Tips For Renting in Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City
By: David Roushdy
Why rent there?
Hoboken and downtown Jersey City have become very popular options for people looking for an easy commute into New York City. There are a number of reasons why you might consider living outside of New York City. First and foremost, the cost of living in Hoboken or Jersey City will be significantly lower than in New York City. In terms of rent prices, you’ll find a much better bang for your buck. For any given rental unit, whether its a studio or a three bedroom, for the same price in Hoboken or Jersey City you will get more space, more amenities and higher quality finishes/upgrades. Not to mention lower prices on groceries, dining, shopping, entertainment, etc.
On top of the lower cost of living, Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City are very desirable areas due to the ease of access to New York City. This will allow you to move quickly once you find a suitable rental and increase your chances of getting accepted. Hoboken has one path station located at the very southern point of the city, while Jersey City has three stations: Newport, Grove St, and Exchange Place. (Path Map Below)
Hoboken Vs Downtown Jersey City
While they both offer the benefits of a cheaper cost of living than NYC, and an easy commute, there are some characteristics that distinguish living in Jersey City and Hoboken. In Hoboken you’ll find most restaurants and stores concentrated on Washington St. There is more of a nightlife scene in Hoboken compared to Jersey City, and it’s generally a bit livelier. Meanwhile Jersey City is a bit quieter and less densely populated. Stores and restaurants are spread out across Newport, Grove, and Paulas hook sections. Traffic will be less than ideal in both cities, but usually worse in Hoboken due to the cities denser layout. Long story short, if you’re looking for the calmer, quitter option, Jersey City is probably best. If you enjoy going out more and the hustle and bustle of city life, Hoboken might be more for you.
Things to Consider Before Starting Your Search
Before you begin searching for your next rental, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of exactly what you’re looking for. Here are a few things to consider:
This one seems obvious, but its very important that you come up with a realistic budget, and your budget should be based on a few factors. In general, landlords will look for your gross income to be 2.5 -3x the rent. The higher the better your chances of being accepted. You can get a good idea for what your particular budget will get you by looking on sites like Zillow, Apartments.com, and Streeteasy.
Consider the following items when coming up with your budget:
Location (mainly distance from the nearest Path Station)
Condition of the unit (does it have hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, updated finishes, etc.)
It’s not uncommon for some units to receive offers to pay higher than what’s listed. If you come across a rental posting that fits all your criteria and is listed at a reasonable price, consider offering to pay a slightly higher rent to help your chances of getting accepted and beating out the competition.
Building or Brownstone?
There are 3 main types of rentals you’ll find in Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City:
Apartments in a Brown Stone residential property
Condos in larger apartment buildings which are privately owned and being rented directly by the owner
Apartments in amenity buildings which are rent-only and managed by a management company
In Hoboken you’ll find fewer large apartment buildings and more brown stone residential units. In downtown Jersey City you’ll find a lot more high-rise apartment buildings than in Hoboken. These buildings generally feature some amenities such as 24 hr concierge, fitness centers, lounges, and on-site parking. Keep in mind that these buildings can sometimes charge an amenity fee and are usually more costly. This is because they tend to be newer units in newer buildings. They’ll tend to have central air while with many brownstone units you’ll rely on window units for A/C. Occasionally some larger managed apartment building will offer incentives to fill vacant units such as free rent. This is less common with private landlords. Narrowing down your wants and needs before starting you search will save you time and allow you
Applications and Fees
Once you find a place you like and you’re ready to apply, work with your real estate agent to learn what the process is for applying and what document you’ll need to apply. If you don’t have a realtor, we have realtors in the Jersey City and Hoboken area that helped write this article and help clients beat out the competition to find their home quite often! Some buildings or landlords might have their own application requirements, but typically you’ll need the following items to apply:
2 months of recent paystubs
In terms of fees, expect to pay 1 month of rent as a broker fee. In some instances, the landlord may split the broker fee with you, and you’ll only need to pay a half months. If you are renting directly from a property owner and no realtor is involved, you may not need to pay a broker fee at all. You should be prepared to pay up to 3.5x rent upfront, this will include your first rent payment, the broker fee, and a 1.5 month security deposit.
Once you decide that you want to live in Hoboken or Jersey City, make your lists of wants and needs in a rental, determine an appropriate budget, and start searching for listing online that fit your needs. If you have any questions about renting or need help in your search, feel free to reach out to myself or anyone on the Tverdov Housing Team and we’ll be happy to help!