1. Use a broker; if you want to find yourself in a nice town house or walk up this is really your only route. It’s a scam but it’s how it’s done in the market. Apartments through brokers go extremely fast so you better be ready to sign the paperwork same day...it’s not like most areas of the country where you can go view 15 places in a week and then decide.
2. Focus solely on “luxury” apartments/condos that have their own in house leasing office. This process is a little more laid back but comparatively you’re gonna pay more for what you get unless you use the amenities to the max. Based on your TC this is what I would recommend, you can afford it and it’s a lot less hectic.
No issues with maintaining out of state license. I lived in both NYC and Jersey City over two years and never got rid of my MD license.
Given your timeline I would work over the phone with high rises. What areas of the city are you interested in?