A few weeks ago, we answered your question about finding apartments on the cheap. And we've advised people to move out of bad living situations. So now, the time has arrived: what do you do when it's time to find a new apartment?
About a month ago, Time Out had their annual apartments issue, and the good news is that now is an optimal time to find a new apartment in the city; rents are going down, landlords are eager to rent out empty space.
And then comes the mysterious entity known as Craigslist. We've found apartments through Craigslist, and imagine you have too, but it seems that recently, as more people participate, the sketchiness factor has escalated. The only way to verify if an ad seems to good to be true is to call and ask a lot of questions. Is there a fee, and if so, what is it? Has the building had pest problems? What is the super like? What are the odds my rent will be increased next year? Again, Time Out gives us the good news that it is, in fact, pretty easy to get a great apartment on Craigslist, and usually the sketchiest of ads are obvious (we saw an ad yesterday for an ideal apartment, but the broker had neglected to include contact information... I wonder how many apartments he's rented?).
We also have who've had good luck going through a real estate agency, but naturally you'd have to pay a little extra. Fees are running as high as 10% of a year's rent, which can be pretty hefty.
And don't fear the unknown! It could very well prove worth your while to check out a neighborhood you're unfamiliar with to find a new apartment.
Related: Gothamist on New York City apartments.