How to rent in NYC (or anywhere)

Second article of a series dedicated to moving to the US.

Whoah. Five years without writing here. In that time I got married. We moved across the Atlantic twice, from NYC to Munich and back. And we are expecting! Also, COVID-19 happened.

I hope this article is useful for first time movers, but also for anyone overwhelmed with finding an apartment (or flat, if you’re in the UK) to rent.

I have come up with 3 rules to make the best out of the very stressful situation of finding your place to live, whether you’re moving overseas or just leaving the nest of your parents.

It intentionally applies to the New York City housing market, but also to pretty much any big city in the world, whether that is London, Tokyo or Katmandu.

The 3 rules to find an apartment or flat


Yes, that’s right. No fear of missing out. I cannot stress it enough.

No matter whether you get the best deal ever, the perfect place, location, and for incredibly cheap, there will always be a better offer after you’ve signed your lease. So don’t waste your energy thinking “what if” and just be at peace with your decision once you’ve made it.

You know what’s good about renting? The fact that you can move out to a better place at any point in the future. Well, even if you buy that is true, but just a bit more work.


As my wife stated in her first episode of Apartment hunting in YouTube, write down your non-negotiables. Those things you think are deal breakers and you would not live in a place with (or without) them.

Try to keep them to a handful. If your money is not enough for your non-negotiables, reality check! One of those non-negotiables, will have to be negotiable.

In any case, what is your one and topmost non negotiable? What is the one thing you’d never ever trade anything for? Then with that and your money cap, I’m sure you’ll already find good candidates.


If life gives you lemons, make lemonade or the harder you work, the luckier you get. Pick a good mantra and repeat it until you become crazy.

Seriously. Looking for an apartment, and especially if it’s your first time, will be exhausting. It’s better to have a roof and improve it over time.

When you move to a different town, or country, it will take some time to get used to the place, to get to know people, to know neighborhoods. It’s impossible to learn everything from a place before living there, no matter how much Googling you do.

It’s up to you what attitude you take facing a problem.

Think of this case: you’re moving to London for what in your mind are only two years. You’d love to live in a lovely place since your stay will be that short. You get frustrated for not finding a lovely place. What to do with that? You can either cry and waste your time checking out an infinite amount of apartments you cannot afford or that are not up to your standards of “lovely place”, or you can just rent that cute, cozy (ahem lingo for tiny) place that you don’t love, make it your own, and if worst comes the worst and you end up never loving it anyway, use it as an excuse to get out, go places, do more with that precious limited time you have. And, if future you decides to stay more than 2 years, you’ll be more experienced and will not start from scratch for your next search. That’s a win-win in my books.

What next?

That’s it. That is really it. If your mind exploded in content with my advice, please share this to that friend of yours that is about to move, or stressing about not finding an apartment.