Finding a Beautiful (and affordable)Apartment in NYC

“How do I find an apartment like yours?” is something I get asked on the daily. Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you can easily find a beautiful well preserved pre-war apartment if you know where to look. The bad news is that rent stabilized apartments are hard, but not quite impossible to find!

To give you a quick rundown on rent stabilization:

There are around 1 million rent stabilized apartments in the city, but they are hard to find for a few reasons; 1.) they are often not advertised as rent stabilized on sites such on StreetEasy 2. There are over 60,000 rent stabilized apartments sitting vacant, as landlords are holding them for “ransom”, more information on that here 3.) tenants in rent stabilized apartments are unlikely to give them up. That being said, if you are lucky enough to find one, lock it down! Rent stabilized apartments are found in some buildings built before 1974 that have 6 or more units. If you have a rent stabilized apartment, you are protected from rental increases (mine can go up 1-2.5% per lease renewal). Anyone, regardless of income is able to move into a rent stabilized apartment.

How to find a rent stabilized apartment?

  • Use this guideline
  • to find out if a unit is stabilized, use this website
  • specific neighborhoods like Washington Heights, Inwood and Crown Heights, they contain the most (but not all) of rent stabilized units.
  • Use the advanced search option on StreetEasy and type “rent-stabilized” into the description field:

Onto finding something PRETTY… if you’re on my website, chances are we have similar tastes. If you’re looking for floor to ceiling windows in a new-build skyscraper, you’ve come to the wrong place! If you’re looking for old-world charm, pre-war details and Parisian-inspried architecture, I can definitely help you out!

The first thing you’re going to do is utilize that advanced search feature on StreetEasy. You may want to limit your search to certain neighborhoods where you’re sure to find well-preserved apartments such as the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Upper East Side, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Heights, West Village, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, to name a few (don’t expect to find something rent stabilized in all of these neighborhoods though).

Next, enter keywords into the description for features you want. If you’re not getting results, delete them. Many apartment listings don’t include proper keywords in their descriptions.

Under property types, select only prewar buildings and exclude new developments. Prewar buildings were constructed pre WWII.

Lastly, utilize the listing and building amenities filters. Check whatever boxes apply to you, if it were me, I would check the box for fireplace, even if it’s non-functioning! However, remember you can easily install a mantel (more info on that here) so perhaps a fireplace isn’t so important after all!

*a note* Many rent stabilized apartments are in areas of the city that have yet to be gentrified. Let’s keep them that way, just be aware of this 🙂

Happy apartment hunting!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more NYC tips!


  1. Sonja wrote:

    This is so interesting. Thank you for your generosity in sharing.

    Posted 6.23.21
    • admin wrote:

      Of course, gotta share the knowledge. Thank you for reading!

      Posted 6.30.21

Comments are closed.