The Basic Steps of Apartment Searching
When to start looking
Most NYC apartments aren't listed until three or four weeks before move-in day. If you start searching sooner, anything you look at will likely be gone by the time you want to move. Once inventory hits the market, the best deals disappear immediately, so be prepared to start searching three/fours weeks before your move date.
What is a credit check?
Bringing on a new tenant is always a risk for landlords, and one way they assess this risk is through a Credit Check. By "running your credit", a landlord is getting a credit score, which is a number between 300 and 850 that represents how likely you are to pay your bills on time. There are three credit bureaus that determine your score, and they all have different formulas, but your landlord will likely pick the middle score. So if you get scores of 690, 710, and 730 - they'll go with 710, anything under 700 will concern most landlords.
The 40-times Rule
Most landlords want to see that your income is more than 40-50 times the monthly rent. So take your pre-tax, annual income (salary, bonuses, dividends), and divide that by 40-50. That's the maximum rent you'll be approved for. Some landlords will allow you to combine your income with your roommates' income to hit this 40-50-times threshold.
Guarantors are required to make at least 80 to 100 times the monthly rent. (If your rent is $2,000 per month, a guarantor needs to make $160,000 to $200,000 per year.)