A fast-paced lifestyle, rich history, and endless flow of leisure activities are only the tip of the iceberg for what New York City has to offer. Anyone that has ever visited or lived in The Big Apple knows that you are certainly never bored! However, NYC does have a few intricacies to navigate when it comes to moving.
If you find yourself thinking about or planning a move in New York City, here are 5 things you don’t want to overlook.
1. Moving is Extra Labor Intensive in NYC
NYC is known for many things, but its spacious apartments are not one of them. Many apartments are not only compact, but they also have tight walkups and small elevators that can make moving larger furniture a hassle. Not to mention, elevators in older buildings tend to break down frequently, especially in neighborhoods like the Upper East Side and Greenwich Village. For these reasons, when planning a move:
Consider Movers: Skip the worries of walkups and elevators and hire NYC movers. They are accustomed to maneuvering furniture through NYC buildings, so they can shave time off your move, keep your belongings safe, and, of course, this also means you aren’t stuck doing the heavy lifting.
Plan to Use the Stairs: Even if the building you are moving into has an elevator, don’t plan on it to work. Anything you are moving should be able to be brought up the stairs.
Disassemble: If you have items that won’t fit up tight walkups, look into disassembling the piece. Look up the assembly manual online and work backward if you are unsure where to start or worried about breaking parts. Still doesn’t fit or can’t disassemble it? Consider selling the piece or donating it. Otherwise, put it in storage until a later date.
2. Apartments are Hard to Come By—Normally
Regularly, good apartments in the city get scooped up in a New York minute. So it is a good idea to look at listings often and don’t wait to inquire if one piques your interest. However, the pandemic has brought about a huge vacancy, with a report by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman reporting 13,000 vacant units as of August 2021.
What does this mean? Not only can your search for New York real estate be a bit more leisurely, but prices have dropped by as much as 10% on some places—a huge win for New York since NYC has the highest housing cost of any state. There is an app called Street Easy that can help you with your search, while Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are also popular go-to’s. Or, if you are looking for a place with a roommate, try a roommate finding website like Room Zoom or Roomi.
Related Read: Considering Investing in Property? Read This First
3. You May Need a Guarantor
It isn’t uncommon in NYC for landlords to require you to make 40 times the monthly rent. Yup, you heard that right. Luckily, if you don’t fall into this category—as is the case for most renters—you don’t have to say goodbye to NYC living. You will simply need a guarantor to co-sign the lease. This can be a parent, sibling, or another family member. Whoever you get to sign, this guarantor will be held responsible if you default on rent.
Don’t have a family member to co-sign? There are also companies that provide guarantor services.
4. Moving Can Be Cheaper in the Winter
Holding off on your move until the winter can save you a bit of moula if you are hiring professional movers. Winter is considered an off-season for the industry, so often, if you book during this time, you can get a discounted rate. The same goes if you are performing a DIY move and renting your own truck. However, keep in mind that moving in the winter is also more challenging. Take these downsides into account to see if a discounted price is worth it.
Bad Weather: NYC is no stranger to snow, averaging about 2 feet a year. This means that snowstorms can impact your visibility while driving, and roads may be slippery. Snowfall is especially something to keep in mind if you are driving a moving truck yourself or if you’re moving a long distance.
Snow Hazards: On top of driving hazards, you will also have unloading hazards to deal with. Snow packed boots can make stairs slippery, while snow and slush can also make carboard boxes soggy and prone to breakage. To remedy these issues, try to plan your move away from any large incoming weather systems, wear boots with a good grip, and consider renting moving totes. Moving totes are not only an eco-friendly choice due to the fact they can be reused hundreds of times in their lifespan, but they also won’t get soggy in the rain or snow. In NYC, these boxes can be rented from Gorilla Bins, U-Haul, or other moving companies.
Want a discount but don’t want to move in the winter? Weekdays are also considered off-peak and are sometimes offered at lower rates.
5. Moving Scams are Abundant
New York has a ton of professional movers to choose from, but that also means that there are many scammers thrown into the mix. To find reputable movers make sure to:
Look at Reviews: People are more likely to post a bad review than a positive one, so if others have had issues with a company, you will hear about it. Check Yelp, the moving company’s Facebook page, and The Better Business Bureau for reviews.
Check their Experience: Look into how long they have been in business. If you can’t find a history that dates back at least a few years, you may be dealing with a scammer. Plus, you will also want a company with experience specifically with New York’s buildings (See Tip 1).
Ask for Insurance: Ideally, any moving company you choose should be fully insured and bonded.
Moving in New York City certainly has a few intricacies, but it is nothing that you can’t handle with the right planning and know-how. So enjoy your move and your new home. Oh, one last bit of advice, grab an air conditioner for the window. While New York winters are chilly, the summers tend to get pretty hot and muggy. Happy moving!