When living in New York City, money has a way of flying out of your pockets and disappearing into the Big Apple abyss. Yes, you’ll deal with those expected extras such as late-night cab rides and sending your laundry out, and you’ll end up splurging on activities like Broadway shows or regular visits to the Whitney Museum. But what about those costs you never knew about at all?
No matter the size of your bank account, staying on a budget when living in New York is essential to surviving over the long haul. Aside from the standard monthly expenses such as housing, food, public transit, and entertainment, life in New York brings hidden costs that everyone should be aware of before they make a move to the city that never sleeps. Here are seven costs you might not have heard about if you’re a non-New Yorker.
The flip tax
If you decide to buy an apartment rather than rent one, you need to know about flip taxes. You won’t have to worry about paying a dime when you buy, but if you go to sell a co-op apartment, more than likely you’ll have to pay in the range of 1 to 3% of the selling price back to the co-op. That’s a significant chunk of change deducted from your profit.
The broker fee
To secure a rental apartment, you’ll probably need to pay the broker fee or 15 percent of a year’s rent. (Fees tend to be lower if you rent an apartment outside Manhattan.) Although you might be able to find a no-fee apartment if you have the time and energy, the rent is often higher than it would be if you’d paid the broker fee. Either way, you’ll pay, whether the cash comes out of your pocket up front or monthly.
Higher income taxes
On average, New York State income taxes are 90% higher than other states. According to the Fiscal Times, New York takes the top spot for taxes. In addition to paying high state taxes, you’ll also be hit with a city tax.
If you’re not bringing a car when you relocate to NYC, you’ll inevitably rent vehicles as needed. Although less costly than owning a car, rentals in the city don’t come cheap either and often need to be booked far in advance for busy weekends and holidays. Expect to pay $100-$150 per day in the off-season. Rental cars often sell out during the summer months or can be nearly impossible to find.
If you decide to bring a vehicle to the city, parking isn’t available in every neighborhood, especially if you settle in Manhattan. Most likely, you’ll need to park in a public lot, so expect charges in the range of $300 to $600 per month and higher, particularly if you want covered parking and 24-hour access to your car.
Common charges and maintenance fees
With owning a co-op comes maintenance fees that you’ll pay every month on top of your mortgage. These fees cover taxes, staff salaries, and general upkeep of the building. If you choose a condo, you’ll pay both common charges and taxes in addition to your monthly note.
Whether you rent or own, although not mandatory, tipping doormen, supers, porters, and the like, is customary and expected. If you reside in a big building with a substantial staff, these annual tips can run hundreds of dollars, if not more. It’s best to budget for end-of-year tipping at the start of each year, so you don’t have to come up with a large amount of cash at Christmas, which is a costly season on its own.