8 Must-Know Tips for Renting an Apartment {in Hoboken}

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So…you’re looking for an apartment to rent in Hoboken, but you don’t quite know where to start. These 8 tips will help you stay stress free and organized and make this a fun adventure {we swear!}. Here are must-know tips for renting in Hoboken:

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1. Decide on Roommates. And be smart about them.

Ask yourself, “How well I do know this potential roommate?” Are they sitting cushy at home and don’t really need to move? Do they have any personality quirks {i.e. ‘Single White Female’ status}. Many things come to the surface very quickly once you live in close quarters with someone, so you want to make sure that whomever you choose to live with will be a good choice.

PRO TIP: Get a true head count of who is in before you start searching, trust your gut and make sure you’re all on the same page before you are in a legally binding agreement with your crew.

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2. Check your credit, and know the approval process.

To be accepted for any rental, we’ll need to run your credit. Even if you know you have *no* credit, realtors will have to run your credit {in addition to the person who may be co-signing for you}. Landlords basically want to know that they aren’t going to wind up with a shady tenant who doesn’t pay their rent. They also look for things like evictions — or anything alarming and a big red flag {like you were arrested for money laundering}. FYI, the standard rental approval process follows the 3:1 income to rent ratio. {For example: rent at $3k a month requires income of $9k a month to get approved. For roomies, this could be a collective number between all of your incomes.}

PRO TIP: Stay on top of knowing what’s on your credit report. Check for inaccuracies. If you know your credit isn’t squeaky clean, be honest with your roomies and your realtor. Collect two to three pay stubs, get an employment letter if it’s your first job, and start thinking about locking in a guarantor, if needed {guarantor = cosigner aka most likely mom or dad if needed}. While this is all invasive — the stand-up thing to do is to let your potential roomies know if something negative may turn up and hold you all back from getting accepted. You don’t want to be that friend who sinks the ship because some blips landed on your credit report. Honesty is always the best policy, and from a realtor’s perspective — it’s a no judgement zone.

3. Decide on your TRUE budget.

Many new renters come to town, quickly getting their thought bubbles deflated when they realize how expensive it is to live in Hudson County — especially Hoboken! hey man- it’s EXPENSIVE to live here! On top of your rent, don’t forget your added costs like parking and utilities. Garage spots can be pricy, but with an eagle eye and some parallel parking skills, you can street park OR maybe you will be blessed with a parking spot included in your rent. Always leave a little cushion for the unexpected expenses, and don’t be afraid to ask your agent to do a little digging and find out what you should expect your utilities to be. Those high ceilings are wonderful  — but can come with a hefty heating bill.

PRO TIP: Garage Parking is approximately $275 a month, give or take, Resident Parking Permit is $15 with proof of residency, the average studio to 1 bedroom costs about $1600- $2200, the average 2 bedroom is $2400 – $3000 or higher, and the average 3 bedroom is $3500 or higher {prices are based on standard walkup buildings}.

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4. Determine cost of moving in *and* handling rent. And REMEMBER – most apartments have a realtor fee.

Typically, there’s a one-month broker fee {this is equivalent to whatever one month of your rent would be}. Unless you see “No Fee” rental — if you don’t see that, there’s a fee. You’ll also need 1.5 month’s security to pay upfront as well as a move-in fee through the apartment building plus renter’s insurance.

PRO TIP: Organize amongst yourselves who will be in charge of collecting money —not only for your initial payments, but for paying the rent out of one account. Your landlord will not want to collect a separate rent check from each roommate. Allow time to get the funds where they need to be.

5. Pick a location you all love — and NEED.

Know your apartment location needs. Everyone has their wishlist, but with a little reality check and flexibility, a good realtor is doing everything they can to find you a place. Who needs to be near close transportation? Who wants to be downtown/uptown? Who’s willing to move a little further away from Washington Street? Many people come to Hoboken because they have visions of what they think it should be. But hey — let’s face it: Our mile square is packed with amazingness, and while you might have to walk those couple of extra blocks, you will be never too far from good coffee, good eats, a nail salon or a gym. And if it’s really too far—Uber, cab, the HOP, or the city bus can zip you right along for less than your venti latte.

PRO TIP: Map your route and plan for your day to day. As much as you want that apartment, it’s a good idea to be practical and make sure your decision will suit you.

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7. Start that search! With your checkbook — and all roommates in tow.

While this can be really fun, renting in this town is seriously survival of the fittest. This is reasoning for the extensive info above. Far too often, your bachelor/bachelorette pad went **POOF** while the other, more organized candidates {no judgement, just facts of life in Hob} pounced on it. Properties can rent literally the same day of coming to market — and usually have multiple contenders. It’s always a good idea to have all of your roommates together to view the properties at the same time so you don’t have to wait on it and risk the chance of it being scooped up.

PRO TIP: Tell your realtor all of your search criteria that you have fine-tuned. Your realtor will then pull together a list of inventory available for you from the MLS {the multiple listing service system agents use to search properties}. If you aren’t seriously looking — but are scoping out neighborhoods for a future move — all good! Best to let your realtor know so he/she can familiarize you with neighborhoods of interest, which will help you be fully informed when you are ready to hit the pavement.

8. Begin the application process.

So you’ve fallen in love with an apartment. Everyone is on board. Your credit check is run if it hasn’t been already. And you get the place!

PRO TIP: A property is not off the market until all parties have signed the lease and all checks have been dropped off to the appropriate parties. In other words: HUSTLE! You’ll need certified checks — one for the broker fee, one for your security deposit {usually 1.5 months} and your first month’s rent.

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Now comes the best part = #9. WELCOME HOME!

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Tamara is NJ native, spending the last decade in Hoboken and Jersey City. She's a real estate agent at Boutique Realty, with offices are in Hoboken, Jersey City and Redbank. She aims to share with you all of the tricks of the trade to help you score your dream home and avoid the pitfalls of real estate. She balances the intensity of real estate by dancing her cares away in Zumba and finding her zen at her boyfriend’s studio, Real Hot Yoga. With all of the fabulous restaurants in town, her favorite date night is still a night in complete with a home-cooked meal and her favorite shows.


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