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Hidden Costs of Moving in Manhattan: What No One Tells You

A walk around Central Park, an inspiring visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or perhaps a mesmerizing night at a Broadway show – these are the experiences that draw many to Manhattan. This pulsating borough offers a unique blend of the historic and the contemporary, the bustling and the serene. But the excitement of living here comes with hidden costs that go beyond the expected high rent and general cost of living. Let’s dig deeper to understand these unanticipated expenses when moving in Manhattan.

The True Picture of Renting in Manhattan

Renting a place to live in Manhattan is more than just paying monthly rent. It’s a process riddled with unexpected costs.

Broker Fees

If you’ve rented in other cities, you might be used to landlords footing the bill for broker fees. In Manhattan, however, this norm flips. Tenants often shell out broker fees, which can range from 12% to 15% of the annual rent. Imagine finding a cozy apartment renting for $3,000 a month. The broker’s fee for such an apartment could cost you an eye-popping $5,400 to $5,800.

Renter’s Insurance

renter insurance in manhattan

Manhattan landlords often require tenants to carry renter’s insurance. This insurance typically covers personal property losses due to theft or damage and liability if someone gets hurt in your apartment. On average, renters in New York spend approximately $200 a year on insurance, according to data from Lemonade, an insurance provider.

Security Deposit

Almost all landlords will ask for a security deposit. In Manhattan, this usually equates to one month’s rent, which can be substantial, especially if you’ve just paid a steep broker’s fee.

The Extra Mile: Moving Costs

Securing your dream apartment is just the beginning. Moving in Manhattan opens up a new set of expenses.

Professional Movers

moving in manhattan

Navigating through Manhattan’s busy streets with a truckload of belongings is challenging. You may want to hire professional movers, which in Manhattan, can be costly. Prices vary significantly depending on the size of your move and distance, but on average, anticipate spending around $1,000 or more. Dyno Moving, a well-known moving company based in Manhattan, estimates a one-bedroom local move to cost between $500 and $1,000.

Moving Supplies

Preparing for your move involves gathering packing supplies. Cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, packing paper, markers for labeling – these costs add up. You can minimize this cost by collecting free boxes from local businesses or friends, but you’ll likely need to purchase some packing materials.

Large Item Handling

Maneuvering large items like a grand piano or bulky furniture can pose a significant challenge, particularly given Manhattan’s often narrow and steep stairways. This is a task that requires expert handling, ensuring the safety of the item and your new Manhattan home.

The Underestimated Costs of Settling In

Once you’ve moved, further unexpected costs can crop up as you settle in Manhattan.

Storage Units

storage in manhattan

Manhattan apartments aren’t exactly known for generous storage space. If you find your belongings exceeding your apartment’s capacity, you may need a storage unit. Depending on the size, some storage companies charge anywhere between $29 to $749 per month.


Living in a historic, charming building can have its downside – high utility bills. Older buildings can be inefficient when it comes to heating and cooling, leading to higher electricity bills, particularly during the winter and summer months.


It’s important to note that not every apartment features in-unit laundry facilities. This absence may lead to additional expenditures on laundromat services or pick-up and drop-off laundry amenities. These services, while convenient, often come at a higher cost compared to doing laundry at home.

Lifestyle Adjustment Costs: The Reality of Living in Manhattan

Even after you’ve settled in, the costs of living in Manhattan can catch you by surprise.


nyc metrocard

Sure, you’re likely saving on car-related expenses, but public transportation isn’t free. A monthly MetroCard for unlimited subway and bus rides costs $127. Plus, if you sometimes rely on taxis or rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, the costs will accumulate.

Groceries and Dining

Basic groceries in Manhattan can cost significantly more than the national average. A study by the Council for Community and Economic Research found that groceries in Manhattan cost 49% more than the national average. And dining out? Expect to pay more for that luxury too.


Manhattan is synonymous with top-notch entertainment, but these experiences come with a price tag. Broadway shows, concerts, museums, and other cultural experiences typically cost more than you’d pay in other cities.

Facing the Costs Head-On

Manhattan’s hidden moving costs might seem overwhelming, but with proper planning and realistic budgeting, you can navigate through them. Keep in mind that the higher cost often comes with a higher standard of living. After all, Manhattan is a vibrant, thriving borough like no other. Its cultural richness, unique opportunities, and unparalleled lifestyle are things you won’t find anywhere else.

Even with these costs, life in Manhattan offers a unique, unmatched experience. So don’t let these hidden costs deter you. Instead, see them as an integral part of your Manhattan adventure. Embrace the thrill of it all, and get ready for the ride of your life!

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