When I started The Search I thought that New York was a continuous moving in city, inasmuch as it is common to meet people who move frequently. So even though it can be difficult to believe, since it was for me, it is convenient to approach the issue with some relativity and realizing that this search is part of the experience.
In my case, I decided to come to the city a week before starting to work, due to I wanted to get rid, as much as possible, of paperwork (Phone number, Check-in arrival, SSN…) and being able to fully spend 4 or 5 days to find the apartment. I did some research on the internet from Spain of prices, supply and demand for the different areas I was interested in, taking into account that I preferred to meet the future roommates before definitely moving in. I stayed the first 10-days at an AirB&B apartment, to search somewhere else were I would be comfortable for a long term commitment. As I had been a couple of times before in New York, I had already located the areas I wanted to live, considering the budget, the commuter and (as Leño’s song says) ways of living.
At first, it feels kind of a pressure for finding a place to call home and free you up to be able to spend your spare time for exploring and discovering the city. For me, it was a way to meet American people, in addition to have a first-hand experience of different ways of living, some of them more adjusted than others to what I was looking for.
I made the search by different channels at once, mainly by internet (craiglist, easyroomate and homie among others). Another option which pays off is getting in touch with people who offer vacational rentals at AirB&B; sometimes they are willing to agree a long-term rental adjusting the price. Other resource which is also helpful is to take a look to notices on boards at universities, bookstores, even at sports centers.
To find the type of rent that suits you better is important to know the different options available. The most common are the Rental Agreement, and the Sublet. The first one is more official, as you have a contract in terms of permanency. However, in many cases they require some economic solvency conditions which are difficult to fulfill as foreigner. The second one is also an agreement but with the landlord, or the person who the rental is in his or her name. Although it may seem strange, the sublet used to work quite good for those of us who arrive as newbies.
I sent dozens of e-mails and phone calls during the first days to schedule several visits. Finally, after many writing, calling and walking the city, I found the apartment that I was looking for at Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg. I share it with two American roommates whom have helped me a lot to feel integrated into the American society. I am sure that having a proactive attitude and a little bit of luck can make the whole difference.