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Talk » Rentals » Discussing 'Brokers - why do they deserve 15%?'

Brokers - why do they deserve 15%?

I'm curious... I'm working with a broker to find an apt and they don't send me any listings that I haven't already found on StreetEasy. How do they deserve the 15% of a year's rent?

I know, based on my own research of SE rental listings, that this is a troll post. But I'll give my opinion.

Information: Brokers have the most up to date information on what's available.

Access: I can't tell you how many clients who try to go direct can't get appointments, don't get their calls returned; wait for hours in management company offices. Landlords don't want to deal with the public because they can't be sure what they're getting. That's why they give their listings to the broker community. They want applicants who have been pre-screened. A broker matches clients with the landlord who fits the clients own financial situation.

Lastly, a streamlined search. You come to me with your criteria for an apartment; I can find you what you're looking for. If you told me what you want, who cares if it only takes an afternoon to find it? I found what you were looking for but couldn't find all those days you were knocking on doors trying to do it yourself.

Scott K
Bond New York

If you want to go the route that it may only take you a few hours and 15% is fair, might as well compare yourself to a waiter. Now when i go to an upscale restaurant I may tip 20% for the service, so in theory I guess 15-20% commission for rent is fair. However the one large difference is that when i tip a waiter I am basing it off of that one meal i just ate, while a broker is asking you to tip on 12 monthly meals all up front. And that is where the true part of the scam plays in. I would never have felt giving over $600 for say a $4000 apartment, however asking me to pay $7200 because i have to pay it off of a $48,000 yearly amount is just ridiculous.

I realize every time i ask this question i get yelled at by the brokers both on the sales side and rent side, but really there is no way to especially defend asking this much of a fee for helping someone fine a rental apartment.

Once again you then are saying that your two hours of time are possibly worth $3500 per hour based on a $48,000 apartment, where the only other person i could think of is maybe a high priced criminal attorney who charges that much.

NYCREAgent: That's got to be the weakest justification for a fee that I've ever seen. Your first two reasons amount to "we've set up a system whereby you cannot successfully rent an apartment without paying such a fee because it is in our self interest to do so" and the last says "having agreed to participate in such a system, we might as well get it over quickly so I can get my fee and you can get your apartment".

None of this defines what value the broker actually adds. In most other cities, it's straightforward to find information on rentals and get in touch with landlords directly. What is the value proposition that a broker is offering over and above the rental market in those other places?

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jim_hones10: The "what the market will bear" argument is usually a strong one, but not in the case of a rigged market where a class of participants colludes to control supply and fix prices. That's why we have anti-trust laws. I'm not saying that rental commissions are necessarily rigged; I honestly don't know. A lot of people would contend that they are, with considerable justification. And if the prices ARE rigged, the fact that consumers pay those prices doesn't prove anything about the validity of the prices themselves.

Given that the national norm is for landlords to pay any rental broker fees -- it amounts to outsourcing of their marketing and administrative functions -- we really need legislation in New York to make it illegal to charge tenants a placement fee, or anything but truly nominal fees of any sort. Such a law exists for job placement services.

It would be nice if owners paid the agents fee(how about 1/2 a months rent?) and agents got to keep 75% of the fee paid. But this fly's in the face of the current model. We need a paradigm shift, the current model is outdated and should be put to sleep by current technology.

I think a well funded firm could easily make such a deal with owners and compensate their agents in the manner I suggest. Our sales model is wildly popular and I am pursuing partners/investors to expand on it. Finding time to do this has been a big issue for me....

Keith Burkhardt (broker)

i never used a broker in manhattan always found everything through word of mouth and once in a random ad in village voice. when we came out to nj i worked with a broker whose daughter i knew from school, she doesn't usually do rentals but did us a favor. i saw about 3 places/day with her for 3 days, only ones she had pre chosen for us. when i asked to visit a few of the ones she had ruled out, they were unacceptable for the very reasons she said. when the house we are renting came on the market, she emailed at like 4 am, saying this was it. we saw it that morning, she browbeat the appropriate parties into a discount from ask, had them put in a new washer and dryer and got us a "paint" allowance subtracted from first month's rent because the walls were ugly and we repainted them. the answer to your question is HELL YES. a good broker is worth their wieght in gold. even at these gold prices.

I'm not usually a fan of brokers, especially with the information that is now available on places like streeteasy, but even I'll admit they can be helpful in certain situations. For people who have lived in NY more than a few years and understand how NY real estate works, what neighborhood they want, etc., I would contend a broker is totally unnecessary. If, however, you are from out-of-state, know nothing about NY real estate or the different neighborhoods, a broker could be extremely helpful. Now, that isn't to say all brokers are helpful - too many of them just shove whatver apartment they have in front of you and expect you to take it. The good ones, however, spend the time to listen to your wants and know the market well enough to be able to find you a perfect apartment. If they can find you the perfect apartment with very little work, that is fine with me - it tells me they are efficient and know the market. Regretably, the percentage of brokers or can or will do that is small.

