There are several things to keep in mind when you are looking for an apartment:
Regarding the timing:
I know you will want to find something as soon as possible, but calm, because looking for a long time in advance is not the best idea. The ads that you will find are the majority to start living next month. That is to say, if you are looking for November, the idea is to move in December, if you are looking for December start living in January, and so on … So, if I were you, it would start in mid December, January. If you are looking for something to book in advance, go to a bedly or a residence, both can be booked in advance and from your country.
in some apartments you will find utilities included, or utilities not included, this is basically the monthly expenses of hot water, heating, electricity, wifi, etc … Those are the utilities and sometimes they do not include it … Always ask when it is not included , how much they would charge you.
there are a number of things that they ask you when you rent an apartment for the first time. My advice is to look for flats that do not have these complications, that is, how many fewer agents that measure better, because it is the more requirements they ask for.
it is a fee charged by the real estate agent of a flats agency, for doing the procedure. This rate is a lot, like 25% of what it would cost you the total stay. It is a lot of money, so if you can avoid brokers better, because there are websites where you find flats that do not ask for it.
this will be in almost all options, whether residence, apartment … It is usually what it costs a month, you pay at the beginning and they will return it to you once you leave. Or it is used to pay the last month of the stay, depends on the conditions.
this concept you will appear in many ads. When they say: credit history check, they mean that to rent that apartment it is necessary that they check your credit history. What is this? Well this is something that we do not have basically … When a person lives in the USA and works there, it generates a series of receipts, accounts, bank statements, etc … which is what is called credit history, and what they use to know that you are a person to trust in and pay your debts on time. As you are students and also you have not previously lived there, you do not have it, as I do not. So this requirement is a bit complicated.
As an option to the credit history, sometimes they ask you that your salary is 40 times more than the apartment price total per year. This is also complicated, so they ask you for a guarantoor, it is a person who has to be American and who supports you, serves those who rent to know that you are reliable.
It is important that you avoid these 3 concepts: broker fee, credit history and guarantoor. The first to save money, and the other two because you do not complicate life. The broker fee is to pay more money, if the floor you like a lot and compensates you, you could accept to pay this fee, but if you avoid it better!
Another important concept is the sublet:
If you are coming for less than a year, it is what is called a short term lease. For these stays there are many sublets, which are like rents, where people who have a rent for 3 years, leaves for 6 months somewhere else, and decides to re-rent his flat those 6 months. That’s why the good thing is that for the short term sublets, they do not usually ask for so many requirements, because sometimes there is not even an intermediary, it is a person who wants to re-rent his flat for a certain time.
But don’t stress out!!! Everyone at the end finds a place! And here you have some webpages to make your life much easier:
Facebook groups: Undoubtedly for me the best … They are groups in which people hang their offers such us: I rent a room in this site for ‘X’ time. The good thing is that you can see the profile of the person who rents it, etc … The best thing is to write a post describing what you are looking for, with your budget, priority location (manhattan, Brooklyn …), rental time, etc. People who have something that can fit you will write you directly through FB and that’s it. The best and most active is Gypsy housing NYC.
At first it seems complicated but it’s worth it! Once you’re settled you feel like you’re in a neighborhood even if the city is so big!