How to move to NYC?

With the pandemic receding, many hopeful young people are hoping to get their dreams back on track. For some, that may mean finally making that big move to NYC they’ve been dreaming about. The moving journey is never easy, but usually pays off when you find the right place-- or move to your dream destination. 

NYC movers usually know a thing or two about moving to New York, so as a reputable NYC moving company, we’ve compiled a guide to help you out.


Moving within NYC doesn’t necessarily get easier the more you do it. After the first time you move in NYC, you'll hope that it’ll be your last. Unfortunately, most NYC renters move around quite frequently chasing good deals, rent stabilization and that coveted sunny South facing view.  

When it comes to moving to a new apartment, there are always numerous hurdles to jump through, but finding the perfect New York apartment can make it all worthwhile.

Planning a move in NYC takes several steps. The first of course, is finding the perfect NYC apartment, which can usually take a bit of time and a great deal of luck. Next, you’re going to need to apply to the apartment and make sure you have all the right paperwork on hand. If you’re approved, then start packing and getting ready to move!

Why should you move to New York?

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably already convinced that moving to NYC is in your future and you don’t need much persuading. 

Moving to New York City is a huge achievement. There are tons of unique opportunities waiting for you in NYC. It could be where you meet your life partner, achieve an exciting role in your career path or simply make great memories. You should move to New York if you like big cities and enjoy the competitive nature of being around people with big dreams. NYC is not a city for people who like a slow pace of life and prefer to lay around on the couch.

Picking a neighborhood you like

First, you start the apartment search. We recommend researching the borough that you’d most like to live in, and decide whether you would like living there. All 5 boroughs have different atmospheres and price points, so it’s important to select a borough that suits you and your budget. Typically, Manhattan and Brooklyn have the most expensive rents in NYC. Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island tend to be more affordable. Within each borough there is also a variation of price points and lifestyle options, depending on the neighborhood. In NYC, you may want to decide if you’d rather live in a more suburban area, with single family homes or an area full of high rise buildings. There are actually certain areas in NYC that resemble Long Island, New Jersey and other suburban locales, specifically in further out boroughs like Queens and Staten Island! Meanwhile, there are also areas like the Financial District and Midtown that are full of luxury high rise buildings and frequent reminders that you are in the big city. For more info on NYC neighborhoods, be sure to read up on our recent blog: best neighborhoods in NYC.

How much money should I have saved before moving to NYC?

You can move to NYC with no money in your pocket, but if you don’t like living on the edge, we recommend saving up at least $5000 before you move. This will come in handy as most apartment rentals require first and last month’s rent before you move in. Often, your last month’s rent will function as your security deposit and you can get it back upon moving out if your landlord deems appropriate.

When moving to NYC, having extra cash on hand will help you feel prepared in case anything goes awry!  

Making sure you have enough income to apply for the apartment is key! You don’t want to be rejected by your dream apartment. Otherwise, you can have a guarantor help you secure the lease. 

Pros and Cons of moving in NYC

New Yorkers love to love their city, but they also are known to complain about a few things. First, is the cost of living. Real estate in New York City does not come cheap! Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment can cost you upwards of $3000 per month, depending on the area you choose. New York can also be an exhausting place to live. The city is huge and can take a while to get from place to place. Moreover, with frequent MTA delays or train cancellations, you’re always having to plan ahead to figure out how to get home. Moreover, Uber’s can be costly so you may have to end up waiting some time on the subway platform late at night. Other cons about NYC living are the lack of green spaces. Most people do not have big front yards and have to rely on public parks for nature. 

That being said, the good parts of living in the Big Apple are too many to count: fun nightlife, 24/7 convenience, tons of grocery stores within walking distance, hundreds of Citi Bike docks and widespread public transportation. 

Living in NYC is never boring! The city that never sleeps is full of fun daily experiences like live music in Central Park, window shopping down Broadway, staring at skyscrapers in Midtown, catching a musical in Times Square, riding the Cyclone in Coney Island or trying new cuisines in Astoria or Jackson Heights, Queens. Everyday can quite literally be a new adventure in NYC.  

