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01 Sep
Real Estate

How Do I Time a Move From One Rental Apartment to Another?

Q: I am moving from Connecticut to Manhattan later this year, and I’m concerned about how to time the move. My current landlord requires 60 days’ notice to move out. But from what I have seen, most apartments in New York are not listed until 30 days before they become available, and are rented even faster than that. I’m also considering renting in a co-op or condo, and those approval processes seem long. How do I time this right so I don’t end up paying for two apartments at once, or worse, giving up my apartment without a place to live?

A: Most New Yorkers sign leases one or two weeks before they move in, and listings generally appear on real estate platforms like StreetEasy about 30 days ahead of time, with many units available for immediate occupancy. This means you will give notice at your old apartment without a new one lined up.

“Once you’re 30 days out, it’s no time to panic,” said Evan Osur, an associate broker at Living New York. “Even 15 days out, I wouldn’t panic too hard.”

Instead, spend this time getting your ducks in a row. The market will likely slow down in the fall and winter, so rents might be a little lower and the bidding wars that defined the spring and summer should evaporate. You will have time to shop around. Spend this time homing in on neighborhoods you like and determining your budget. You don’t need to come to the city to do this. Instead, take virtual tours online, contact brokers who specialize in your preferred neighborhoods, and call property managers. Make contacts now so they can call you when the right apartment becomes available.

As you get closer to the 30-day mark, gather your paperwork — recent pay stubs, bank statements, references and information about your guarantor, if you need one. “Once that’s all in place, everything moves very quickly,” said Brian P. Hourigan, a managing director at BOND New York Properties.

Keep in mind: Co-op and condo buildings play by different rules than conventional rental buildings. A co-op application must be approved by the co-op board, which typically meets monthly. Condos tend to move a little faster, but not much.

For these apartments, give yourself a 30- to 45-day cushion, though it could create more headaches. “You need to make sure that the lease-start day lines up,” Mr. Osur said. If the board moves faster than you anticipated, “it might be a situation where you have to pay rent and not live there.” If it moves too slowly, you could be left without an apartment by the time you need one. (And a co-op could reject your application, leaving you scrambling.)

However, most rentals are in conventional rental buildings, and since you’re working with a hard deadline, you may want to stick with properties that cater to renters.

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