Use the internet:There are several online tools you can use to find an apartment. Streeteasy, Zillow, and Rent.com are just a few of the many online search tools out there. I used Streeteasy during my search. On these platforms, you can select the NYC boroughs that you are interested in moving to. You can also select your budget and the size of the apartment. The advanced option on the Streeteasy search also allows you to select the time at which the apartment is available, the amenities you want (e.g., washer/dryer in-unit, dishwasher, doorman, elevator, and many more) in your building and apartment. You can even select the transit lines that you want to stay close to!
»Know what you need: If you are an international student like me, you will also be required to find a guarantor in most cases. A lease guarantor is someone who co-signs the apartment with you; the guarantor is responsible for the rent when the tenant is financially unable to pay. While it is possible to find apartments that do not require a guarantor, it can be tough. Seeking out real estate agents might be helpful in a situation like this because they can help you to negotiate. Ultimately, my roommate and I decided to move to Jersey City because our real estate agent found an apartment in Jersey City that did not require a guarantor.
»Use Social Media: Another way to find an apartment is to use Facebook groups. There are a lot of subleases that are posted by other NYU students that are leaving the city or they simply want to move to a new place. Subleases can be convenient as there are often less legal arrangements involved, and you might not be required to obtain a guarantor if you were an international student. However, it is important to be cautious when finding a place using Facebook groups since there are potentially scams.
»Take Pics: Do not forget to film all of the apartments you viewed! This allows you to keep track of all of the apartments that you have seen.
Third, arrange the move-in date!
» Move in arrangements: After you find an apartment, the next step is to arrange a move-in date. You need to contact the management team at your apartment to inquire about the specifics in moving into your apartment since each apartment management team has different requirements. Often enough, the management team will require a separate deposit check to cover any damages from your move if you aren't hiring professional movers. If you decide to move with a moving company, the apartment might require a proof of Certificate of Insurance from the moving company. The COI insures the moving company and provides compensation if any damages are inflicted upon the apartment building.
» Moving your stuff: If you are moving a small amount of stuff and you are able to drive, you can rent a truck from U-Haul and move on your own. However, if you are unable to drive or simply do not want to move on your own, you may also find a Tasker through Taskrabbit. Taskrabbit allows one to request a tasker to help one to move, and you may even request the tasker to be in possession of their own vehicle! If you will be moving a lot of stuff, you may also find a list of top movers in NYC through Yelp! These movers are often used for large-scale moving.
My roommate and I decided to move on a Friday and we were able to spend the entire weekend packing. We had to move while in classes, which was very stressful. We do not recommend moving during a school semester unless you absolutely have to.
Lastly, deal with the necessities!
»"I need utilities?" Even after you secured an apartment, there is still much to do! First, setting up a utility account. Before you move in to your new place, you may need to call to set up a utility account. The electric utility in New York City is Con Edison. If you are new to New York, you can open an account in your name by calling them at 1-800-752-6633 (or 1-212-243-1900 if calling from outside of NYC). If you were moving to Jersey City, there is a list of regulated utilities in New Jersey on the New Jersey board of Public Affairs website. Electric utility service varies depending on the region of New Jersey, I recommend you to confirm with the management team at your apartment before moving in.
»You can never have too many boxes: Boxes are an important part of the moving in process. I bought my moving boxes from Boxper. Boxper did same day delivery, which was convenient if you are a procrastinator like me. I also bought boxes from Home Depot because I needed a special box for my TV. I had to walk from the Upper West side to the Upper East Side with this box, which was not fun. So, I highly reccommend getting them delivered when possible.