I had three days to find my apartment in LA. The best advice I can give is to reach out to everyone you know to find out which areas are best. Ask family members, friends, friends of friends, Google, anyone who has lived in the general area. My mother’s friend’s daughter told me of Sherman Oaks (a place I didn’t even know existed), and low and behold, that’s where I found my apartment. She said it was very up and coming, lots of great restaurants, affordable, clean, etc. etc. She was spot on. I lived on Dickens Street, and as far as I’m concerned it’s the best street to live on in “the soaks.” Craigslist is great for finding listings. Also try Zillow. Buy yourself a map of the city and download an app with a picture of it so you can learn the grid. I never grew up knowing the importance of North, South, East, and West until living in the city and it is a must!
For NYC I reached out on Facebook to see if anyone knew of any open sublets the month I needed to move. Subletting is huge in this city. I had no idea where I wanted to be and quite honestly the process of signing a lease in Manhattan is much more difficult than LA. A lot of times there are brokers fees. Avoid this at all costs. It’s tough, but again, sublet until you can find the right deal for you. Craigslist and word of mouth are your best bet. Get to know Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Astoria, Queens. Each area is so diverse. Get to know the subway lines and which ones you like best. This will all help in deciding where you want to end up. I would give yourself at least a month to feel it all out. And again, buy a map of the city and download the subway maps onto your phone to get around easier.
It won’t always be easy, that’s for sure. Be prepared for bad landlords, roommates that will bail on you, car accidents at the least appropriate times, stress, being stuck in traffic for something really important, sublets that don’t work out, loss of a job, miserable people, annoying neighbors, anxiety, it will happen! The important thing is that you MAKE THE COMEBACK. Don’t let any of it stop you, because you will get through it, you really will. Those things have all happened to me, and I can honestly say, they got me right where I was supposed to be, no question. Breathe and applaud yourself. Moving to a big city is tough, but it’ll all make you tougher 😉