It reminds me of when I first moved to NY 11 years ago. I told a broker I wanted a 1 bedroom, unfurnished, on the UWS for roughly $2000/month. One broker called and said she had the perfect apartment - it was a studio, beautifully furnished, on the UES for $3800/month. WTF? It was everything I didn't want in an apartment. Later, I did find a broker who listened to what I wanted and found me a great apartment. While the fee seemed a bit steep, I could never have found the place without him (or at least not without tons of legwork).

by the way, the house she picked for us is as perfect for out family as she said it would be.

I've said it here before and I'll say it again: If you don't want to use a broker, don't. Streeteasy, Nybits, et al have gone to a lot of peoples heads. I can tell you that I have done a search as an agent and they're not as efficient as their champions would have you believe.

Scott K
Bond New York

Keith: "I think a well funded firm could easily make such a deal with owners"
Good luck with that.
I'd love to see a New York in which landlords pay the fee for brokers' providing them with great tenants. It makes sense, right? Some landlords already do this, and seem pretty happy with the results. But here in Brooklyn the landlords have grown accustomed to receiving all these benefits at no cost, and balk whenever we suggest they will get a better range of possible tenants if they are willing to pay the fee themselves.
I think alanhart is right - it would take legislation to change this system.
Tina Fallon
Realty Collective, LLC

right, so this was a rental. i have also been a nuisance for a lovely broker for years in our perpetual never ending house hunt. i want to say, for the record, in 2006-7 he told us not to buy and save our money for the inevitable crash. we had been looking at "starter" houses in the "good towns", he always maintained that we need to wait and buy our forever house for the same $ in a few years. the man is an absolute saint and the definition of ethic and integrity. i send him birthday cards, xmas cards, he was a guest at the meet the baby brunches when both my kids were born, i push his name to any and everyone who expresses any interest in buying a house. he has not collected any commission from me, but i'd like to think he's gained from our association because i have a big mouth. good brokers build relationships, and they do this by earning the trust of their potential clients. if we do ever buy, he'll get that commission. hopefully he'll still be alive and selling real estate when that day comes. there are shitty brokers out there, but there are shitty people out there, that's life. a good broker is gold.

this guy is also in nj, to clarify. not urbandigs in manhattan!! lol

sorry, re: the woman who found the house we are renting. she didn't just look at what was available for rent, she actually called up selling agents for several houses that had been on the market for sale for a long time and offered to rent them. i think she called agents she knew to have represented houses that didn't sell and were taken off the market as well. OUTSIDE THE BOX. this is their job, it's what they do. someone who is good at their job is always an asset. ok, enough broker flattery. i also have a horrible story with an incompetent pig lady broker, but my experience with her was in the initial rookie stage of my real estate search and she took advantage and is greedy and stupid and also fat.


It's not about how effectively we do our jobs, the question is about who compensates us for it. So let's break it down; $6500 per month for a large two bedroom in a prime area is not that unusual, 15% commission=$11,700 dollars.

I am pro agent all the way, the agent does 98% of the work, yet the firm keeps approximately 50% of the earned commission. That basic premise needs to change so the agent can keep a higher %, firm get's less and the consumer wins. I can tell you from working in the business over 20 years and running my own company; you do not need all the expensive trimmings of a full service shop. Streamline the operation costs, high rents of showcase offices, vanity driven marketing, bloated back office personnel with silly titles.

Keith Burkhardt (broker)
The Burkhardt Group

For some people, using a broker makes sense. However, our contention is that for most people, you really don't need a broker to find a rental. The rest of the country pretty much doesn't use brokers, and they seem to find an apartment just fine. And, as someone pointed out, where they do use a broker, the landlord almost always pays.

"But the New York City market is different," they say. Well, it is in some ways. Primarily that traditionally landlords have not marketed their vacancies. If the public doesn't know about them, how will they rent directly from the owner? Brokers have traditionally controlled access, and landlords have been happy to have someone else do their marketing for them.

However, that has been changing, with the help of the internet. More and more owners and property managers, even small landlords you've never heard of, are marketing directly to the public. The broker's grip on controlling the information has been slowly eroding away.

All this talk about pre-screening, etc. -- come on, how many brokers have you gone out to look at a rental apartment with that verified your income, credit score, etc. beforehand? Can't get an appointment with a landlord? Sure, some landlords are really busy, and you have to be persistent.

There are good brokers, don't get me wrong. Those that take the time to listen, do research, show you only what you're asking for (if it exists), and has access to some exclusive listings. And in some instances, circumstances may dictate you need help (need to move quickly, too busy to look, looking for something very unique and exclusive, etc.). But for the majority of people, you just don't need one. IMHO, using a broker to find an apartment to rent should be the exception, not the rule.

