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NYC Renter's Guide

Finding a rental apartment in Manhattan can be quite an experience, both in good and bad ways. The exhilaration of finding a great apartment is often preceded by much frustrating trial and error. Sometimes it takes days, and sometimes it takes weeks or even months. Given that a lot of this is out of your control, it’s best to get a good handle on the things that you can do to make it easier. Everyone else faces the same challenges that you do, so understanding the steps involved in finding a place will put you ahead of the game. Here are some tips that will help you keep focused on what matters: finding a great apartment in New York City.


When should you start? Choose a Schedule

First thing’s first: choose a move-in date (this might not be a choice, but if it is, don’t waver). Typically, landlords make their apartments available for viewing 30-45 days before move-in dates, so start looking for an apartment about 45 days before your projected date. Being forced to look desperately for a place because your move-in date is rapidly approaching is no fun, not to mention that it will probably make you rush your decision. Also, keep your schedule open as much as you possibly can during your search in order to accommodate showings and open houses.

How much can you spend?

Before beginning an apartment search, it is absolutely crucial to know exactly how much you have to spend; if you don’t formulate a precise amount, you might end up renting a place you can’t afford. Additionally, landlords generally require their tenants to earn 40 to 50 times their monthly rent in annual income. For example, if you earn $60,000 a year, you would qualify for an apartment with a monthly rent between $1200 - $1500. For students and anyone else who doesn’t earn enough on a yearly basis to rent in Manhattan, you still have options.

The most common and reliable option is to use a Guarantor to co-sign the lease with you. Landlords routinely accept guarantors on leases when the actual renter doesn’t meet the income criteria. The use of a Guarantor is of pressing importance especially for those considering renting with roommates in order to bypass this problem. Typically, landlords don’t combine the incomes of roommates signing the same lease, they put much more value in finding at least one person on the lease with a sufficiently high income. So unless one of your roommates earns 40 to 50 times the monthly rent, you will still need a Guarantor. This only applies to non-related roommates, however; landlords will combine the salaries of married couples almost without exception.

Where should you live?

With a plethora of neighborhoods, all of which have their own distinct personalities, advantages, and disadvantages, it’s important to decide what matters to you. Do you want to live someplace bustling with activity or someplace more residential? Do you want to live right by where you work? Do you mind commuting? What makes a neighborhood attractive to you? Answering simple questions about what you want and don’t want from your neighborhood will save you a ton of time and effort by eliminating many neighborhoods right off the bat. Nonetheless, you may find many unexpected traits about certain neighborhoods that aren’t readily apparent, so do some research before ruling anything out. And since most New Yorkers all want to live in the same five or six neighborhoods, finding an apartment in someplace other than your ideal location will likely save you some money while still offering similar features.

What do you need?


While some people forgo this step, it is most likely that you will need to attend quite a few apartment showings. Showings may be coordinated by your agent and the landlord or they may be public open houses that are open to everyone, but in any scenario you need to make sure your time is flexible during this process.


Competition for housing in New York is notoriously tough, which is unsurprising considering that this is America's most densely populated city and a hard-nosed town to boot. In this kind of situation, landlords can afford to be very discriminating with who they rent to, and all of them have specific requirements that applicants are unlikely to encounter anywhere else. Here is a short, partial list of those requirements:

Verifiable Income: If you can’t verify your income, you can’t rent an apartment in New York City. Simple as that. Since the minimum annual income requirement for a prospective tenant averages around 40 to 50 times the monthly rent, landlords will obviously not just take you at your word if you tell them you make a lot of money. They need proof. Be sure to obtain a signed document printed on company letterhead that verifies your income.  

Good Credit: All applicants are subject to a credit check as a part of the application process. Prepare yourself by cleaning up any outstanding accounts or substantial debt, and aim for having 60% of your credit available. It’s likely that applicants who routinely make payments late or who have filed for bankruptcy will have to make additional payments of rent or security in advance. Generally speaking, the worse credit you have, the less likely you are to be approved to rent an apartment. For international renters who are new to the country will also likely need to pay extra security and rent, which is standard for anyone lacking a Social Security number or credit history. Having a guarantor who lives in the U.S. will greatly increase your chances of successfully renting an apartment.