How to find an apartment in NYC

Finding an apartment in NYC typically starts with long daily sessions on Streeteasy, NYC’s premier apartment hunting site. You can also look for apartment rentals on sites like craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and Zillow. If you are keen to sign a lease, Streeteasy is most likely your best bet, however if you are looking to sublet, you should try Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. 

Finding an apartment in NYC can take lots of time and patience. Typically, you have to act quick so don’t be too upset if you don’t get the first apartment you apply for. Some apartment rentals may require that you pay a broker’s fee. However, you can search for ‘No-Fee’ rentals on Streeteasy. 

Though the pandemic helped many New Yorkers score some good deals on rent, lots of rent prices have already rebounded to their pre-pandemic levels. Some of the most coveted neighborhoods may even be more competitive than before, specifically areas like the Upper East Side, Lower East Side, Williamsburg and East Village.  

We recommend that you make a list of your deal-breakers when it comes to your future apartment. Do you want an elevator building? A doorman building? Is a dishwasher really necessary for your lifestyle? Do you need laundry in the building or is going to a laundromat okay? Is this neighborhood really worth the price? Try to think about these things when searching for apartments because in NYC you usually have to make some trade-offs. Deciding what amenities are absolutely necessary will make the search a whole lot easier. 

Is it hard to move in New York City?

Moving within New York City can be a challenge. New York City is full of tons of older buildings (“Pre-war”) without proper elevators and freight lifts. Moreover, some buildings have incredibly narrow entryways and are difficult to navigate while carrying bulky furniture. Some newer apartment buildings are more equipped for moving; they have big elevators and can designate a specific time for you to ensure that the elevators are not busy during the move. 

If you are hiring a U-Haul be sure to have all the necessary packing and moving supplies. When moving, be sure to have tools like dolly’s and ramps to get your belongings in and out of the truck swiftly. Also try to hang old blankets and other furniture padding on walls to make sure that you don’t scratch any walls or furniture. These sorts of moving damages can make it harder to get your security deposit back.  

Moving in NYC is generally easier when you hire professional movers because they will do all the hard work for you! They will pick up and drop off your furniture which means that you won’t have to worry about these narrow entryways and long winding staircases. Moreover, professional moving companies are usually insured and will cover some of the potential damages incurred.

Is it Cheaper to Live in NYC Now?

Though there were some great pandemic deals earlier this year, unfortunately many prices have rebounded and have even surpassed their pre-pandemic peaks! This is a rude awakening for many who arrived in NYC expecting to find 1990s rent prices. However, that being said, it is still possible to find an apartment with a “Net Effective Rent.” When looking online, you may notice this term, which means that landlords or leasing agencies are offering anything between .5 months free rent - 4 months free rent.

Finding an affordable NYC apartment may take some time, but is not impossible. Don’t settle for the first place you find. And if you can, try to negotiate rent. Living with roommates is also a great way to shave some money off rent. 

What Salary Do You Need to Live in NYC?

We recommend a salary of around ~$50,000 (before taxes) for a single person. This salary is a safe bet for a young person without children, who also wants to dine out at restaurants and enjoy all the amenities NYC has to offer. 

Is it Worth Moving to NYC?

Moving to NYC can most definitely be worth it if you make the best of it. When you are planning a move to any big city, there generally has to be some sort of motivation: is it a job? Is it a new experience? When you have a distinct motivation, it’s a lot easier to make your life there worthwhile because you're actively chasing / pursuing something. 

Can I move to NYC without a job?

Yes! As long as you have some money saved up to sustain you, plenty of people move to NYC spontaneously and figure it out from there. Finding a job once in NYC is totally possible and even recommended depending on your field. In the Service Industry, for instance, finding a job is way easier once you are already in NYC. 

How Much Should I Save to Move Out in NYC?

Our recommendation is saving up around $5000 before you move. This amount should cover all of the basics: first month’s rent, moving costs, and even a security deposit. Check out our previous blog on this topic to learn more.

Ready to move?

Reach out to local NYC movers and request a quote. Before moving to your new home, create a packing list to make sure you stay organized throughout the moving and unpacking process. Before you know it, you may find yourself as the Empire State Building’s next door neighbor!






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