More so than I’d like to admit, second semester senior year is a stressful time, even for those of us who do have plans after graduation. With changing locations and unclear salaries, one thing that’s got me on edge is finding housing that’s not in the middle of nowhere (or Staten Island), not at my parent’s house, and will leave me at least a couple bucks for retirement, or perhaps even happy hour. Here are some of the Ram Realm’s best tips for apartment shopping in the city this summer.
1. Exhaust all of your resources
The easiest way to find a roommate or a living situation is simply to ask. We’re all in the same boat here–ask your classmates, friends at other schools, and fellow interns if they or someone they know is in a similar situation. There are also plenty of Fordham alums coming back to NYC after taking a year or two elsewhere, so reach out when you can. Ask your parents and their friends for nieces and nephews, former babysitters, and other potential contacts. Check out Facebook for housing groups, and look for roommates on Craigslist (carefully, of course). You can never research too much, anxiety-inducing though it might be.
2. Think outside the island
Although Manhattan is easily the most glamorous of the boroughs and probably the best location, a lot of its prices are out of range for our meager starting salaries and still-hourly wages. Check out up-and-coming neighborhoods or ones that are already established areas for millenials. According to Craigslist posts, studios in Astoria, Queens, can run from $800 to $1000 per month, and multi-bedroom places are about the same, if not more affordable, in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, especially Bed-Stuy. Other feasible locations are Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey, a 15 minute-ride to midtown on the PATH train.
3. Shop smart in Manhattan
Though largely unaccessible for the newly graduated, there are deals to be scored in Manhattan as well. For the best selection, check out options near other universities, such as Columbia and FIT (Harlem/Morningside Heights and Chelsea). You can also find places on the Upper East and West Sides in the $1100 range, for those of you looking to be closer to midtown. Think of where the young and “fun-employed” are likely to be, and follow them to boozy brunch spots and fifth floor walk-ups.
4. Consult a knowledgeable broker
For those who don’t mind paying a fee, consider one of the many realtors who specialize in finding apartments for recent grads and their friends. As a 2012 New York Times article details, there are services for specific professions, such as young teachers, as well as other general firms. However, be prepared to pay up to three month’s rent in advance for these services, though the payoff might just be a bangin’ and (somewhat) affordable apartment in a great location.
5. Become the ideal roommate rather than looking for one
If you’re one of the few who already has an idea of who you want to live with, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, remember to be easygoing and honest. Living with people outside of Fordham can be scary, just as it was moving here for the first time a few years ago. The more willing you are to be flexible, the easier it will be to find roommates. Make a list of what is absolutely essential and totally deal-breaking in rooming buddies, and keep in mind your good and bad habits when talking to potential housemates.