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NYC apartment hunting tips during the summer rush: NYCurious

Some agents said business typically doubles during the season.

Although more people are looking for apartments in

Although more people are looking for apartments in the summer, there do tend to be more units on the market, brokers say. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStock

This is part of our series, NYCurious, where we answer your questions about the city. Tweet or Facebook Message your queries to us at @amNewYork, with #NYCurious

Temperatures are not the only thing heating up in the summer — a crush of newcomers can make apartment hunting particularly competitive in the summer.

Brokers’ busiest period starts in May and continues through August, with some reporting their business nearly doubles during the season. Although the influx of recent graduates, summer interns and families relocating when school is not in session brings heightened competition, there are also typically more apartments on the market during the season, according to brokers.

Here are brokers’ suggestions for snagging a deal during the summer:

Get a head start:

Prices often go up hundreds of dollars in summer months, so hammering out a lease in April could be beneficial. “If you have the means to move a little bit early and get in before the rush comes, I definitely think that’s going to do you wonders,” said Arielle Carraha, an agent at Triplemint. August is notorious for being the busiest month, so Carraha advised starting the house hunt by July 15.

Be prepared:

Brokers recommend having all your paperwork together before viewing apartments to avoid delays in finalizing applications and apartment deals. Particularly when using a guarantor, Carraha suggested gathering both parties’ tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and employer letters in one place. “When parents still need to dig their tax returns out from last year, it can take them 2-3 days, and by that point apartments are already rented,” said Carraha.

Use a broker:

Do not be afraid of a broker’s fee. Cammy Cutler, managing director of Mdrn. Residential, said brokers offer access to limited listings that do not appear online and can ensure you do not miss out on apartments that are priced at or below market-rate. “While everyone might think StreetEasy is the place to go, using a broker honestly is your best bet,” Cutler said.

Make your move:

Brokers say most people, especially guarantors, are surprised at the fast-paced New York market. “Really, all it takes is five minutes for you to snag the place that you really want, or to have it swept from right underneath your feet,” said Lancelot Watson-Taffe, a salesperson with Douglas Elliman. To avoid a bidding war, Watson-Taffe said house hunters should strive to “be the first” to put down a complete application.

Be realistic: 

Researching specifics about locations, typical requirements and what will work with your budget is wise. Brokers said that ensuring all roommates are on the same page can streamline decision making. “An open mind with realistic goals — that’s the edge,” said Edward Henwood, an agent at Mirador Real Estate.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the title of Lancelot Watson-Taffe. 


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