The best way to grab an apartment is to go to a showing with all the necessary documentation in hand so that if the landlord offers it to you, you can sign a contract that same day. Missing even one document could potentially derail this process, so be thorough in order to avoid problems. The last thing you want is to be scrambling for paperwork at the last minute; people often lose out on apartments because other potential renters get their paperwork in first. Here are all the basic forms:  

Letter of Employment: A typed document on company letterhead that includes your salary, position, and length of employment. This document also needs to have the name and phone number of a corporate contact listed so that the landlord can verify that it’s true, otherwise it’s useless. Offer letters will suffice for those who are just starting a new job. For those who are self-employed, a copy of the first two pages of your most recent Federal tax return or a letter from your attorney or accountant will meet this requirement.

Pay stubs: A copy of your three most recent pay stubs.  

Tax return: While this is not always necessary, some management companies require a copy of your most recent federal tax return. If you are self-employed or have several different sources of income, it is very likely that you will need this documentation.  

Landlord letter of reference: The best letter of reference you can have is a letter from your most recent landlord. This reference always helps, and sometimes it is required. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to obtain a letter of recommendation, be sure to have the name, address and phone number of your landlord ready. Even if it isn’t required, it’s wise to get this reference.  

Photo Identification: A valid Driver's License, Passport, or Student ID.

Note: co-applicants must also provide the above documentation.


Landlords typically want the applicant to earn 40 times the rent, so if your income falls beneath that ratio, finding a guarantor is a good option. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you default, much like a co-signer. Ideally, guarantors are relatives that live within the tri-state area and make 80 times as much as the rent (they will be required to submit the same forms as the renters). Also, when there is more than one guarantor (or renter for that matter), landlords use their combined income to determine the annual income/monthly rent ratio.


Before any application is completed, you will need to provide the landlord with one month's rent and one month's security, landlords won’t consider an application without it. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you make the necessary financial arrangements before going to see apartments. Keep in mind that landlords do not accept personal checks for these payments; payment must be done by bank certified check, traveler's checks, money order, wire transfer, or cash. Of course, after your application is approved, you can use personal checks for the rent payments.

Get all your paperwork and moneys ready beforehand so that you can immediately rent any apartment you visit. Apartments here get snatched up quickly, so don’t let the fast-moving rental market leave you behind. Check our Application Checklist for a full list of required documents and fees.

Last but not least, bring a notepad, pen and a camera so you can jot down all the relevant details about the apartments you visit. Don’t rely just on memory, it’s way too easy to forget things or confuse one place with another.

Do you need to use a broker?

There are quite a few landlords in New York City who simply do not work with renters directly. They either hire an exclusive broker or delegate renting apartments to multiple nonexclusive brokers. These are the cases when a broker is the only option to access the apartment. So yes, sometimes in order see a wider variety of choices you do need to use a broker. That’s why we equally value broker exclusive listings on our website.

You might also want to use a broker if you are too busy and/or know nothing about Manhattan apartment rentals. Taking into consideration the fact that some people spend well over 2-3 weeks, almost full time, researching the real estate market, locating available properties, making appointments, blindly viewing apartments, and hassling through application and closing process, paying a fee to a qualified and honest broker may be well worth the cost.

On the other hand, if you are well informed and have enough time at your disposal, there are plenty of choices for direct rentals in NYC which you can view and comfortably apply for without any intermediary or fees.

Our goal is to provide you with all the necessary information to make your own, well informed decision.

What does no-fee mean?

So brokers these days collect their commissions differently than they used to in the past. Whereas broker's commissions used to almost always be paid by renters, now many of the landlords offer commissions to brokers so that the latter can offer their services to clients for free, which has created the ‘no-fee’ broker. No-fee listings may refer to open listings that can be offered by the owner directly or through a nonexclusive broker.


Once you’ve found an apartment you like, move quickly to secure it. If you had all of your paperwork and deposits with you already, you can apply right on the spot. Be ready to pay an application fee that covers the cost of a credit check. Credit Score is one of the chief factors that will determine whether or not your application is approved, so most landlords rely on their own credit checks to choose a renter that has established credit in good standing. Please keep in mind, while in some buildings on-site applications are available, in most of the cases you will probably need to visit a separate rental office.

