So You’re Moving to New York…
You’re probably excited. You’re probably terrified. You probably hope you don’t run away in a few years. Here are a few questions you may be asking yourself, and the best answers to make your move as seamless as possible.
1. Manhattan or Brooklyn?
Though Manhattan or Brooklyn used to be the question, the choice is more likely between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, New Jersey, Westchester or Connecticut now. Though if you’re moving to New York, you probably want to be in one of the five boroughs.
Manhattan is obviously one of the most coveted boroughs. It has everything, from restaurants to shopping to nightclubs. This is the center of the hustle and bustle in the city. Brooklyn is considered the second-most coveted. Some even refer to Brooklyn as, “The new Manhattan.” Brooklyn tends to have a laid-back West Coast hipster vibe. More people actually migrate from Manhattan to Brooklyn to go out on a Friday night now than the other way around.
Queens has an industrial vibe yet is its own beast as the largest borough spatially. The Bronx is still a little rough, yet it has plenty of culture; the Bronx Zoo, the Bronx Botanical Gardens and the Grand Concourse are all touristy areas. Staten Island is very suburban and feels more like New Jersey than New York.
2. Broker or No Broker?
Most New Yorkers hire brokers to find their apartments, condos and co-ops. When most outsiders move to New York, they swear they don’t need a broker. Yet they often crack. It’s not a bad idea to find a broker before heading to the Big Apple. Even if you want to try to “go it alone” for a bit, you might want a broker in the long run. The New York City real estate system is set up to favor brokers. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to a broker and start looking at apartments, so try to keep an open mind.
3. Apartment, Condo or Co-op?
In New York City, you can rent or own. Apartments are rented and condos are purchased (though many New Yorkers refer to condos as apartments).
Co-ops are in between renting and buying. Most New Yorkers deal with high homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, though. Make sure you ask about HOA fees prior to looking at an apartment. You might also need to ask around about other fees too. If you own an apartment, your HOA fees go to preserve common areas – not your apartment. You’ll still need to pay for those costs on your own.
4. What’s Up with Your Neighborhood?
New York City neighborhoods are ever-changing. They are practically living things. The neighborhood you move into won’t be the same hood in three-to-five years. New York is a transient culture. Nearly 8.5 million people live in the city right now. That number rises every year. This is kind of shocking when you think about how many people move to and from New York each year. Neighborhoods can change fast – which can be good and bad. Tons of factors can change a neighborhood’s flavor.
One of the major changes is gentrification, which is the changing of the social and economic climate of an area. Even though gentrification will probably change your neighborhood for the better, it will probably change your neighborhood in ways you do not enjoy too. Your favorite restaurant will close in a year and become a Duane Reade. The only family on the block who has lived here for more than two years will move away.
5. Where are the Subways?
It’s hard for people who are moving New York from “driving cities” to adapt to the walking and subway lifestyle. Plenty of people bring their cars with them. Most people ditch the cars after a few months. It’s extremely expensive to own a car in New York City. It’s equally expensive – and just as annoying – to take cabs everywhere.
Everyone uses the subway. Even wealthy residents and celebrities. It’s just more convenient than a car. Make sure your new apartment is close to the subway – within a few blocks.
Featured photo credit: Aurelien Guichard/New York City via flic.kr