When you start looking at apartments in New York, it’s easy to think you’re getting ripped off. After all, you don’t know if there are thousands of dollars of repairs lurking right below the surface!

Well, fear no more! Here are eight things to ask yourself when you’re finding your perfect apartment.

1. Does the apartment have something that sets it apart from all the others?

This is going to be your home! There should be something that sets this one apart from all the others. Particular details I love to see include high ceilings, large windows, pre-war details, open floorplans, positive flow and quality renovation

It’s not just personal taste, though. These sorts of timeless, structural details enhance your capital appreciation faster beyond expectations, which means your investment pays off faster.

The same goes for other benefits that can’t be removed, like an apartment with an open view assuming there is no garage across the road that can be developed or lots of sunlight. These sorts of ‘tried and true benefits’ are always going to add value, so as the market gets stronger, so too will your property value at an accelerated rate.

2. Is the apartment renovated to your taste?

Do you love the apartment, or do you love it for what it could be? Either is fine, but if it’s not move-in ready, then it’s worth getting a quote for how much it’s going to cost to make it your dream pad.

Be wary, though – renovating an apartment you love is one thing, but bear in mind that your apartment is an asset you might one day want to sell. It’s essential to renovate in a way that’s going to appreciate over time and hold resale value as well as appeal to someone else’s style down the line.

3. Are the rooms generously sized?

Are the rooms the right size, or are they going to drive you crazy in about two weeks? In particular, are the bathroom and the kitchen suited to your lifestyle? Generally speaking, a kitchen or bathroom will make or break your apartment, so you need to be happy with the dimensions from the get-go (or plan on expanding them. If so, get a quote before you sign anything).

A bedroom that’s a bit too snug or living space you wish was just a bit larger can be managed, but again, it’s essential to consider resale. If a bedroom is too small, it’ll impact the value of your apartment unless it can be enlarged.

4. Are the appliances new?

If the appliances are new, then you’re pretty much all set. Make sure that they’re still under warranty and if not, then make sure they all work.

If they’re not new, check to see if they work as well as you want. If not, or if you want to replace them anyway, double check what the replacement cost is going to be. If you love the place it’s not a big deal; it’s just worth remembering it’s an extra couple thousand you’ll likely spend right away.

5. Does the apartment have hardwood floors?

If it does, make sure they’re real. Second, do they need to be refinished? Again, this is a relatively small cost, but it’s something that’s easier to do before all your stuff is there, so it’s a cost you’ll probably want to pay right away.

As for imitation wood, steer clear – it looks gorgeous, but it wears terribly and is indicative of cheap construction that might be present throughout the apartment and building.

6. Does the apartment have a washer dryer in the apartment?

If it does, great! If not, is it on the floor, in the building, or down the street at a laundromat? I’d recommend going to for in-unit if possible but if not, aim for in the building. Far more convenient than lugging your clothes around all the time, especially in the January snow!

7. Is the building well maintained, and have a clean basement?

A well-maintained building and clean basement indicate that the building is well cared for, and that problem will be addressed quickly and effectively. First, this means that there are likely fewer problems beneath the surface and is a good indicator of quality. Second, it means that any problems that do crop up are likely to be dealt with quickly, which is the absolute best way to keep costs down.

8. Does the apartment have space-saving central HVAC?

Central HVAC is by far the cheapest and most effective way to control the temperature of your house. Plus, it takes up the least space! Make sure you ask how your new apartment is heated and cooled, and aim to get central HVAC.

Wrap up

There’s a lot of pressure when you’re buying an apartment. For many, it’s one of the most significant investments they’ll ever make, so potential buyers are understandably concerned about what lies beneath the surface of the fresh coat of paint and that it’s the right home for them.

These eight questions should help you make sure you’re getting your money’s worth as well as ensure that you love your apartment in 10 years just as much as you enjoy it today.


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