Here is a typical application checklist:

  • Copy of a photo ID
  • Copies of your last 2 pay stubs
  • Copies of your last 2 bank statements
  • Copies of your last 2 1040 tax forms
  • Typed letter of employment - signed by a superior and printed on company letterhead letter must state your salary, employment date, and position
  • Certified Check to pay for the security deposit
  • A separate Certified Check to pay for a minimum of one month’s rent

For those who are independent contractors, there are a few slight differences. You will need the following:

  • First page and signature page of your last federal tax return
  • Verification of annual income from the last tax year from your certified public accountant on company letterhead

If you’re looking to rent a condo, the rental process usually takes about 10-30 days after you file an application. The time frame varies greatly due to depending on the amount of owner stipulations and how well your credit check goes. Also, don’t be shocked if the owner charges a move-in fee. For a co-op, the application process is much more rigorous and takes even longer, the norm is about 30-45 days. You’ll have to submit extensive personal information, get multiple references, and interview with the co-op board. The application fees are often larger than for a condo - sometimes more than $500 - and the security deposit may exceed one month’s rent.


In a real estate market that moves very quickly, you will probably feel pressure to close rental deals as soon as possible. Even though it may seem necessary to act right away, it is critical that you don’t rush and instead make sure that all your questions are answered before signing anything. Also, any negotiations or changes to the lease should be attached to this primary document as a lease rider, so get everything in writing, never rely upon verbal assurances.

Fees and Deposits

Up-front costs usually include the security deposit and first month’s rent, although this is not always the case. Find out exactly how much you need to pay up-front to rent an apartment.

Note: security deposits may not be more than one month's rent in stabilized units; fees to superintendents or doormen, commonly called "key money," are illegal.

Read your Lease

Before comitting to it, be sure to examine your lease thoroughly. Once you and your landlord sign it, it’s too late to go back and alter the details; the lease is considered executed and you have in effect agreed to every provision inside it. Check for the following:

  • The correct rent, address, and landlord
  • All the agreed upon amenities
  • The due date for monthly rent
  • The late charges for missing the deadline for monthly rent
  • Whether or not utilities are billed separately or are included in your monthly rent
  • Special building rules such as if the building is pet-friendly, has limits on guests, restricts home businesses, etc.
  • The provisions at the end of the lease term, such as automatic renewal, what happens if you break your lease, and the rules governing sublets or transfer the lease

Who is on the Lease?

A renter whose name is on a lease has far more protections and rights than unsigned tenants. If you want your partner, child, spouse, roommate, or relative to have lease protections, put their name on the lease at the outset, because later additions may trigger a vacancy increase in stabilized apartments. Be aware that more names on the lease may complicate things in the future if those relationships change.

Before you join a household as a roommate, find out what the primary tenant's plans are. Being a roommate whose name isn’t on the lease can leave you in a tenuous position: If the primary tenant leaves and you are not on the lease, you have no right to stay in the apartment. In order to avoid this, you should see if you can add your name to the lease, although this may trigger a substantial rent increase in stabilized apartments.


If your apartment is rent-stabilized, know the following information:

  • The details of the Rent Stabilization Rider. The Rider describes the rights and obligations of tenants and owners under the Rent Stabilization Law. It also states the previous rent for the apartment.
  • Whether or not the building is operating under the 421-a or the J-51 tax incentive program. If the building was built with the aid of a tax exemption, your rent is regulated for as long as the exemption lasts, which is usually in the range of 10-20 years. At the end of this period, your landlord is free to charge market rates, so be sure to know when of if this change will take place.
  • If you are the first tenant in a previously rent-controlled apartment, the owner should have negotiated with you before charging a rent. If you want to challenge the new rent, you have 90 days from the first day of receipt of notice (called the RR-1 form) to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal, or FMRA.

Landlord's Right to Access.

Privacy concerns can be exacerbated by the landlord’s right to enter your apartment, so be sure to ask for the exact wording in the lease that limits the landlord's ability to enter your apartment except during emergencies. Tenants in multiple dwellings also have the right to install and maintain their own locks on their apartment entrance doors, but you must provide the landlord with a duplicate key upon request.


