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Old 07-09-2010, 08:40 PM
 
9 posts, read 28,265 times
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What is the way to find a cheap room to rent in NYC? I'm out of state and I want to plan ahead. I would prefer a private room, and don't care much for noise or the size. Shared bathroom is ok. Kitchen privileges are desired. Since I'm without a vehicle, a location with easy access to surrounding areas is important.

I've seen ads on Craigslist advertising $125 a week deals in the Manhattan area, but after a little scratching the people behind those ads turned out to be scammers. I'm at a loss as to who or what to believe on the internet. This makes planning for living accommodations difficult if not impossible. I don't wan't to try and figure it out on the fly after arriving, as that would be costly and plain stupid. So, what to do?

How do I find a cheap room and not get ripped off? Are there websites of good standing? Agencies? Or people I can trust?

Thanks! -Alexander
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:10 PM
 
9 posts, read 28,265 times
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To add a little more context:

I'm out of state - Texas.
I don't have a job offer.
I have a couple of thousand dollars in savings, about 5K.
I'm single, no kids, and I'm educated - BA in Philosophy from UT.
My resume is impressive - I'm experienced in sales, technical support, and customer service.

I'm confident that in a matter of a few weeks or less that I would be able to find some job - any job that will allow me to survive until I can find a real job that is up to par with my experience and abilities.
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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Alexander, I don't know what you want to spend, but I think this might be very difficult - especially since you don't have a job. Most people - understandably - want to know that the person to whom they're renting is going to be able to pay the rent, on time, and in this economy it's not a given that a person coming to NYC for the first time is going to find a job.

You might try a service called air BnB (Vacation rentals, private rooms, sublets by the night - Accommodations on Airbnb); these are people renting out rooms for vacation stays, however, and it's probably way more than $125/week. I have no first-hand experience with them, but there was an article about the service in the NYTimes a few months back.

As dicey as it might be, your best bet might be Craig's List, under "rooms/shares." If you get a good vibe from exchanging emails with someone renting out a room, then you might just have to take a chance, and if it turns out to be a bad sitution (and often people sharing a space simply don't get along, for whatever reason), then you'll just have to try again - but at least you'll be here with a home base, and will be able to see things in person.

Knowing how much you intend to spend would be very helpful. Also, I hope you know at least a little about nieghborhoods in the 5 boroughs; otherwise, you may choose something someplace that's not terribly safe (or convenient).

Good luck.
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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I think you should budget for one night in a hotel when you get here -- try the newer hotels in Long Island City, which is just a stop or two on the subway from Manhattan -- and line up appointments to see rooms for rent in the week before you arrive. Or make appointments the day you get here.

There are also YMCAs and hostels if you can't afford a hotel for a night.

It doesn't make sense to take a room sight-unseen.

In the meantime, get out your maps, your subway map, wikipedia, city-data etc and read up on ALL neighborhoods that look like they might be in your budget. then target those neighborhoods when you get here.
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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If you do want to be here to find a room, then I'd really look into air BnB instead of a hotel - I can't imagine that would be less than $150/night (but maybe Henna knows better than I do).
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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@dirimini - Thanks for the response. I have about 5K in savings total to put down on the housing and maintenance until I can sustain myself with a job. Is that unreasonable? I'm pretty stoic and hard skinned. I don't need entertainment, fancy food, nor a spacious room. In fact, I prefer to sleep on the floor over a mattress. Whatever least expensive living arrangement is out there will probably be more than sufficient. I mean, I wouldn't want crack heads tapping on my window, or cockroaches and bed bugs waking me up an night - just a small closet sized room to sleep in and a place to shower is really all I require.The rest of the time I would be out and about, looking for a job or working, trying to improve on the situation.
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:03 AM
 
194 posts, read 535,196 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashenkar View Post
@dirimini - Thanks for the response. I have about 5K in savings total to put down on the housing and maintenance until I can sustain myself with a job. Is that unreasonable? I'm pretty stoic and hard skinned. I don't need entertainment, fancy food, nor a spacious room. In fact, I prefer to sleep on the floor over a mattress. Whatever least expensive living arrangement is out there will probably be more than sufficient. I mean, I wouldn't want crack heads tapping on my window, or cockroaches and bed bugs waking me up an night - just a small closet sized room to sleep in and a place to shower is really all I require.The rest of the time I would be out and about, looking for a job or working, trying to improve on the situation.
I guess whether or not $5K is reasonable is up to the person renting the space; I'm pretty sure most people would ask for a security deposit, so that might be enough "insurance" for some.

