So, Your Child is Moving to NYC? Some Sage Advice to Save Your Sanity!

kid bridgeYes, New York is the most amazing city in the world. And don’t let those astronomers tell you otherwise, it IS the center of the universe. But for many parents facing the last step of empty nest syndrome, the scariest words they can hear from their children’s mouths are “I’m moving to New York City.”

But take heart. Your child WILL indeed be living in the center of the universe surrounded by the best people on Earth. And even better? They will need Mommy and Daddy more than ever. That’s right! If you were one of those parents shocked to discover that you became MORE relevant in your kid’s life when they went from high school to college, just WAIT until they try renting an apartment in New York!

Just be in full acceptance on these three facts and you will be fine:

1) Your child is going to be fine.
2) The paperwork is insane.
3) If your kid is making less than $70k, it’s gonna cost you some money.

After a childhood in Winnetka, Illinois, I left Chicago when I was 25 years old and moved to Manhattan with no friends, no job and no apartment. It remains to this day the most thrilling thing I have ever done. My father was excited for me. My mother was in Hell. “I cried for three days straight,” she tells me as if it happened last week. “I had to leave a luncheon early on day two because I couldn’t stop crying.”

The year was 1992. There were 2,020 homicides in New York that year compared to the 290 that happened in 2017. The fourth-story, one-bedroom apartment I rented (to share) on 19th Street and First Avenue for $850 a month now goes for $2,600 a month. And I was able to rent that apartment with zero credit history and no guarantor. So if your child making less than $70k is moving to NYC and you don’t know what a “guarantor” is, read on, because you’re about to BECOME one!

The city has gotten safer, cleaner and infinitely more complicated. But the complications are necessary. As a Manhattan Real Estate Agent, I am all too aware of the New York State and City laws that favor deadbeat tenants, so I fully understand and respect the heavy precautions that NYC landlords must take to avoid falling prey to a non-paying tenant who is all too happy to ride out more than a year of eviction notices and court appearances. And let’s be honest here. Do you really want your child living next door to such a person? Barriers to entry exist for a reason!

Back in the good ol’ grungy nineties, NYC landlords just wanted you to say that you had “a job.” Some landlords would call to check that you were telling the truth, others wouldn’t bother. As the sole person charged with answering the phones at my place of employment in 1992, I can confirm that mine fell into the latter category. Today, most want you to have a FICO score north of 700, a gross salary at least forty times the monthly rent and zero history of legal trouble with any previous landlord. Any and all deviations from this new normal can be forgiven with the support of a qualified guarantor who has excellent credit, makes eighty times the rent, and is willing to co-sign the lease. There’s no rule that says the guarantor HAS to be a parent, but in most cases involving young people in New York City, the person assuming liability is usually Mom, Dad or another relative willing to risk the cash.

They say that all happy families are alike. In that case, NYC Landlords must be unhappy families. Because none of them are alike. Some require the guarantor to be from the Tri-State area, others are cool with any of the 50 states, while a select minority refuse to partake in the process altogether. I’m not writing this blog for my health, so here’s this week’s dose of self-serving advice: Get a Real Estate Agent, ensure that you have their best attention by promising to work with them exclusively, and rely on them to steer you to the landlord who will be most accommodating to your special circumstances. If you’re a guarantor with no income, horrendous credit due to bankruptcy and TONS of cash (happens more often than you would think), then you need that special landlord who can overlook anything in the face of one year’s rent paid upfront. Ask your agent, we ALL know who they are! And if yours’ doesn’t, call me!

Above all else, don’t get yourself all hung up on what “should” make sense. In fact, as you help your child find a home in New York, you can help yourself by temporarily removing the word “should” from your vocabulary. You know that phrase “When in Rome?” Yeah, it’s time to adopt THAT mentality.

Every parent wants their child to live a privileged life. Well, in my humble opinion, there is no greater privilege than living in New York. And if you’re anything like my parents, you’ve no doubt informed your children on numerous occasions that all privileges must be earned. And with a privilege as massive as NYC Residency, it’s often a team effort. So just be grateful your kid is up to the challenge and get your paperwork in order!

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