Strategies for finding a low-cost apartment in a downtown area include not using a broker, searching by walking the streets of your desired area, asking supers directly and settling for an undesired view, states TimeOut New York. All these strategies require time and patience, but they can be worth it.
Other strategies include looking for units in larger buildings, which in some cities have regulated rents, asking about apartments that may have reduced rents because of inconveniences such as noise or condition, searching for low-key areas in specific neighborhoods, and moving in during the winter, when units move slower, according to TimeOut New York. Some renters swear by the personal-contact strategy: quizzing doormen about condos that are going to be rented by individual owners and leaving information for unit owners who may be eager to rent quickly. Such a strategy also helps avoid the cost of a real estate broker fee, which in major cities can be costly.
A different strategy for keeping the rent low when searching in a desired area or in markets with very low vacancy rates, such as Manhattan, is to consider living with a roommate, according to Brick Underground. For potential renters who do not yet have a roommate, many organizations offer mixers for people searching for roommates, often as a promotion at no charge.