Making a big move anywhere can be intimidating but it can sometimes seem like moving to the Big Apple is especially daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be! We have a great list of moving to NYC tips you can use to help you start off on the right foot.

Finding The Perfect Apartment To Move Into 

Know Your Budget

This is the first step to moving to NYC or anywhere else. Where can you afford to live? What’s your maximum budget for monthly rent?  NYC rent prices are the highest in the country so you need to keep that in mind.   

When considering this, don’t forget you’ll have other expenses. Not only will you have to pay for utilities, but you’ll also have to be able to afford necessities such as buying groceries. Your max budget shouldn’t be the absolute furthest that you can stretch your paycheck either. It’s better to have a cushion to fall back on. 

Moving to NYC tip: You will need to carve out anywhere between $1,500 to $4,000 per month based on recent rental statistics whether you're living with roommates or alone.  

Start Your Apartment Search In Advance

It makes sense that you wouldn’t want to find an apartment last minute before a big move. Giving yourself plenty of time to find a place to live will help you avoid common downfalls. It’ll also help you make sure that you have a solid, locked-in place to live when you get to NYC.  Keep in mind that NYC rental apartments move FAST!  There is low supply and high demand.  You need to know as much information about the market as possible.     

There are a few ways to look for apartments in NYC but looking online is the most effective option. This is especially true if you’re moving far from your current home to New York. 

Plenty of websites help you look for apartments but there are some that go above and beyond. Transparentcity, for example, specializes in helping you find no broker fee apartments by connecting you directly to property managers. Specialized sites like this will help you find a great place while helping you save thousands of dollars on broker fees.  

Moving to NYC tip:  Start your online apartment research as soon as you know you're going to move into NYC just so you can get a feel for how the rental market works here.  Before an actual move in date, your apartment search should take place 1 to 2 months prior.  The reason for that is again, NYC rental apartments move fast.   

Get All Your Documentation In Order

When there is a good apartment available in NYC, it isn’t likely to sit vacant for long. So, you’ll want to be sure that you have everything you need to close on an apartment before you’re ready to. Here’s a checklist of what you should expect to have on hand when you’re seriously considering renting an apartment in NYC: 

  • Photo ID
  • Bank statements to show savings
  • Paystubs to show proof of income
  • Social security number for application
  • Rental history 
  • References 
  • Recommendations from previous landlords
  • Non refundable credit check
  • A guarantor if the income requirements for the apartment are not met
  • First months rent in cashiers check
  • One month security deposit in cashiers check
  • Check for the broker fee (if necessary unless you go through transparentcity)
  • Lease signing may require notarization so guarantor should be there

There are a few things on this list that deserve an explanation. First, if you are moving for a new job in New York, the landlord may want to see proof of a job offer rather than paystubs. This shows them that you’ll have a steady source of income, so they need to know your salary. 

Recommendations from previous landlords don’t have to be literal letters from them. Typically, you can give their contact information but even then, a direct letter will be the fastest route. References are personal connections that can vouch for you as a good potential tenant. This isn’t always asked on an application but when it is, you’ll want to have permission from quality sources.

Not every apartment you look at will ask for all of these items but it’s always better to be over prepared rather than underprepared. 

Moving to NYC tip: Spend extra time combing through the checklist.  Understand the absurdity that is the NYC rental market is real and tackle it head on.  

Be Aware Of Broker Fees

Broker fees work in a few basic ways. An exclusive listing includes a broker who has rights to represent the landlord. In these cases, you can expect a 15% fee most of the time.  The hardest part about a rental brokers job in NYC is securing exclusive rights to a listing.  It involves a lot of sales and marketing. This 15%, is a one time upfront fee on top of your rent. So, a $2,500/month apartment would be $30,000/year which makes for a fee of $4,500. Many NYC apartments are exclusive listings, especially when it comes to renting in a condo or coop building so you’re likely to run into this scenario when browsing through popular rental sites such as Streeteasy, Naked Apartments, Renthop,, Zumper, etc.  

Finally, be aware of the “no fee” apartments filter on those same listings sites.  They don’t bypass the fee entirely as we previously outlined since nobody works for free.

Moving to NYC tip: If you are willing to schedule visits to see the apartments yourself because you'd like to save the few thousand dollars in fees , transparentcity is a great resource because it connects you directly to the property managers which ensures that you bypass the broker fees.  In order to guarantee not paying a broker fee, you need to make sure there is no third party broker involvement in the transaction.      

Know That Moving Into An NYC Apartment Is A Nightmare

Doors are smaller, stairs are thinner in NYC.  There is going to be lots of maneuvering when moving all of your furniture.  Best get some movers involved.  There are a good amount of moving company aggregators out there.  

Moving to NYC tip: Most large buildings with an elevator will only allow you to move large ticket items during work hours on the weekdays.  Scheduling for moves is more flexible with walk up apartments.    

Seamless Is Huge, Not Grubhub

Online food ordering has exploded in recent years.  However, in NYC, it has been around for just a bit longer.  Seamless (fka seamlessweb) originally started off in the NYC market whereas Grubhub has their roots in the midwest.  In 2013, the two company merger took place with Grubhub becoming the parent company.  The two brands are still separate and have their own apps.  NYC runs on Seamless.   Even though they are pretty much the same app, you're going to look silly if you are seen using the wrong one.  


Deli's Are Your Convenient Best Friend

There is a local bodega deli nearly ever two blocks in NYC.  These are your 'must have now' stores that will sell anything from snacks, sandwiches, drinks to disposable products of every sort.  ALSO, they are generally open 24/7 for your convenience.  They might look awfully gross from the outside but don't be intimated.  They literally have everything you will need at the most urgent times. 



There are a few tidbits that every newcomer ought to know.  

The Subways: Difference Between Local And Express


The difference between taking a local and express to your final destination can be the difference of 20 minutes.  Everyone in NYC tries to get to their final destination at warp speed and will push and shove anyone getting in their way.  20 minutes extra is a lifetime.  Express trains are Diamond shaped and will stop at around half of the stops whereas Local trains are the Circle.  Check out the example subway above.      

How To Pick up A Yellow Taxi In NYC


If you are ever on the streets of NYC and see people trying to hail yellow cabs, you can immediately tell who the tourists are.  They are the people standing in a specific area waiting about 30 minutes trying to hail a yellow cab even while you see random people popping up right behind or ahead of them catching a cab in seconds. 

Here is the hidden secret most people still don't know.  On the left, you have a cab that is Active and willing to pick up nearby passengers.  The light on top of the cab is lit!  On the right, you have a cab that is not on duty and will not pick you up even though you are waving furiously.  Why?  Because the light is off and the car either already has a passenger or he's off duty and does not want to be bothered.  

Rideshare Pools

In NYC, due to the sheer volume of people who live in the city, rideshare apps have a special 'pooling' service where passengers car pool together.  Riders choose the pool option at a cheaper price and random passengers get picked up along the way before getting to your final destination.  This functionality only exists in urban areas and is especially useful in NYC if you're on a budget.