Types of Leases

To an unseasoned New York City renter, the various types of leases offered and their legal implications can be confusing at best and intimidating at worst. And in a landlord's market, there is precious little room for negotiation. The following summary, along with government agency contacts, should help you understand the different types of legal rentals that are common in New York City.

Rent-Controlled Lease

Once a form of consumer protection implemented by New York City in response to the postwar rental housing emergency, rent-controlled leases regulate terms, rents, and services associated with Manhattan rental apartments. In other words, rent-control restricts changes that a landlord can make to both the price of rent as well as the services they are required to provide. At present, rent-controlled leases are no longer in effect in NYC unless the apartment has been “grandfathered” into it due to continuous occupancy since 1971. Once the tenant moves out of a rent-controlled apartment, the agreement becomes terminated, and the apartment becomes subject to the rules and regulations of any other Manhattan rental.

Rent-Stabilized Lease

Most of the Manhattan apartments in previously rent-controlled buildings have converted to rent-stabilization. While similar, rent-stabilized leases are a more liberal version of rent control, and currently include over one million apartments in NYC. Under this status, the city government regulates lease terms, rent increases, rent renewals, required utilities and services, and so on. Standard percentage increases, for example, are negotiated by the Rent Stabilization Board, and then implemented on one and two year leases that are set to be renewed.

A rent-stabilized lease also gives tenants a degree of protection, affording them the right to automatically renew their lease (assuming they have not done anything to violate it). Further protection is also provided for tenants; landlords cannot terminate their lease unless there is empirical evidence to suggest that the renter has either defaulted on his/her rent, caused damage to the apartment or communal spaces, or has violated the terms of the lease in another way. It also affords tenants the privilege of being able to sublet their apartments, though restrictions may apply in some cases. Most Manhattan rent-stabilized buildings are walk-ups or elevator buildings, although there are a few luxury doorman buildings where rent-stabilized apartments can be found. There are also some new constructions that, for tax purposes, have adopted rent-stabilization.


For rent-stabilized apartments, if the monthly rent has surpassed $2,000, the lease will become de-stabilized upon becoming vacant, and any rent increases are at the discretion of the landlord from that point forward. Furthermore, de-stabilized apartments lose all the other rights and provisions of rent-stabilization. However, even if the monthly rent exceeds $2,000 a month, a rent-stabilized apartment will not be de-stabilized as long as the tenant still occupies that apartment, and that tenant remains protected by all rent-stabilization laws. The apartment will not become de-stabilized until it is vacated or unless the current tenant earns an annual income in excess of $175,000.

Non-Stabilized Prime Lease

This refers to an “open market rental.” Open market rentals include non-rent-stabilized rental buildings, co-ops, condos and other privately owned homes. As the primary tenant or leaseholder, you would be granted a “prime lease,” which means that you are legally responsible for the apartment. These rental apartments are not subject to the same rules and regulations as rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments.


A sublet is a rental apartment in which the primary leaseholder takes on a secondary leaseholder. In other words, if a tenant wants to move out of his or her rental apartment before the terms of their lease expires, they can, with the permission of their landlord, rent their home to a second party. However, the primary leaseholder is still legally responsible for the monthly payment of rent, as well as any other issues as pertaining to the original lease. Rent stabilized tenants have the right to sublet, assuming there is “good cause,” for an average total of two years within a given four year period.

Of course landlord approval of a sublet is required, and often entails a formal request in writing. Non-rent-stabilized tenants can also sublet, but there are stricter regulations, and it may be more difficult to obtain a landlord’s permission to do so. Sublets are often taken advantage of by those who do not plan to live in a rental apartment for a long period of time, and rented by those who will, for example, be out of town for a short time period.

Condominium and Coop leases

When renting a condominium, the owner of the unit is the landlord. Just like a non-stabilized rental building, a tenant is granted a prime lease, meaning that he or she is legally responsible for everything in the apartment, and subject to the rules and regulations agreed upon within the lease. Sublets can at times be permitted, but only with the express consent of the landlord.

