I have just moved into my new short-term apartment in the Greater New York area. What I meant by this is that I am not on a fixed contract. If I find another place, all I need to do is provide a month’s notice and I am free to go. This was perfect for my situation. The apartment itself is not too bad either; the location is good as I can walk to work in 20 minutes, and the rent is all inclusive. The only limitation is that the landlord needs it back by October, giving me 3 months maximum to find a new place. So, this has worked out well. The hard part is now finding a place in Manhattan!
I knew this was not going to be easy when my boss informed me that the vacancy rate in Manhattan is currently very low. This does not mean that there are not vacant places; looking on Craiglists shows there are plenty of places still on the market. The issue comes down to two factors – more people applying for one place, and rent prices. I have a very specific budget in mind to help keep costs down in the big apple, allowing to save some of my money. The problem is that this will further limit my choice in the type of apartment I want.
You may be thinking why does a minimalist want to move into Manhattan? Surely this goes against trying to live more with less? Apart from the higher costs of living in Manhattan, I am still striving to achieve more with less. Think of it this way – I will have to settle for a smaller place in the city, which means I get to appreciate living in a smaller area. I am also allowed to work remotely for my job, meaning that I do not have to travel everyday. One of the main reasons I wanted to live in America was to test my minimalist mindset in the deep end (read that article here). What better way than trying it out in Manhattan?
Coming back to the higher cost of the city, this still fits my values at the moment. Being a minimalist does not mean that I remove everything from my life. It is about identifying what is important in your life and focusing on that. For me, I want to live in a big city as this is something I have never done before. Therefore, if that means paying a higher price to experience that, then that is the price I will pay. As I mentioned, I am going in with a specific budget in mind so I can still have savings each month. If I am successful in moving to Manhattan, I will let you know how that goes…!
Coming back to the subject of this blogpost; I am also limited because some places charge a broker’s fee if you get an apartment. This is generally around 10-15% of the annual rent, which is a huge chunk of change. However, being a minimalist, there is a way I can get around spending this money; by contacting the leasing companies directly. I have found a good website that allows to search all no-fee rentals in New York. In case you are interested, or know someone else who is struggling to find a place, direct them to http://www.nybits.com/search/.
I am also fortunate enough to know someone who is also looking for a place in Manhattan. I was introduced to him through an ex-work colleague. This improves our chances of finding a place as we are both on it almost daily. We have already managed to see a number of apartments, but this was before we realized that a broker’s fee meant for the year…not for the month (this was a huge shock to us at the time! Clearly one of the few people not to know!)
Please wish me luck in finding a place in the city. There is a chance we may move just outside it; perhaps Hoboken, New Jersey. The aim is to have a place sorted by the end of August. Watch this space!
If you happen to have any tips of finding a place in the city, please leave a comment. I am all ears at the moment!