Revaluate It! 6 Things To Consider Before Choosing A New Apartment In NYC
Generally, we focus on the “have-to-get-dones” of a situation–How many boxes do I need? Will I run out of packing tape? How much newsprint needs to get wrapped around each of my dishes? Will my friends help me on move-in day? Pivot? PIVOT?! What does that even mean?
What we often fail to consider, sadly, are the things that will, ultimately, determine our happiness and quality of life in our new homes. Apartment living in New York City, too, presents some considerations that people in other cities simply don’t have to think about (no, we are not referring to sky-high broker fees).
Where should you start? Let’s Revaluate it & break it down.
CRIME. Sure, this is an obvious one, but it’s still something lots of folks don’t consider til after the fact. Know what you’re getting into. The fact that an area “looks” nice doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your hackles up.
PROPERTY TAXES. This is one of those things that New Yorkers have to worry about that others don’t. And the way property taxes are calculated is pretty convoluted. In a recent post on Alley Watch, Revaluate CoFounder Max Galka said, “Because of the idiosyncratic way that New York City determines property taxes, the effective tax rate can vary anywhere from 0.05% to 5%. For a million dollar condo, that is the difference between paying $50,000 per year and paying $500.”
AIR QUALITY. Air quality is another factor that few people consider, but when you look at its health effects, the numbers are truly staggering. FACT: some buildings boilers emit more toxins than all the cars in the city combined. Fortunately, New York has done a lot in recent years to make the air cleaner, but there are still certain areas of the City where it is a major health hazard.
NOISE. Sure, the building looks great during the day, when the hustle and bustle of the city has you numbed to its sounds, but what about at night? Once the crush of people has gone home for the day and it’s time to wind down for the day, what will you hear? Is the traffic noise–car horns, sirens from emergency vehicles, and so on–more than you can stand? What about from people around you? Are the folks that live above you people that throw all-night ragers every weekend? Revaluate knows the sound insulation in buildings. We know where helicopters are allowed to fly and where bands have permits to play. Music to your ears? We don’t think so.
UTILITY COSTS. Strangely, this is something that almost no one remembers to ask about. It’s something they don’t think about … until the first electric bill comes and they flip out. Revaluate’s Livability Report will give you a heads-up if energy costs for your building are out of line with other buildings that are similar in size.
MAINTENANCE. Do the boilers work in the building? Are residents constantly having to ask why the heat isn’t working? We’ve all seen sitcoms with renters who bang on their radiator with a shoe in order to get the heat sent up … but does that actually happen? What about the elevators in your building? Does management have the fire department on speed dial, so they can rescue folks that have been stuck for hours? Do you even have a way of contacting management? Have you stopped to think about things like electrical systems? Will the outlets start arcing when you try to plug in your Sonos? Would you not agree that if that happened, it would be decidedly not cool?
VERMIN. That’s just a horrible word, isn’t it? No one likes to think about things like rats and roaches and … well, we don’t want to think about it. But if you DON’T think about it before you move, will you feel better or worse when you hear little legs skittering across your floor during the night? These are critters you don’t want to run into in your home. Not only are they skeevy, in general, they’re indicative of a broader filth and sanitation problem.
None of these problems is anything that anyone wants to run into. But if you do your due diligence and check things out before you sign your lease, you’ll know what you’re getting into before you’re unpacking dishes and hanging pictures on the walls.
Before you move, before you think about tape or boxes or how you’re going to set up your new place, log into Revaluate and check out your building. Start thinking about the things that really matter. Revaluate and know more.