We talked to Jennifer Nau, the founder of Campus2City, to get her tips on things to do and look for before you make your move after graduation! Campus2City provides real estate guidance to undergraduate & graduate students and helps them find the best home for life's next chapter. Campus2City specializes in relocating recent grads to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Boston. There is a lot to understand to successfully navigate the rental process and the NYC market can be the most challenging. Follow this list point by point and you shouldn’t have any issues when it comes time to move!
1. Research different neighborhoods
Try to visit NYC first to help determine what neighborhood will be best for you. Walk through the streets during the day and at night to get the full vibe of the neighborhood. Keep in mind the noise level and how close you are to restaurants, bars, stores, and public transportation. Campus2City offers a Resource Guide on their website that lists many NYC neighborhoods and can help you determine what part of town is right for you.
2. Select the type of building that suits you
Jennifer recommends you research the different types of buildings in NYC. There are several types to choose from: walk-ups, elevator buildings, full-service buildings, and brown stones. Do you want a full-service building with a gym or is a no-frills building better for your budget? This is important to know before you talk to a realtor so they know what types of apartments to show you.
3. Factor in your commute
Jennifer suggests that you keep your commute time to approximately 30 minutes. It’s also best to stick to one form of public transportation. Don’t make it too complicated.
4. Determine your timeline
Once you know your employment start date you can schedule a day for your apartment tour. It could take up to 3 days to do everything required to secure a lease. Apartments in NYC rent quickly. It’s best to schedule your apartment tour closer to when you want to start a lease so you can be sure you are seeing units that will actually be available.
5. Schedule an introduction call
It’s critical to schedule an introduction call before you arrive for your apartment tours. Campus2City can walk you through the process asking questions about all of the things you need to consider when moving. They’ll ask about what’s important to you, what neighborhood you like, what type of building you prefer and your budget. Now is the time to let them know if you have a pet. Many buildings don’t allow pets, but some do. Tell them everything you think could help them help you find the perfect living situation.
6. Prepare your paperwork & finances
You can get the full list of required paperwork on the Campus2City website but Jennifer shared a short list here: Valid photo i.d; employment letter that lists your start date, salary & any other compensation; bank statements for your checking & savings accounts; two years of tax returns; and a referral letter from a current landlord. As for the money part of renting an apartment in NYC… you will need to have an income that is 40x (sometimes higher, up 50x) your monthly rent. What does that mean? If your monthly rent is $2,000 per month your annual salary needs to be $80,000. If you have roommates you can combine your salaries to hit the income multiple. If that is not something you can do you can acquire a guarantor. This is a person who agrees to be legally responsible for the apartment. A guarantor could be a family member or a friend. There are also guarantor services available for a fee. Campus2City will review your budget and available finances with you to be sure everything is in place before you arrive for your apartment tours.
7. Expect to walk on apartment tour day
Jennifer encourages comfortable shoes for apartment tour day, as you’ll be moving around a lot, especially if you are looking at multiple neighborhoods. If you see something you like be sure to make a quick decision. Properties that are available at noon may not be available by 5pm. Once you decide on an apartment you’ll submit an application and your realtor will send your paperwork to the landlord. It will take approximately one day to process your application and let you know if it’s been approved or if they need additional information.
8. What International Students need to know
There are several things that need to be in place before a landlord will rent to an international student. The short list is valid identification from your home country and a valid Visa, a U.S.-based guarantor or guarantor service, and documentation of available funds. This is one of Campus2City’s specialty areas and they have helped many international students secure housing in NYC.
9. Campus2City will help you through this process
Moving to NYC after graduation can be a daunting task. Where should you do your research? What do you need to consider before moving? Campus2City’s online platform literally has everything you need to help guide you through this transition. They even have a Parent Portal to provide them with the details they’ll want during this transition.
Interested in learning more about Campus2City? Attend our webinar next Wednesday, March 3 at 6pm. Register here https://cutt.ly/upenn
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.