In this week's 'Ask an Agent' column, the experts at TripleMint--a tech-savvy brokerage that gives buyers and renters access to the same database of listings used by the city's real estate agents, and pays their agents bonuses for client satisfaction--advise on a common conundrum for New Yorkers who are fresh out of college: how to lock down a rental (and wade through all the attendant paperwork) when you're just starting out in the work force—and haven't cashed that first paycheck just yet.
Q: I received an offer letter for a job with an $80,000/year salary, but I just graduated from school and don't have established credit, a work history, or someone who can guarantee me. What are my options to rent an apartment in NYC?
“In my experience, there are two roads that could be taken. The first one being that there will need to be some sort of up front money paid to the landlord, whether it be extra rent or extra security in order for your application to be approved. The other option that could be taken is going through a company called Insurent. Insurent will act as an institutional guarantor for a prospective tenant in exchange for a fee (typically around one month’s rent). This is something that is usually required for larger management companies such as Equity Residential and TF Cornerstone that do not allow you to pay additional security or upfront rent. I am currently working with a client from Australia who is using Insurent because he has absolutely no American paperwork, but does have a good amount in his bank account in order to move forward.” - Michael DeSena, Associate Real Estate Specialist
“First of all, don't stress too much. Landlords in New York City deal with all sorts of financial situations and there are plenty of landlords who are prepared to work with you. An agent should know which management companies will be open to your financial situation. The most important thing is to be up front and honest with your agent. That will allow us to find a landlord that is flexible and will rent to you. In my experience, a landlord will typically ask for three to six months up front in security or a mixture of security and rent. Many of my clients who are new hires have been in this position and we've found lovely homes for them all over Manhattan.” - Amy McDonald, Real Estate Specialist
“Recent college grads face this very situation all the time, and there are more options than most people realize. The first route is to find a luxury building—they tend to require less documentation than mom and pop landlords. Usually you can show your current offer letter, tax returns and bank statements and be good to go. (Obviously the more money the better, but I've had people who can show they are able to pay two months of rent in addition to the first month and security, and get approved based on that.) This past May, I had a client in the very same boat, who ended up securing a home at Gotham West (a great luxury building in Midtown West) by providing the aforementioned documents and is now happily enjoying his new home, no guarantor or credit and all. If your budget doesn't allow you to be in a luxury building (and let's face it, this is the greater majority of college grads), you can always look for a roommate. This opens up a few new avenues; you can pay less rent, qualify for more since you and your roommate can combine your incomes to qualify, or even better—they may have someone who can act as a guarantor for both of you. If all else fails, sometimes paying an extra month of security or rent is all it takes to ease a landlord’s mind about a recent college grad. NYC is filled with people who have all different financial profiles. At the end of the day, there is always a way to find someone a home--they just need to be flexible.” - Allie Deitch, Real Estate Specialist
“Congrats on the new job —that's exciting!! Many landlords will accept either up front rent or an extra security deposit as a sign of good faith. If your signed offer letter (dated in the last 30 days) shows both your start date and salary, the landlord will, in many cases, be okay with a few months of rent up front that will eventually go towards the last months of your lease (rather than the first few months). This is because if they are requesting the extra months up front to begin with, they needed it to feel more comfortable renting to you.They will (in most cases) continue to feel better about you as the renter when you pay your rent on time month to month and fulfill most of the lease before they let all the security or extra rent go towards a rent payment. However, this is landlord specific and not true for all landlords in the city. "- Fred Myers, Real Estate Specialist
TripleMint is a technology-enabled real estate brokerage that is the refreshingly simple way for New Yorkers to buy, sell and rent apartments.