Do know, however, that cockroaches can be found even in "nice" apartments; it all depends upon how clean and diligent the apartment owner/renter is (and even if they're super-clean, if the neighbor next door is a pig, then you might still have problems).

More importantly, you really have to do your homework, not only on neighborhoods, but in terms of making a plan of attack of how you plan to go about finding work, which industries you're going to target, and - very important - a monthly budget. You should have a clear idea of what you can afford for rent, food, transportation, etc.

Having a BA is not going to open a lot of doors - it's almost a minimum requirement for even the lowest-paying jobs. Do you have a realistic idea of how much you plan to earn? Have you begun looking online for jobs/temp agencies/etc? These are all things you should be doing before getting on a plane and winding up in one of the most expensive cities in the country!
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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@dirimini - I have started to look on monster and I've found quite a few jobs for which I consider myself to be a good candidate. I even plan on applying to see what sort of a response - or the lack there of - I will receive. One of the things I'm concerned about is the employers dismissing my application simply because I'm from out of town. Assuming they're interested and want me to come for an interview, I thought it would be good idea to be able put a local address and to tell them that I plan to be there in a week or two, so that by the time I arrive, I will already have something lined up, just as you said. And you're right, there is so much more to know, like the area and budget. And I agree wholeheartedly about the BA being pretty much what a high school diploma was 30 years ago. I'll definitely be applying with hiring agencies. That would probably be even more valuable than applying with the direct employer, since they could work and keep touch with me over an extended period of time instead of being interested just during their hiring phase. Mainly what prompted the post originally is the lack of accurate information - just plain lies and deception that I have found online. I can plan all day long but if the plans are based on false information, then they're quite useless and even harmful. What's scary is that for a minute I believed the 125 a week balogney. Perhaps exchanging emails, and really getting to know the person aside from the sales pitch will be the means to getting to the bottom of things.
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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@Henna - You're right, it doesn't make sense to rent a room unseen, and I would never do it of course. But based on the information I saw from craigslist, I got a complete wrong idea of the price range that the rooms in Manhattan are going for. $125 a week for a room - sure it seemed good, maybe too good, but hey, sometimes reality is quite good indeed, so seeing what I wanted to believe, my ability to make solid plans was compromised by those scammers who take your deposit and then send you the ghetto to see a basement. That's why I wrote to see what reliable sources of information exist so that I can make realistic plans.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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Ashenkar, I'm going to disagree with Henna just a bit, and suggest that, while it's true it could be a potential disaster, renting a room sight unseen is not necessarily a guarantee of a disaster, for either of the two parties.

I can only give a personal example: a few years ago, I needed to sublet my apartment for the summer, so listed it on CL. I wound up renting it to someone from Spain, who was coming to NYC to attend a summer course at Columbia University. We emailed for a couple of weeks, I sent pictures, we did a written agreement (via email), and he provided me with a security deposit and the first month's rent (in cash) the day he arrived. I also asked him for references, which he provided (again, by email). In the end, he was a problem-free subtenant, and he really liked the apartment.

Granted, in a sense we were both lucky - and I'm sure people have lots of horror stories to tell in direct contrast to this one. However, I'm just suggesting that you can, in fact, learn quite a bit (via email and phone calls) from a person without necessarily being there on the ground. Yes, there's a risk, definitely - but being there in person doesn't necessarily remove all risk, either. Lots of people get into bad situations even after having seen the place "in person," and you often can get a vibe that the person may be a nutjob (or just not on the up-and-up) by emailing/speaking on the phone with them. And in the digital/internet age, I think renting long-distance is becoming somewhat more common.

However, if you really want to start looking once you get here, then you might consider staying in a youth hostel in NYC (or in Brooklyn - I know there's one in Williamsburg), which would be far cheaper than a hotel. Will they be posh? Nope - in fact, some might be rather "gritty." But you can find reviews of any of the hostels in the city online, written by people who have actually stayed there.

Again, if you could give an idea of how much you think you can spend per month, it might help people give you some more concrete advice. Also - do you have specific reasons why you'd want to move to NYC? There are other major metropolitan centers that might be less difficult and less expensive, but might offer the same sorts of things you're hoping to find.

I know it's stressful, so good luck.
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