It’s that time of the year when leases are expiring and new leases are to be signed. But before you jump into that year-long or so commitment, New York City real estate broker Aden Seraile of Esra Realty—a boutique real estate agency that has been serving the Harlem, New York, community for more than 80 years—shares some inside tips with BET.com.
When looking to rent an apartment:
1) Factor in ALL of your expenses: Through his experience, Seraile says that factoring in all of your expenses is one of the best tips he could give someone. Ask “Is there parking included? Are there laundry facilities?” if those are of importance to you.
Once you start to add up all the additional costs, your monthly expenses, in addition to rent, could be a lot higher than you were expecting.
A solution? “Create an expenditure budget for everything that goes into your apartment on a monthly basis before you commit to anything,” Seraile says.
2) Spend time in multiple neighborhoods: Whether you are in New York or Los Angeles, or anywhere in between, Seraile suggests spending time in the neighborhood in which you are considering living.
“It could be as simple as sitting in a café for an afternoon and seeing what the traffic is like,” he says. He also suggests, especially in the city of New York, subletting in the neighborhood for a couple of weeks. This will give you a literal sense of what the area is like without making a long-commitment, just yet.
3) Research trending data: On sites such as Trulia.com and StreetEasy.com you can find information about the neighborhood demographics, compiled from census information. You can also find out what the average rent is, median income for the area and percentage of properties owned versus rented.
Start looking at your property from more of an academic, not emotional standpoint.
“You could be paying $2,000, which is expensive, but if the whole neighborhood is only paying $1,200, you realize that you’re paying luxury rates in a not so luxury neighborhood." Seraile cautions.
4) Don’t be shy, approach people: When visiting the specific neighborhood in which you are thinking about moving, Seraile suggests to approach people and ask them about the block or neighborhood. He says that you can simply say and ask, “I’m moving in, is there anything that I should be aware of?”
“The people who live there are always going to have the inside information. You hate to be moving in when everyone is moving out,” Seraile jokingly says.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)