NYC house hunting checklist

New York City has been the most desirable place to live for decades now. However, that popularity is making life in the city very problematic in some areas. One problem you might encounter when moving to NYC is finding a good and affordable place to live. Luckily for you, Best Movers NY prepared this NYC house hunting checklist that will help you find a perfect place to live regardless of whether you are trying to rent or buy. Take a look.

We’ll begin our NYC house hunting checklist with New York City’s housing stock breakdown

For the beginning of our house hunting checklist, we will break down the New York City housing stock in order to see what types of homes are available in the Big Apple. First, before you actually start searching for the best local movers in NYC, we need to see how many housing units there are in the city. In New York City, according to data from 2016, there are around 3,464,000 housing units. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, only around 8% of those units were built. 35% of NYC’s housing stock was built between 2000 and 1960. That means that over 64% of all homes in the Big Apple were built before 1960, which is the reason why it can be so difficult to find a cheap and decent home in NYC these days.

apartment buildings in NYC
There are 3,464,000 housing units in NYC

Studios and one-bedroom units make up almost half of NYC’s housing stock

As you probably already know, New York City is known for its multifamily buildings, so you can primarily find studios and one-bedroom units that make up almost 50% of the whole housing stock in the city. Regarding single-family homes, New York City has only around 500,000 units. Or around 16% of the whole market. The rest of the housing stock is evenly divided between multi-unit buildings that have somewhere between 2 and 50 housing units per building. So if you are looking for a 5-bedroom home to buy or rent, and you are not rich, you better hire the best long distance movers in NYC and move to another city.

New buildings are being constructed in Manhattan and Brooklyn but they are significantly more expensive than older units

Before we dive into our NYC house hunting checklist, you should also be aware that NYC is not the most agile city when it comes to constructing new housing units. Since 2000, the areas with the most housing units built are Chelsea, Clinton, and Midtown area of Manhattan and Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. According to building permits issued in the last couple of years, those neighborhoods, along with Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Sunnyside, and Woodside, will have the newest housing units built in the future. So, those are the places where you will have the best chance of finding a decent home for yourself. That is if you want to avoid old and deteriorating buildings and poorly maintained apartments.

But before you start searching for Manhattan movers, you should know that newly constructed apartments cost way more than apartments in older buildings.  The median unit built in newly constructed apartments currently costs more than $500 than in older buildings.

NYC vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the US

Unfortunately, even with a new building constructed, it is clear that additional effort is needed in this regard. The rental vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the country, at only around 3.5%. The data from 2016 also shows that additional 16,000 housing units in New York City were severely overcrowded when compared to 2010. All this shows that house hunting in NYC is not easy and requires a significant effort. Luckily, now you have our NYC house hunting checklist to guide you through the process.

crowded street
There aren’t enough housing units for this number of people in NYC

Prepare well and arm yourself with patience

If you are looking to buy a home in NYC, you are in for a difficult task. From 3,464,000 housing units in the city, 1,060,200 are owner-occupied and 2,404,064 are renter-occupied. Still, thousands of homes are sold every year in the city. And if you follow our guide, prepare well, and are patient, soon enough, you will be hiring the best residential movers in NYC and moving into your new home. And the first thing you need to do is to determine your budget.

The median home value in NYC is one of the highest in the country so first, determine your budget

When you are buying a home in NYC, your budget will be the most important thing. For the last two years, the median home value in New York City is $767,000. So, before you start looking for homes and, let’s say, residential movers in Manhattan, you need to be sure that you can afford a property in this city before anything else. Generally, your mortgage shouldn’t be more than 28% of your monthly income. Then, get your credit report and ensure there are no errors in it. Gather other documents that you need, and decide what type of mortgage you want. Next, determine the size of your down payment and get pre-approved for a mortgage. Only after you do this, and you are sure about how much you can afford, you can start your house hunting in NYC.

