Picture this:

You just graduated from Saint Joe’s and you’re thinking about the next step in life.  What job will you land?  Where will you look?  Which city will you end up in?  If you’re like many other students at SJU, you may be imagining yourself in the Philadelphia area.  After all, it’s what you’re most familiar with after having spent four great years here.  It’s easy to default to Philly—but I’d like to explain why it’s an ideal time to consider moving to New York City instead.

Growing up in northern New Jersey just outside of NYC, I spent most of my life taking frequent trips into America’s most highly populated city.  I grew to love everything New York had to offer- the food, the culture, the art, the excitement around every corner.  I vowed to do everything I could to one day join that large population and become a New Yorker myself.  Now, I’m aware it won’t be easy to find an apartment in an area I like that also happens to be within my budget. I’m only a sophomore, so I still have some time to figure it out—But I wish I were able to capitalize on the window of opportunity open right now due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Since I can’t, I decided I would tell the Saint Joe’s community (and alumni who have recently graduated) why they should definitely consider moving to New York City in the near future.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020, over 333,000 New York City residents have left the city to move to other states, leaving room for city-lovers with lower incomes to take their places. Because these moves have resulted in large income loss, it may take some time for NYC to recover.  For the next few years, the city will have to adapt to its changing demographics, which may very likely mean lower rent and housing prices, as well as the replacement of some high-end stores with more affordable brands.  In fact, vacancies have already increased and rent has already dropped in certain areas. Those moving in, many of whom are college students or recent grads, are getting amazing deals on housing as well as generous concessions from landlords given the competitiveness of the marketplace. If there was ever a time for a young adult starting out their career to move to New York City, it would be now.

Of course, I’d never advise taking this on blindly.  I want to make sure that if an SJU Hawk decides to build a nest in NYC based on my advice, they are making an informed decision.  That’s why I want to point out a few things you should consider beforehand:

  1. It can be difficult to qualify for a rental.  You’ll have to have a good credit score as well as a decent salary and security deposit upfront, and maybe even a guarantor.
  2. It’s likely that you’ll need to have roommates.  This may require setting ground rules and making sure everyone is aware of their financial responsibilities.
  3. You can’t start your apartment search too early- landlords move fast.  Also, many apartments come with a broker’s fee, even if you don’t use a broker—But I recommend considering hiring one if you’re able to.
  4. You should do your research about the different neighborhoods, transportation and expected expenses to make sure you know what you’re getting into.

If you have your heart set on this move even after having considered these things, your next step is to begin developing a move-in plan.  During the pandemic or any time afterwards, it is important that you detail exactly how you plan to settle into a new place, and especially into a city like New York (or even Philly, for those Hawks who aren’t ready to leave home just yet).  I want to leave you with some tips and advice that may help with the big move:

  1. Book a UHaul as far in advance as possible.  You might get a lower rate, but even if you don’t, it’s better to make sure you secure your spot, as these go fast during busy times.
  2. If you’re from a surrounding area (which many of the students at SJU are), you should definitely try to hire someone from where you’re from over using a New York-based moving service.
  3. Make sure you’re aware of your building’s move-in policies ahead of time.  You don’t want to end up disturbing your neighbors during quiet hours before you’ve even arrived.

And most importantly:

4. If a moving service asks for the entire sum of the move upfront, you should assume it is a moving scam, and find a different company.

Even if you aren’t able to move to New York just yet or you anticipate arriving after the country has recovered from the pandemic, don’t stress.  If you really aspire to live in the city and work hard to make it happen, you’ll end up there some way or another.  At least, I hope so.  That’s what I tell myself…

Good luck to the class of 2021!

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