When looking for an apartment, how do you narrow down your options?

Asked by melpo1234, New York, NY Wed Feb 20, 2013

Aside from the obvious stuff like figuring out how many bedrooms & price, what do you look for and how do you do it?

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Elena Ravich, Esq.’s answer
Elena Ravich,…, Agent, New York City, NY
Wed Feb 20, 2013
I am glad that you found many listings to choose from because currently in Manhattan a shortage of supply became more of an issue.

Couple suggestions on how to narrow down your selection - you should write down all your important criteria and prioritize them. After determining your budget, what things are the most important to you about your new place, starting from more general to more specific. Are you looking for a specific neighborhood, proximity to subway or to a certain train line? Do you mind walking several avenues from the subway on your way home (takes about 5min to walk through one Ave and about 1 Min through 1 street) or you want to walk every day to exercise; what is a walk score from the closest grocery shopping, etc. - for example, if you do not want to walk more than 2 blocks from the subway on the East side - you do not look past 300s building numbers.
Do you have a cap on you future monthly expenses? Do you prefer pre-war or post war buildings? Pre-war buildings have higher ceiling and some fancy details that some people want and some do not care about. Are you looking for a building with a gym, roofdeck, any other specific amenities? Full time, part time doorman, or no doorman at all? Are coops ok or you got to have a condo? Do you mind a walk up building?
Are you looking for a pet friendly building - that will really narrow down your list.
Are you looking to finance not less than 80% or you can go to 70% - different buildings have different financing requirements and some are only for cash investors.

There are some other criteria that would take you or your broker more efforts to to investigate. Such as views from the apartment, level of light, specific layout requirements (like an open kitchen or walk in closets, or a dining alcove). Some people care about having lots of light in all the rooms and some would trade it off for something else, like a larger size or lower maintenance...
Some people are only looking for a recent renovation and some prefer doing their own renovation....

You really have to dig into things that are very important to you personally about your new place and are must have and what things are complimentary and you don't mind missing them.
We, brokers usually ask our clients to write down about 10 such criteria on a piece of paper and ask them to notify us when any of such criteria or their priorities change.

Good luck with your search and have fun !

Elena Ravich
Rakita Realty
646 593 7207
2 votes
Hey Elena,

I really like the suggestion of 10 criteria. What do you often see people write down? As I think about it, I can really only come up with like 3 or 4.

Flag Wed Feb 20, 2013
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Thu Feb 21, 2013
Much depends on your personal preferences, financials, wants, needs, lifestyle, etc.
1 vote
Trishia Hope, Home Buyer, Washington, PA
Sun Feb 24, 2013
If you don't know what features are available in your area, try exploring the websites of online apartment locator services. You can search for apartments based simply on whether you want a one- or two-bedroom apartment or by other features. It's a great way to find out both what your pad will cost and what neighborhoods have the features you want.

0 votes
Jubilong, , New York, NY
Sat Feb 23, 2013
Check out trulia's rental website or check with a local rental broker.
0 votes
John Peitler, Agent, NY,
Thu Feb 21, 2013
Please call me to discuss. My name is Tanuja and I can be reached at 347-882-0353.
0 votes
Jerry Trudell, Agent, NY,
Thu Feb 21, 2013
The majority of the time your budget narrows down your options for you. . To get even simpler, the first option that is hoped for in many cases is to live in Manhattan, and many people can barely afford to live below 96th street. If you can barely afford to live in Manhattan , you wont have many options, so that help narrow down your options a great deal. That being said, be realistic about what you can afford, once you have educated yourself about different price/neighborhood options.
If you can not afford to live in Manhattan, there are many good options that are about a third less in price than the same space in Manhattan. and a reasonable commute to the city, if that is where you are working or attending school..

Determine your logistical/commuting needs, and find a great neighborhood along the A , E or one of the other express trains. There are many options here, . but the first question that most people have these days is if they even have the option to live in Manhattan. below 96th street. More people are considering Washington Heights/Inwood , for this reason , as the apartments are spacious, and affordable.
There are also some great neighborhoods in Queens, that are very affordable, as Brooklyn has become pricey in the last few years. I hope this is useful information, and wish you the best,
Jerry Trudell
0 votes
Parish Pradh…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Feb 21, 2013
Price, Size and Location!! It all comes down to this. You need to figure out what's most important to you. Do you absolutely NEED it, or you just WANT it. You also need to see if a coop or condo suits you best. Write everything down and then start selecting your needs.
Since this is one of the biggest investment, you should consult with a specialist.
Good luck,
0 votes
Darius Chela…, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Feb 20, 2013
Actually that's a pretty simple answer. First you figure out how much you can spend on an apartment. Then you figure out where you could live and how much you could get for the money. When you figure those two things out... you pick the best you can get for the money ;)
0 votes
Charlie Summ…, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Feb 20, 2013
In my experience the best way to hone in on what you want most is to see a variety of different types of apartments and see what feels best. Decide how much you can or want to spend and go see various units that are priced within your budget. If you dont care where you live (most people care most a lot about this...) then see some units in several neighborhoods and see what's most convenient, where you tend to spend most of your free time, etc. Try a doorman building, and a walk-up. Try a smaller one which has more ammenities versus a larger one where you're paying for the space not the features (over time you;ll start understanding which means more to you). There's a lot of ways to spend any budget so once you;ve tried a few different options on for size you'll be closer to knowing what attributes are most worth paying for (e.g. size, location, full service bldg vs basic bldg, outdoor space, views, condition, etc). A good broker can help focus you on what may be most important to you. Charlie Summers, Bellmarc Downtown, 917-376-1648
0 votes
Armen Meschi…, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Feb 20, 2013
Word LOCATION comes to mind :)
Aside from being the key element in real estate, its broader meaning is - Where do you want to live that fits your LIFE better. Ask yourself what life you imaging and a location or two will emerge. Then it may be worth to see what your budget buys you in the neighborhoods you want to be in - then the rest of the puzzle pieces will fall into place and a picture of what you should look for will emerge.

0 votes
Raoul Sodoga…, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Feb 20, 2013

It is very simple.

You call a Real Estate Professional and he/she helps you thru that process.

Good Luck.

Best Regards,

Raoul Sodogandji
Member of ELITE
Licensed Real Estate Agent

(o): 212.252.8772 (EXT.782)
(c): 347.993.8333
(e): raouls@nestseekers.com

" It is common in all businesses that the level of customer service, is usually based on income generated from that service given; which is fairly unfair to those who need just the same service of selling, buying or renting in New York City.

That's one of the reasons why we came up with ELITE. It is the highest standard level of same service given from a $2000 rental to a $40 Millions sale, and instead of treating the customers differently, we've decided to give them the ELITE service.

Let's help you with our services, no matter your budget, what you are selling or want to buy, we will give you and your referrals the same best experience ever lived. "
0 votes
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