The answer will be different for everyone. Obviously, if you can carry everything you own in a suitcase and are planning to live on a friend’s couch, it’s going to be a whole lot cheaper than packing up a lifetime of belongings and getting your own apartment in NYC. Instead of giving you a one-size-fits-all answer, we’ll break down some of the most common expenses associated with moving in NYC, so you can create your own estimate with a bit more accuracy.
Application Fees: $25-100
Here in the Big Apple, landlords have the upper hand due to the housing shortage. Most will charge you an application fee of some sort, which goes toward their processing time and a background check, and this can range anywhere from $25-100 for each application you submit. To minimize the number of applications you put in, have a packet ready for the landlord which includes things like employment verification, paycheck stubs, tax returns, bank statements, references, and a copy of your ID. You may also be able to sway the landlord to take you by providing him or her with a good faith deposit of a few hundred dollars. Some landlords require this as well, so have it ready regardless. It’s also worth noting that if your credit isn’t good, you haven’t established credit yet, your income is low, or your work history is lacking, you’ll likely need to have someone with a stronger track record co-sign on the lease with you.
First and Last Month’s Rent: $1,997-3,662
Once approved, your landlord will expect you to pay the first and last month in advance. We grabbed average NYC apartment prices from Naked Apartments. If you’re going solo, the cheapest method is to go for a studio in the Bronx at $1,450 per month, meaning your first and last month will come to $2,900. You may be able to trim costs a bit by going in on a two-bedroom with a friend, in which case the cheapest local is still the Bronx, and your half of the first and last month will be $1,997. If you’ve got your sights set on Manhattan, which is the most expensive area to live, the least you’ll pay is $3,662, based on sharing a two-bedroom with a friend. Bear in mind if you’re super cozy with someone and plan to share a bed, you can also theoretically halve the cost of a studio, but given the small footprints of NYC apartments, it can be a challenging situation for even the closest couples.
- Studio: $1,450/ mo
- 1 Bedroom: $1,600/ mo
- 2 Bedroom: $1,997/ mo
- Studio: $2,175/ mo
- 1 Bedroom: $2,100/ mo
- 2 Bedroom: $2,999/ mo
- Studio: $2,350/ mo
- 1 Bedroom: $2,400/ mo
- 2 Bedroom: $2,600/ mo
- Studio: $2,250/ mo
- 1 Bedroom: $3,100/ mo
- 2 Bedroom: $3,662/ mo
Security Deposit + Pet Deposit: $1,450-1,831 + $75-250
Landlords collect a security deposit to cover any damage you cause to the property, and the amount is typically equal to a month of rent. You should be able to get this deposit back when you move out if you’ve taken care of the apartment well, but you may need to document the conditions when you move in and when you move out. If you’re bringing a pet along with you, expect to provide a deposit for damage caused by the animal as well. Something small, such as a cat, will probably require around $75, whereas a larger dog could run well over $200.
Your moving costs will vary depending on the distance between your new place and old place, as well as how much stuff you plan to move. Naturally, a long-distance move will cost much more than a local move. All Moves: Getting your items packed up and ready to go will require boxes, tape, filler (like bubble wrap or peanuts to protect breakables), and markers adds up. Expect to pay about $50 for packing supplies if you’re only moving one room. DIY Moves: Truck rental companies will lure you in with a $20 offer, but that’s just the base rate for the smallest rental truck rental, which is suited for moving one bedroom. They also will charge you $2+ per mile you drive it and you’ll have to gas it up, plus you’ll probably need to rent tools like a dolly. Moreover, damage to moving trucks is expensive to fix, so you’ll probably want insurance. Plan on these things running at least $175, though you’ll need to calculate the number of miles you’ll drive to get a better estimate. Also, you’ll want help moving, which means you’ll need to set aside some cash to buy food and drinks for your friends. Set aside $50-75 for this. Hiring Movers: If you want the process to go smoother or you don’t have people to help, hiring residential movers is a great way to go. Bear in mind, these costs will vary based on a number of factors, such as the amount being moved, the items being moved, and how difficult it is to access the new place and the old place. It usually takes 3-4 hours to handle a one-bedroom local move, and you should estimate these costs at $100- 150 per hour.
Repairs aren’t always necessary because your landlord should have your space move-in-ready before your arrival. However, if there are things you need to take care of, such as paint, changing out shower heads, or adding security features, these expenses can easily run into the hundreds.
If this is your first time living on your own, you probably only have a bedroom set, meaning you’ll need living room furniture, a dining room table, and perhaps other pieces. Even if you’re putting together a new place with used furniture off a peer-to-peer marketplace like Craigslist, you can expect to spend a minimum of $250. If you have more refined tastes, check out your favorite catalogue and add up the cost of outfitting communal spaces.
Household Supplies $200+
Odds are, you’re moving in with nothing in the way of household supplies. Again, you can cut costs by purchasing some things used, such as kitchen gear and a vacuum, but the bare minimum you’ll probably spend is about $200.
- Trash bags
- Cleaning supplies (dish soap, laundry detergent, sponges, all-purpose cleaners, a vacuum, etc.)
- Toilet paper/ tissues
- Cooking equipment
Utility Deposits/ Connection Fees: $75+
Things like power, gas, water, cable, and phone service often have one-time connection fees or require deposits if you don’t have good credit. These can run anywhere from about $25-150 per service. To get more accurate numbers, contact the companies you hope to work with in advance and find out what their charges are. For estimation purposes, allot $75 in startup fees for each service you plan to use.
Renter’s Insurance: $125+
“Even if you think your possessions aren’t worth very much, it only takes one sink to overflow into your neighbor’s apartment to set you back $2,500 to $10,000 or more,” says Brick Underground. The monthly cost of a policy will vary based on your coverage, but some go for as little as $125 per year in NYC.
Granted, living expenses aren’t really costs paid to move out, but you will need to have money set aside to live off the first month. We won’t include these in our final totals because there’s a huge variance depending on whether you’re living on ramen or hitting Broadway shows every weekend, but you should familiarize yourself with what your monthly bills will be before you take the plunge. Consider things like:
- Services and Utilities (internet, Netflix, power, water, etc.… not necessarily in that order)
- Household supplies and maintenance fees
- Education costs (tuition, books)
- Ongoing rent costs
As a general rule of thumb, people should have about three months’ worth of expenses set aside in an emergency fund. This will carry you through if you lose your job, become sick, or face another type of financial crisis. Add up what you’re paying each month in living expenses and multiply it by three.
How Much Does It Cost to Move Out?
If you’re incredibly thrifty and don’t have a pet, you’re likely looking at a minimum of $4572 to move out in NYC, not including living expenses. Most people will land in the $5,000-6,000 range, though your expenses might be a little less than what’s listed here if you’re planning to share a one-bedroom with someone.
How’d we get that number?
By adding up the known minimum costs of:
- Application Fees
- First and Last Month’s Rent
- Security Deposit
- Household Supplies
- Utility Deposits
- Renter’s Insurance
Ready to Plan Your NYC Move?
Moving out on your own is a big deal. At Metropolis Moving, we’re here to make sure you get off to the best start possible. We’ve got some pretty awesome Yelp reviews, if we do say so ourselves. Plus, our pros work diligently to help minimize your moving expenses, while handling your belongings with the care and concern they deserve. We also don’t expect pizza at the end of a long day, and won’t hold it over your head for all of eternity that we once helped you move. Our team is glad to walk you through the process of what to expect and what your total moving costs will be, so give us a call at (718) 710-4520 to chat or request a free moving quote online and we’ll be in touch with the details ASAP.