2. Bid on more than one apartment at once—
and tell everyone involved. Let sellers fight over you.
3. Take sloppy seconds.
If a previous deal falls apart, the seller might be ready to compromise. (So even if you lose out the first go-round, always check back.)
4. Look for motivated sellers.
Are moving boxes piled up in a corner? A crib in the dining room? Ask outright if they need to move out quickly, then bid at least 10 percent off asking.
5. Buy a starter apartment.
Studios and one-bedrooms are particularly vulnerable to a flattening market—they represent nearly a quarter of what’s currently available.
6. Be a vulture.
Go to NYforeclosures.com or PropertyShark.com to find homes about to go into foreclosure. Approach the owner directly before the bank swoops in. Proceed carefully.
7. Use Web tools to comparison-shop.
On Trulia.com, you can see all the properties for sale in one building or on a particular block. Streeteasy.com breaks costs down on a per-square-foot basis, so you can easily compare similar apartments by price.