My experiences with trying to guide and educate my clients in finding a new apartment in NYC/Brooklyn has inspired me to share a few things that must be understood before undergoing an NYC apartment search and working with a broker.
It can be stressful and sort of a struggle for both parties if things aren’t put directly out on the table from the start of the working relationship.
First thing I would like to share is that the NO FEE season is over! I mean, don’t get me wrong there may be a few here and there (for more of the pricier rentals) but for the most part there are no landlords/management companies offering incentives because we have officially started our peak season.
This means rents will increase and this will make it tougher for those of you who are looking to avoid the extra fees working with a broker. So, if you are looking to rent in the coming months and choose to work with a broker, I am giving you some advice to keep in mind:
1) Broker’s fee – You most likely will have to pay this on your end just the same as when you hire anyone else for their services. It could be anywhere in between 8.3% – 15% of the annual rent. The justification of what we charge is simply the same as when you go to the doctor or restaurant and get your bill. You are paying for a service. A client of mine actually couldn’t have said it better: “You don’t have to avoid brokers, you just have to find a good one”.
2) Know exactly what you want – What’s most important to you about the new apartment you are looking for? Explain to your broker everything that matters most about what you want and prioritize them.
This is because you may NOT get everything on your list so sacrificing a few things to make it work may arise. Let’s say for instance, you have a budget of $2300 maximum for a one bedroom on the UES.
You tell me that you need space but want to be in the 60s – 80s near the train. Well, we could definitely keep you on the east side of town but we would have to take the search further uptown because you will not find spacious one bedrooms on the UES near the trains.
But you may have a better shot at being close to the trains and having more space in East Harlem. Note: This information about the market is something we as agents know off hand which cuts so much time on your part in finding what you are looking for.
Otherwise, this is what you will figure out on your own if you took time off to execute your own search.
3) Be completely transparent– Be open about anything and everything with your broker. This includes anything that may hinder you from getting an approved application. Including your financial situation; credit status plus, delinquencies that you are aware of; any past landlord tenant disputes; or even the location of your guarantor. Also, if you’ve already started your search prior to reaching out to an agent, let them know that you have and share which apartments you’ve seen.
4) Have required paperwork readily available – This is key in getting that one apartment you walk into and know right away that this is where you want to be. When it comes to inventory in the New York City market units move fast. I would say that by your second appointment out with you broker (at this point, you should feel confident or have decided whether you want to continue working with that particular broker) you should have sent them all necessary paperwork that will be needed to submit to landlords in order to be prepared to submit an application on the spot if need be.
I do understand the process can be seemingly intrusive and ask a lot from you but you must realize that landlords need to make a business decision about whether you will be a good tenant and pay your rent on time – so this is necessary.
4) Trust & Relax – If you choose to work with a broker then that means to some degree you have to trust that we are going to do whatever it takes to make you happy. We represent you as the tenant agent and we are responsible for advocating on your behalf. Also, remember we have fiduciary rights to uphold to you (See my first column, “Are We Really that Bad?”). Our goal is to make this grueling process as stress free as possible.
I wanted to share this mainly to stress the understanding that this market is no joke to figure out on your own especially, during the peak season and if you want to take the time to do so…then by all means; but it will take a lot of time! Do you really have that time?
I would rather you not sweat, stress and run around in circles…
…This is why we are here for you. 🙂