Co-ops, however, operate differently. Unlike a condominium, a co-op owner does not actually own his or her luxury apartment. Rather, he or she owns shares in a corporation that owns the building. As a result, in order to rent in a co-op building, prospective tenants must be approved by both the landlord and the board of directors. Because of this, the person who owns the co-op is actually the prime resident, in essence making this type of rental a sublet.

A Note About Leases:

Leases are binding legal contracts. Even if ownership of the building changes, your lease protects your right to live in your New York City apartment for the entire duration of the lease term. On the other hand, you are legally bound to fulfill the requirements of your lease including payment of rent for the entire duration of the lease term.




Apartment Types

Apartments in Manhattan come in many shapes and sizes, so it’s no surprise that there are many different terms employed to describe them. You may be familiar with some of these real estate terms, because many of them are universal and self-explanatory, while others are new and uniquely regional. Things can get confusing for the uninitiated: multiple terms are sometimes used to describe a single type of apartment. For example, a junior one-bedroom can also be referred to as an alcove studio. To clarify this situation, we’ve written a glossary of terms designed to help simplify your apartment search.


A straight studio is typically a one room New York City apartment with a full bathroom. It may have a separate kitchen or one that is open to the room. Straight Studios come in vastly different sizes, and some also have a dressing room or a dining area.
An alcove studio is a studio with an alcove, which is a separate area or nook that can be used for dining, sleeping, office work, or anything else you can think of. In general, alcove studios in New York City are larger than straight studios. They usually either have an L-shaped configuration, or the two areas may be separated by an archway.


Convertibles are apartments that have been divided by a makeshift wall in order to create another bedroom. Depending on the size of the space - which is often an alcove - more than one room can be created. Convertibles also don’t necessarily have to be converted into separate rooms, you can keep the space as is and use it for a living room, office, or anything else you can think of. Also, the term can indicate two different things: converted apartments where the space has already been subdivided by a wall, and convertible apartments where the renters or buyers must make the ‘wall’ themselves. Convertible apartments are most often found in more expensive neighborhoods, although this procedure can be done in almost any apartment if desired.


One-Bedroom apartments in New York City have a living room that is separate from the bedroom. Some have separate kitchens, while others have kitchens that are open with regards to the living room. Be aware that the one-bedrooms vary dramatically in size, and some bedrooms can only fit a twin-size bed, while others can accommodate a king-size bed and a sitting area.
A junior one-bedroom is usually an extra-large studio or small loft in New York City that is sufficiently large enough that residents can section-off a separate sleeping area or bedroom. Junior one-bedrooms also may have an eat-in kitchen in addition to the separate living or sleeping area.
A "three-room" refers to an apartment with a third room that is situated in such a way that using the third room as a separate bedroom or full living room is impractical. Railroad apartments are good examples of “three-room” apartments in New York City. These apartments are usually found in older walk-up buildings. Be careful not to confuse “three-room” apartments with three-bedroom apartments.
A junior Four is a large one-bedroom that has a full separate kitchen and a separate dining area, large foyer, or living room that is big enough to section off. The term is derived from the fact that it is almost four rooms.


A full two-Bedroom or "real two-Bedroom" has two separate bedrooms plus a living room, and, in some cases, a separate kitchen. Bedroom sizes can vary widely, from a baby's room or small office to a sprawling master suite. Be sure to take note of the amount of bathrooms; in two-bedrooms there can be one, one-and-a-half, or two bathrooms.
A Convertible two-Bedroom or "flex two" is actually a one-bedroom that has enough space to create a wall for a second bedroom. In New York City, flex twos are rather common.
A wing two-bedroom has two bedrooms that are separated by a common area such as an eat-in kitchen, but these New York City apartments have no real living room. These apartments are commonly found in Manhattan neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and are good for roommates who don't mind not having a common living space.


These New York City apartments offer three separate bedrooms. These apartments run the full gamut in terms of common space, kitchen, and size of the bedrooms, so expect wide variations in the quality of three-bedrooms in New York City.
A "classic six" is a three-bedroom apartment, usually found in high-end pre-war buildings, that was originally designed with two bedrooms, maid's room, full dining room, living room, separate kitchen and two-and-a-half to three bathrooms.


