You just landed the summer internship of your dreams in New York City. You’re ecstatic! You say yes! And then it hits you that you have no idea what comes next as far as housing and transportation are concerned. Take a deep breath, whippersnappers. Ed’s here to help you find the best place to fit all of your needs.
1) Start with Facebook. Instead of automatically going to Craigslist, ask the people you already know if they have any friends or family members in the city looking for roommates. Lauren Kassien, editorial assistant to the editor-in-chief at Family Circle, advises joining Gypsy Housing, a public Facebook group that allows up-and-coming New Yorkers to post apartment listings. If you’re going to be interning in Brooklyn, you could also try the app Nooklyn. (Just be aware that those rentals are a little pricier than the ones you’ll find elsewhere, Kassien says.)
2) Before committing to a place, consider your commute situation. Sadly, it’s not financially realistic for an intern to take an Uber to work every day. And since NYC is full of construction and delays, driving may not be the quickest transportation method anyway. Emily Elveru, editorial assistant at Parents, suggests practicing your commute before agreeing to a place. After all, the room could be incredible, but if you have to transfer three times on a one-way ride to work, you’ll burn out after a few months. Look for apartments that have access to multiple train and subway lines nearby. “My current apartment is just a five minute walk to two different lines, so if one isn’t working (which happens a lot), I have the option to quickly hop on the other,” Elveru says.
3) Walk the neighborhood. Would you feel safe walking home alone late at night? Is there a grocery shop or a laundromat within walking distance? Comfort in the place you live is key, so get a feel for the neighborhood before signing anything, Elveru says.
4) If you can, opt to rent month to month. For interns in the city for the summer, skip signing a lease and look to sublet for an easier, cheaper commitment, Kassien recommends.
5) Meet the people you’re living with BEFORE moving in. Walk away if the person you’re subleasing from or taking over for doesn’t let you meet the roommates, Elveru says. (Whippersnapper pro tip: Connect with your new roomies via social media ahead of time to get to know more about them!)
6) Get the financial stuff in writing. Make sure you get a legal document, even for a sublease, says Lauren Berger, founder of Intern Queen. It should be clear when and how you are expected to pay. (Another whippersnapper pro tip: Make extra copies of your rental agreement and keep them handy in a safe place.) You’ll also want to watch out for brokers’ fees—even if you didn’t use a broker to find your apartment, some rooms come with fees already built in.
7) Remember: You’ve got this. For a lot of interns, this is your first “on my own” moment that doesn’t involve living at home or in a dorm. Moving to a new city is incredibly overwhelming, but remember to stand tall, breathe, and don’t let anyone dull that sparkle you came in with.