7 Common Mistakes Newcomers Make In New York’s Housing Market

3 mins read

Renting or buying a housing unit can be an exciting experience. However, if this excitement is not measured and you end up making emotional decisions, it can lead to you making costly mistakes.

In this post, we will discuss seven common mistakes people make when looking for housing in New York. But that’s not all; we will also show you easy ways to avoid them.

Let’s dive in!

Choosing the wrong neighborhood

When renting or buying a house in New York, research is vital. Sure, you might find an ideal apartment that fits your needs and preferences from the inside; however, the outside should count too. By outside, we mean the neighborhood.

This will impact your safety and the services you will have access to.

With that said, first research desirable neighborhoods and then make visits at different times to check the surroundings. Only once you’re satisfied with what you see can you proceed to shop around for apartments or houses within those neighborhoods.

Renting without physically inspecting the house

Things aren’t always what they seem, especially when the internet is involved. Today, the internet is awash with countless house listing websites; now the challenge lies in differentiating genuine ones from those out to scam you.

Cases of eager renters getting scammed or moving into apartments that aren’t what they were initially advertised to be aren’t new. Oftentimes, this happens as a result of people falling for the pictures and signing off the rental agreement without visiting the apartments.

To protect yourself from such incidents, insist on making in-person visits. This way, you are able to verify if the wall is painted white and not pink. Such visits also give you a chance to make inquiries and get clarification on any questions you may have.

Impulse renting

Some renters make impulsive housing decisions. This manifests itself in the form of sourcing houses too early or too closely to the desired relocation date.

If you plan to move, look for apartments one or two months before that date. Sourcing too close to your move-in date can limit your options and force you to settle for what is available. For example, you might end up being forced to move into an open space rather than your desired apartment.

As a result, you will have to cover costs or make purchases you have not hoped for, like buying a new couch, all of which could have been catered for in a furnished rental.

Not thoroughly reading the lease agreement

As the saying goes, never make a decision when you’re too happy. Renters often get swept away by the beautiful apartment that they end up signing the rental agreement without thoroughly reading it.

Some agreements might state that you have to pay for the utilities, which might not be what you wanted. Others dictate that the rent can be increased regularly.

To be safe, take some time to read through the agreement and if possible even include a legal representative to help you understand the agreement.

Listening to your gut can also help you avoid making the wrong decision. If something’s off, just don’t sign the agreement.

Renting beyond your budget

Whether renting or buying, always have a budget in place. Most housing units in New York could be pricey and you need to be properly prepared.

While at it, you also need to take into consideration possible emergencies that might incur unexpected costs not covered in the agreement.

If you can’t cover the cost or negotiate for a reduction, move to a more affordable place. Remember, failure to pay rent might lead to more problems such as eviction.

Not taking out a renters insurance policy

As we said, you need to be prepared for the unexpected at all times. Your rental agreement won’t cover that in case of fire, theft, or any other disaster. This is where renters insurance comes in.

With insurance that only costs a few hundred dollars per year, you can protect yourself and your valued items. Additionally, this insurance protects you from liability should the housing unit get damaged beyond repair.

In some cases, your landlord might get you the insurance, so be sure to ask about it when you move in.


When renting or buying a housing unit in NYC, be sure to take your time, research, and listen to your gut. By implementing these tips, you will avoid making costly mistakes such as renting beyond your budget, which in the long-term drains or chokes up your finances. 

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