Lofts are open, spacious apartments which may have as many bedrooms as any other apartments, or in some cases no separate bedrooms at all due to the lack of internal walls. These aren’t simply over-sized studios, however, because they have full-sized kitchens, huge windows and very high ceilings; studios simply aren’t comparable. Lofts originated when owners began converting commercial spaces into residential spaces, so the neighborhoods most famous for this kind of apartment are Tribeca, SoHo, and Noho, all of which have many gorgeous lofts. This model has been copied by newer, post-war high-rise luxury apartments, so they aren’t solely restricted to old commercial buildings. They’re one of the most popular apartment types in Manhattan for good reason.


Duplexes are simply apartments with two levels, although they can be broken up into two sub-types: proper two level apartments with separate upstairs and downstairs sections, or an apartment with an open-space loft or mezzanine bedroom. Also referred to as maisonettes, these apartments are often luxurious and highly coveted by those who can afford them, although open-spaced duplexes are more prevalent and less private. Primarily found in newer luxury apartment complexes, or sometimes on the top floor of brownstones or walk-ups, these apartments can be found on the Upper West or Upper East Side of Manhattan, and are relatively rare when compared to other apartment types.


Exactly the same as a duplex, except these New York City apartments have three levels instead of two.

Railroad Apartment

A common type of apartment in pre-war walk-ups, railroad apartments are configured so that one room leads directly into another with no connecting hallways.


The epitome of luxury in Manhattan, penthouses are large apartments that are situated on top floors of all kinds of buildings. Very expensive and more similar to houses than to other apartments, penthouses usually are structures on the top of apartment buildings that are much larger than other Manhattan apartments and offer amazing views and peace and quiet in a city where peace and quiet are hard to find. Most have large terraces with an abundance of outdoor space, some have pools, and all are beautiful places to live. They are exclusive and under high demand from New York elites for good reason, because there is no better place to live in New York City than a penthouse apartment.

Building Types

Few cities in the world have as wide a variety of building types as New York City, and the many kinds of apartment buildings found here vividly reflect various historical time periods. The architectural wealth found in Manhattan is unrivaled. From the Old New York charm of a pre-war walk-up to the grandeur and sumptuous amenities of a newly constructed high-rise, there are a myriad of options available, with certain building types more predominantly found in specific neighborhoods, and often times playing to different tastes. Take a moment to read through common terms and explanations below, and educate yourself so that you can make the best, most informed decision.

Walk-up Building

Walk-up buildings are buildings without elevators that are usually between three and six-stories tall. Walk-ups are among the most basic kinds of buildings in New York City, and most were constructed in the early 20th century, although there are post-war walk-ups in Manhattan as well. Walk-ups lack doormen, and security is limited to a locked door with an audio or video intercom for visitors. Many walk-ups are rent-stabilized and most have been renovated, so quite often these buildings provide great living spaces in New York City at affordable prices.

Elevator Building

The elevator building, as can probably be inferred from its title, describes a mid to high-rise building (above six floor) with elevator service. These can include both post and pre-war buildings and are usually equipped with laundry facilities.  Some include an elevator attendant, providing a more classical, “olden days” atmosphere, but most of them have unattended lobby and security is provided by an audio or video intercom system.

Doorman Building

A doorman building refers to any building, whether high-rise or mid-rise, that employs a doorman. Doormen have long been a staple of grand pre-war buildings all over Manhattan, and post-war luxury buildings have continued that tradition. Both these Newly constructed high-rises and classic pre-war buildings often feature amenities including laundry facilities, concierge, valet service, and maid service, making doorman buildings synonymous with high-end living.


Providing both an excellent amount of living space as well as privacy rarely associated with NYC real estate, townhouses are some of the most popular options amongst Manhattanites. Aesthetically pleasing, they are most often three or four stories high pre-war structures, many of which include private backyards, fireplaces and high ceilings, and can be found throughout NYC, especially in The Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and Greenwich Village. While some remain single-family dwellings, many have been redesigned to accommodate multiple units. Their homey feel and often classic architectural style make townhouse apartments highly sought after gems, and well worth the price.

