Finding and moving into your next apartment in New York City doesn’t have to trigger a full-blown panic attack.
Sure, bouncing from one living space to another is inconvenient, inefficient and can cost a ton of money.
But there’s hope — and some of it, in part, comes from a handful of new companies that have sprung up to “hack” relocation like Uber did taxi-hailing. These startups are standing by to assist those on the move with seamless and affordable transitions.
Here are five direct-to-consumer businesses that make tracking down, securing and even furnishing your next home just a little bit easier.
Find an apartment and pay no fee
Loftey acts like a knowledgeable broker, helping renters find new apartments — but for free. Building landlords and management companies give Loftey, founded in 2015, a cut if a customer it refers signs a lease, according to CEO Ori Goldman.
Loftey was how Christian Keenum, a 28-year-old client solutions manager at Facebook, found his current apartment, a two-bedroom in a Chelsea high-rise with a doorman, a gym and a sun terrace. “I sent Loftey a list of 10-plus apartments I found on various sites, and they responded almost immediately with advice and feedback, which saved us time and headaches in our search,” says Keenum.
Loftey can also push landlords and managers for rent reductions for its customers as well — as much as $25 to $200 monthly. However, in some cases, if ownership isn’t willing to budge on rent, Goldman adds, “Loftey will literally write you a check.”
Need temporary housing? Try a furnished rental
The flex-rental market is booming: Multiple companies — including Zeus, Blueground and Landing — have sprung up touting short-term, furnished units that cater to those with wonky schedules or business travelers on extended stays.
The turnkey living spaces, often with hotel-like services or amenities, are available for more than a few days but less than a year. A furnished studio in Murray Hill secured through Zeus became home base for one month for Genevieve Brown, 32, her husband and two cats between vacating a rental in Harlem and moving into a purchased co-op in Chelsea. With their possessions in storage, Brown says they chose the studio, which had kitchenware, bedding and towels and cost about $3,000, for commuting convenience.
“A comfort that I found is that it felt more like a person’s apartment than a hotel,” she adds.
Landing has apartments with on-call concierge service ready for occupancy in cities across the US including NYC, Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas. Alex Chatzieleftheriou launched Blueground, now in 12 cities, to “find an apartment in a great neighborhood, book it that day and move in tomorrow.”
Get out of paying a pricey security deposit
For renters lamenting the hassle — not to mention upfront cost — of paying a traditional security deposit, Rhino offers a solution.
Launched in 2017, Rhino replaces cash security deposits with low-cost insurance. The program is at no expense to building owners or management companies.
Rhino charges renters a modest monthly fee proportional to their rent or the value of the cash deposit, and can be as low as $5 a month for a space that rents for $1,000. “Housing affordability is an issue impacting New Yorkers and Americans of all economic circumstances,” says Jordan Stein, head of public policy for the brand.
Stein says renters constantly approach Rhino about avoiding the hefty security deposit on their apartments. One such customer is Greg Coleman, 23, a recent college graduate who used Rhino in 2018 when preparing to sign the lease for the three-bedroom apartment in Ditmas Park he now shares with two roommates. In lieu of forking over the $3,300 required to secure the apartment, they used Rhino to save thousands.
”If we had to come up with that money and scrape it together, we would’ve gone into further debt on top of our student loans,” says Coleman, who used the savings to buy furniture. In fact, Coleman was so smitten with the model that he now works for Rhino.
Outsource moving day from start to finish
No matter how you slice it, moving in New York City is a downright drag. Small, crucial details — like elevator access and permissions in unfamiliar buildings — can easily trip up the most well-planned relocations.
One New York City-based service, Moved aims to alleviate the stress by acting as a concierge service that helps you book qualified movers, order packing materials, hire painters, forward mail and more. The site is structured so that you can easily get a quote for moving your belongings, though it’s best to request one at least a month in advance for Big Apple relocations and two months for longer-distance ones.
“Our system syncs up with the software of moving companies,” says Justin Brasington, head of marketing for the site, “so you’ll typically get four to eight quotes from vetted moving professionals. You can see quotes, reviews and then book the mover of your choice.”
An additional benefit is seven-day-a-week text access to Moved’s online concierge team. It’s all free — Moved makes money by taking cuts from partner programs or services its customers end up using.
Buy and sell used (but still cool) furniture online
Whether you need to outfit new digs or part with a couch to make space, Kaiyo is a way to up your furniture buying or selling game. Originally known as Furnishare, Kaiyo rebranded last year as a free online marketplace for pre-loved, high-quality brands for less.
Real estate agent Erica Keberle, 39, stumbled upon Kaiyo in 2016 and has since bought and sold 50 items on the site. It’s a treasure trove of wares for her Crown Heights apartment as well as her other business staging for-sale properties.
Kaiyo operates on a consignment model, so sellers can even make some cash while purging their clutter. The company vets every item submitted within one business day — great for folks looking to shuck furniture in a hurry.
“Kaiyo . . . makes it easier than Craigslist to furnish or update your space,” adds Keberle, who is especially proud of the Red Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld she scored.
Found a new spot — but the dining room table won’t fit?
“Unless it’s an heirloom, sell it and use the money for an island or bar stools,” says Kaiyo fan and Tapiro Realty agent Krystle Nicole Hampton. “I tell clients, ‘This is the fifth apartment you’ve seen. If you lose the table, your search will be over.’ ”
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