Tips for Helping a Client Moving to NYC for the First Time

Posted by troyconf on 22/02/2017 in New York Real Estate

While relocating to New York City can be an exciting experience for a client, most first-timers will need a crash course on what to expect from NYC real estate. As we know, when it comes to renting and buying, the New York real estate market is a lot more competitive and cutthroat than it is in other metropolitan areas. To help clients who are making a move to the Big Apple without living there prior, here are a few things that they’ll need to be aware of.

Upfront and Additional Costs

Whether your client decides to rent or buy, they’ll be paying more than just a deposit or down payment on their new home. If your client is renting, landlords will expect them to pay the first month, last month, and a one-month security deposit when signing a lease. For example, if an apartment is $4,000/month, your client will need to pay $12,000 on the day of agreement before getting their keys. Make sure clients are aware that a broker can also charge a fee of around 15% to renters and will get a commission of around 6% on a sale.

Buying in NYC often requires a hefty down payment or an all-cash offer. At a minimum, your client could be putting as much as 25% down. Your client will also have to pay monthly maintenance fees on top of mortgage payments and real estate taxes, which can feel like paying rent on a property that you own.

Whether your client is buying or renting in NYC, you can be sure that they'll have additional moving costs.

Whether your client is buying or renting in NYC, you can be sure that they’ll have additional moving costs.

Importance of Hiring an Experienced Moving Company

Another important cost to consider is hiring a moving company that’s knowledgeable in building and parking regulations. We generally refer our clients to Imperial Moving & Storage, a Chelsea-based company with over 20 years of experience in Manhattan relocations. In New York, most buildings will restrict the hours (and even the use of an elevator) when a person can move in, so it’s handy to have movers who know what they’re doing. It’s also a good idea to hire a company that understands the nuances of moving into cramped buildings and tight parking spots. While these services usually charge a lot of money and expect to be tipped, their experience is well worth the expense.

Picking the Right Neighborhood

Many can attest that it’s tricky trying determine which neighborhood is best for your client. While price is obviously one of the driving factors, here are a few other essential considerations:


How convenient is the neighborhood to the MTA subways and bus routes? Is there parking available in the building or on the street? In the city’s outer boroughs, there are many one or two family housing options with private driveways. In Manhattan, your client would need to pay for onsite parking if (and only if) there is space available.

Make sure that your client knows where all public transportation options are located in their neighborhood.

Make sure that your client knows where all public transportation options are located in their neighborhood.


Are there local shops for basic needs nearby, such as groceries and sundries? Are there delivery options if there aren’t any in the area? Check and see if there are any stores or big box companies, such as Whole Foods, in the neighborhood. You can also recommend services such as Fresh Direct or Instacart, which are grocery delivery services available throughout most of the city.


If your client has children, do some research on the public and private schools in the area. Educational opportunities could seal the deal when picking out a neighborhood, and it’s best to explain how the private school system works with filling out applications and potential long waiting lists.


Since first-timers may be relying on you to guide them in the right direction, make sure to do your homework to ensure that your client feels confident about their neighborhood’s safety. While much of Manhattan is a safe place to live, there are still areas in transition, such as East Harlem, that need to be checked up on. The outer boroughs have a mix of communities to choose from with plenty of diversity, and to see crime statistics by neighborhood, try reading through this online resource.

Moving to New York may be one of the biggest decisions your clients ever make. They are trusting you to guide them in navigating the choppy waters of NYC real estate, so make sure you are informed and ready to help.

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