Finding an apartment in New York City can be a daunting process. In today's tight real estate market, stories abound about apartment hunters seeing scores of units before finding a suitable one, only to be outbid by a prospective tenant with check in hand. It is also common to hear anecdotes about unbelievable deals on centrally-placed apartments found simply by word-of-mouth. How do apartment hunters actually find a place to live in New York City? Check out our Top Ten List to see the most common ways New Yorkers find apartments.

Ways to Find an Apartment

1: Brokers One of the most common methods of finding an apartment in New York City is using a real estate broker. If you know what neighborhood you want to live in, it's usually best to find a broker based there. Many brokers also have Web sites where you can view available apartments, sometimes even with photos and detailed descriptions.

2: Word-of-Mouth There is good news for those who would prefer not to pay hefty brokers' fees: a substantial number of New Yorkers find their units by word-of-mouth, mostly from friends, relatives, and co-workers. If you're looking for an apartment, make sure everyone you know knows that you're looking.

3: Classified Ads The third most common method used by recent movers is a classic: the classified ad. Movers cite using the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Daily News, local or community papers, and Newsday. Foreign-language or ethnic newspapers, such as El Diario and the Jewish Press, are also a good source of classified ads. Many newspapers now post their classified ads online, so make sure to check out the Web sites of local papers and online message boards like

4: Walking Around A small but notable percentage of movers find their apartment when they simply see a "For Rent" sign. It can pay to walk around the neighborhood you want to live in and look around.

5: Housing Office If you're living here for professional or educational reasons, don't neglect your organization's housing office or service. They know what you often don't about renting in New York City and it's their job to help you find a great new apartment.

6: Apartment Referral Service Referral services are a growing resource that savvy hunters, especially those who are comfortable searching on the Internet, should not neglect. For a monthly fee these services will provide you with a list of no-fee apartment rentals as they become available.

7: Finding a Vacant Apartment in Same Building Other movers find their apartments in the same building in which they already live. Be proactive and talk to neighbors, doormen, supers, landlords, and/or your management company to see if another apartment is available in the same building.

8: Going on Waiting Lists Affordable housing is often offered through waiting lists or application lotteries. If you have time before you need to move, put your name on waiting lists and/or fill out applications for affordable housing through the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), or the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA).

9: Community Groups You may occasionally find housing through local government offices or community groups that keep information on neighborhood housing notices.

10: Apartment Guides Lastly, don't forget to rely on resources like our Apartment Guide. These general references provide information about leases and other housing issues.