NYC borough median home values

Here are the median home values in each of the NYC borough

  • Manhattan median home value – $1,160,000
  • Brooklyn median home value – $900,000
  • Queens median home value – $605,000
  • Staten Island median home value – $550,000
  • Bronx median home value – $519,000
street in Manhattan
Manhattan is the most expensive borough in NYC

Most expensive neighborhoods

If you decide to move to Manhattan, you are probably aware that this is the most expensive NYC borough. Still, before you actually start dialing local movers in Manhattan, take a look at the list of the most expensive neighborhoods:

  • Noho median home value – $3.25 M
  • Hudson Yards median home value – $3.2 M
  • Tribeca median home value – $3.15 M
  • Central Park South median home value – $3.1 M
  • Nolita median home value – $3 M

Make a list of preferences

After determining your budget, you also need to determine your preferences. Or the things that you now think your new NYC home needs to have. Of course, make a list with priorities and a list of not-so-important things that you would like to have but are not decisive. Here are the things you need to think about:

  • Location
  • Neighborhood preferences
  • Size with the number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms
  • Public transportation access
  • Schools availability
  • Private outdoor space or not
  • Co-op, a condo, or a house
  • Other amenities
making NYC house hunting checklist
Make a list of must-haves before you start your search.

Start your NYC house hunting

Now that you know about home prices in particular areas of the city, and you prepared your must-haves, you can start searching for a perfect home. Of course, when you are looking for a home in NYC, you will have to be ready for a certain compromise. Still, use everything that is available to you, internet websites, talking to your friends and family, and hiring real estate companies. Here are some of the best real estate companies in New York City:

  • Brown Harris Stevens
  • Corcoran
  • Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Douglas Elliman
  • Compass
  • Keller Williams

Besides a reliable real estate agent, you will also need to find a reputable mortgage lender, real estate lawyer, home inspector, and the contractor if your new home needs to be renovated.

Confirm your mortgage terms again

If you, for example, found your perfect home in Brooklyn, before you start packing and calling best residential movers in Brooklyn, get in touch with your mortgage representative. Even though you already settled all the details upfront, now you need to confirm that everything is in order, confirm your mortgage terms, and give them all information they may need.

checking NYC house hunting checklist
Check your mortgage details once more

Send your offer

At the end of our NYC house hunting checklist comes bidding. After you find the property that you like, it is time to send your offer. But before you do, talk to your realtor, that will help you send your best offer. Of course, you do not want to send an offer that is at the high end of your budget, but you also do not want to send an offer that is too low. So, before you send your bid, look for similar properties on the market and determine to value. Also, try to find out what the seller wants and whether the highest price is the only thing that he/she desires. There may be other things that can affect the seller’s decision. In the end, send a balanced offer that you and your realtor think will be competitive.

Before you sign a contract

If you won the bid and are ready to purchase a property, congratulations! Still, before signing the contract, go over the details again.  Let your real estate lawyer help you with that. Let your home inspector inspect the home for pests and other possible issues. And do a final walkthrough to ensure everything is in order.

Signing the contract for your new home

When you are ready to sign a contract, bring your ID. Also, check with your realtor and lawyer regarding fund transfers and other logistics details that might be important. Finally, don’t forget the keys.

Prepare a moving plan

Now that you bought your home let’s continue our NYC house hunting checklist with a few pieces of moving advice. Of course, when you are moving, regardless of when and where you need to prepare a moving plan. Moving is a complex logistics process, so you need to plan every detail in order to ensure everything runs smoothly.

following a NYC house hunting checklist while making a moving plan
You cannot move stress-free without a good plan

Get a blueprint of your new home

Having a blueprint of your new home will be of great help when you are determining what items you want to save and what items you want to get rid of. Of course, besides the layout of your new home, the condition of your items and the frequency of usage should also help you decide whether to remove some items or pay your movers to transport them. This is especially important if you are moving long distances. Because the weight of your moving inventory plays a big role in the final price of your move. So, if you are, for example, moving from Los Angeles to NYC, you want to get rid of as many items as possible before the move.

List all the items you plan to move to NYC

Once your remove all the junk, make an inventory list of items you want to move to your new NYC home. This list will help you determine the number of moving boxes you need to prepare for packing, and a moving company will have an easier time providing you with a moving estimate.

Find the right movers

Finally, it is time to start searching for movers. Of course, you can also move to your new home on your own, if you are close and have friends and family to help you. But if you are moving to NYC alone, you should definitely hire a professional moving company to handle your move. Luckily, New York City is full of quality movers. Simply find a few that look good to you, get their moving estimates, and compare. That will help you get quality assistance at an affordable price.

Things will be easier with the help of our NYC house hunting checklist

This concludes our NYC house hunting checklist. As you can see, there are many things to think about because finding a good home in New York City is not easy these days. Hopefully, this guide will make things a little bit easier for you.

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