Brownstone Building

Similar to townhouses, brownstones also offer increased privacy rarely seen within NYC real estate, often including their own backyards and classic architecture. They are, however, a bit more elegant than the general townhouse, and also tend to be older, with many dating back to the mid-to-late 19th century. Famous for their stoops, brownstones feature staircases that lead to a second floor entrance, which is one of their defining characteristics. Though they can be found all over the city, brownstones are predominantly found in The Upper West and East Sides, as well as Chelsea and Greenwich Village, and are considered to be one of the premiere options in NYC real estate.

Loft Buildings

Lofts are usually commercial buildings that have been converted to residential dwellings, although many newly constructed high-rises and mid-rises have copied the massively popular loft layout and crafted beautiful lofts inside modern luxury buildings. They are mostly found in current or former commercial neighborhoods like Chelsea, Soho, and Tribeca, though they can be found in neighborhoods all over Manhattan. Most have ultra-high ceilings, open floorplans, and tall windows, as well as self-service elevators. You won’t find many lofts with doormen unless it’s in a newly constructed building.

Pre-war Building

Pre-war defines any building constructed before the beginning of World War II. Renowned for their ornate architecture and highly skilled craftsmanship, they are one of the pillars of Manhattan real estate. They often have high ceilings, roughly nine to ten feet, hardwood floors, thick plaster walls that provide excellent sound insulation, fireplaces and carved moldings and/or trims. They can come as elevator buildings or walk-ups, and sometimes feature doormen as well.

Post-war Building

Post-war refers to any building constructed from World War II to the 1970s. Big majority include elevators as well as laundry facilities, and many also feature doormen. Standard eight foot ceilings, as well as sheet rock walls, are the norm and even though hardwood strip floors are still found in some of them, wood parquet tiled floors are prevalent, along with generally larger windows than most pre-war constructions. Though they lack the historical aesthetics and atmosphere seen in older structures, post-war buildings offer a more modern feel, appealing to many Manhattanites seeking a fast paced lifestyle.

Modern Building

This term usually refers to large apartment buildings constructed in the 1980s. Modern buildings in New York City tend to be made primarily of glass and steel, and the living rooms usually have parquet tile floors and bigger closets than most other post-war buildings. Aesthetically, the appliances and fixtures are usually very basic colors such as black, white, or beige, and the kitchens usually include dishwashers and microwave ovens.

New Construction Building

This term refers to a luxury apartment building that is less than ten years old. Newer buildings usually boast marble tile bathrooms and gourmet kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Many offer rooftop sundecks, on-site fitness centers, and individually controlled heat and air-conditioning. Additionally, many new buildings provide washers and dryers in the individual units.

High-Rise Building

A term used to refer to buildings generally more then 12 stories, most high-rises were built after 1980 and tend to be new construction projects within Manhattan luxury real estate. Though not exclusive to a specific type of apartment, they tend to include condominiums as opposed to co-ops. Many include a variety of extra amenities, such as doorman and concierge service, and almost all have elevators as well as a modern feel.

Mid-Rise Building

A mid-rise building is generally considered to be those that are between 4-6 stories. Many still include elevators, but there are some that are in the classic walk-up style. These also tend to be older buildings, and often include fewer amenities than the more modern high-rises. However, there is an increased amount of privacy, as well as a spacial charm, in these buildings, making them a very popular option within NYC real estate.

Low-Rise Building

Characterized as having at least one floor above ground, low-rise buildings tend to be fewer than four floors, though many within NYC luxury real estate consider any building lower than a high-rise to be a low-rise. Though they often include fewer amenities than the taller varieties, low-rises tend to be more classical in style and offer additional privacy rarely available in high or even mid-rise luxury buildings.

Mixed-Use Building

The term mixed-use refers to a building that is both commercial and residential. Many buildings fall into this category, not only the many four or five story walk-ups with stores or restaurants on the ground floor but also newer condominiums that are designed to hold larger department stores or even supermarkets. Mixed-use or Live-Work can also refer to individual apartments which have commercial offices and residential spaces within the same apartment, although those are harder to obtain and are subject to the same rules and regulations as commercial spaces, such as providing handicap access.