Viewing apartments is the first and most important part of the moving process, and as such, you should pay close attention to it. Understanding how to view apartments can help you save time and money.

Although it may be your first time apartment hunting in NYC, there are certain preparations you can take to make you feel like you’ve done it a million times before.

Here are some tips on how to view the apartments like a pro:

1. Choose your agent wisely

Choosing the right agent can be one of the smartest moves you make. Some agents are simply too busy and may rush you, or prioritize other clients over you.

Others may insist on you avoiding viewings with other agents or will try to play the old bait-and-switch tactic (meaning they will make an appointment for one apartment and then claim it is no longer available trying to show you something else). Avoid agents who seem dishonest, cagey, or withhold information from you.

2. Plan in advance

Nothing helps more than proper planning. There are several things you need to plan in advance:

  • Plan your budget, how much you can afford?
  • Plan your time by only scheduling apartment viewings on your free days or around your schedule.
  • Plan for possible time delays that may occur between viewings by adding one extra hour to the estimated time per visit.
  • What is the fastest and cheapest visiting order and route? Will you go there by car, taxi, public transport? Additionally, consider the traffic during that time of the day.
  • Check what else is on the market. What are the prices for similar units nearby?
  • Do your research regarding the neighborhoods.
  • Check the prices, and decide whether you want to negotiate or not, and if you do, how will those negotiations go?
  • Create a list with your priorities, as well as a list with questions you would like to ask.
  • Prepare an apartment walkthrough checklist.
  • Have multiple copies of the previously mentioned apartment view checklists; one for each apartment you plan to view.
  • Have your paperwork prepared.
  • If you need a roommate, find one in advance. Try to agree with them in advance on a collaborative list of priorities, one that includes the needs of both of you.

3. Be prepared for the view

Once planned, its time to view apartments. Here’s what you need to remember: 

  • Check for the essentials before you head out:
    • Paperwork
    • List with priorities/questions
    • Apartment walkthrough checklists
    • Camera to take pictures of the apartment
    • Folder or binder for the materials
    • Credit card or checkbook (in case you love the place and want to seal the deal right there on the spot)
    • Planned route on phone/map
  • During the apartment viewing, don’t be afraid to ask all the questions and note the answers.
  • Ask for permission and then check the apartment up closely, (check the lights, water pressure, etc. as listed in our apartment walkthrough checklist)
  • Ask for extra information about the apartment dimensions and building.
  • If necessary, don’t be afraid to ask for taking a second look before making your final decision.
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