We have an entire page on our website that talks about this very question. You can see it at -- we also have guides on finding an apartment in NYC, what paperwork you need, etc. Plus, we have thousands of listings, all direct from the landlord.

Seems pretty simple. Like anything, brokers charge what the market will bear. It has nothing to do with the value they provide. These days, most anyone living in NY could find their own apartment using available databases.

A certain percentage of landlords choose to list their properties with brokers, forcing people to pay a fee if they want that apartment. The only thing restricting broker fees from being higher is the availability of some no-fee apartments that renters can turn to. The only thing keeping broker fees from being lower than they are is the shortage of no-fee apartments that renters can turn to.

There - years of streeteasy debate solved.

Thats cool, but it's a work around. We need systemic change so busy New Yorkers can use a broker. a reasonable cost for service provided.

Thanks for all the responses. I didn't intend to ignite any inflammatory comments. I think, given the technology that exists, we don't need brokers. My broker is a nice guy, but I think he hasn't done anything special or provided me with any exclusive listings I can't find on my own. I hope he'll prove me wrong... I'm desperate to find an affordable apt!

I am of the camp that only people who want to spend no time or effort themselves looking OR who are new to town and can afford it need rental brokers. My past few moves, every single apartment I was shown by broker, without exception, was also visible on SE, NYBITS, craiglist, etc. A few (like in FiDi and BPC) I just walked in off the street because they had signs in front.

However, it took me 20-40 hours over a month each time. So for some people, a broker can cut that time by 75%.

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The bottom line is this:

Broker's are still people at the end of the day. They still have families to provide for, needs they have to fulfill and tons of clients to offer excellence service to. Unfortunately there are brokers out there who don't do a good job at working with prospective tenants/business owners, therefore people will think twice about using a broker when deciding to start their search.

If you can afford to use a broker, find a good one and do it. It will save you time and a lot of headaches.

If you can not afford one, it's okay. You can either find a NO Fee Broker (and still get that great, exceptional service) or you can do it on your own but you may have to do lots of research, especially if you're picky about what you want.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best!

I don't think there is such a thing as a "no fee" broker, at least in desirable areas. Maybe in Roosevelt Island and places like that. Hardly any major landlords are still paying broker fees, in general, at this point. They don't need to.

UrbanEdge, at Bond we don't pre-screen as much as we tell people who may have some financial issues what to expect and what to do to avoid any problems. And we tell them from the start. That's one of the reasons the initial meeting is in the office, so they can feel more comfortable. I've done the whole "meet you on the street corner, fill out the paperwork, and let's go see apartments. I'll show you one or two and then disappear". I hated it, mostly because it doesn't work.

Agree w/ Jordyn; there's a lot of red herrings here. Landlords "don't want to deal with the public". Oh please. I've sublet space before - you do a credit check, criminal records check, and an interview. It's Not. That. Hard! I'm sure the phone company, electric company, credit company, etc "doesn't want to deal with the general public", either. But they do, because that's where their market it. Could they hire some barely competent schmuck to intermediate between them and their customer and take 15% of the gross? Of COURSE they could. Do they? Of COURSE not!

credit company s/b "credit card company"

Dwayne: If you don't want to use an agent, just don't. But to refer to agents as "barely competent schmucks"? Most, if not all, of the agents I know work very hard to satisfy their clients. Takes a lot more than being a "barely competent schmuck" to achieve that goal.

Scott K
Bond New York

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so jim - where do you work?

on our nerves

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I try not to engage in the nonsense often seen here. That said, why do searches of your name come up empty-handed?

Because of today's technology, the 15% will have to die. I foresee down the near road max 10% on rentals, max 5% sales.
And as the big savings is on the brokerage house end of it (savings in terms of work), the brokerage houses will/should end up eating most of the lower commission portion(s).

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There are a lot of agents who post their name here. Posting my name reminds me to keep it on a professional level. Also, I didn't ask you to justify anything. I just asked why I couldn't find you anywhere online. I don't know why you got so nasty with me.

Scott K
Bond New York

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Jim -- And here I thought you got 15% because of your winning personality and charm.

To get landlords to pay their management to do showings or pay broker fees will require overturning the Urtstadt Law of New York State, which prevents municipalities from passing local laws about rental housing. That law is entirely geared to favor landlords.
If you want to change things, then write your representative and make repealing the Urstatdt Law an issue for re-election.
Demand a law that requires landlords to pay broker fees. I think this will help the whittle down the mass of brokers into a few with steady, dignified jobs as part of management companies (no bait-and-switch and I'll-meet-you-on-this-street-corner), and it will give landlords incentives to keep stable tenants.

Repeal the Urstadt Law.
For info:

Find your representative here:

Also, Chris Quinn of the NYC Council has been a passionate advocate for tenants' rights, and her email notices are worth subscribing to for occasional updates on various things being advocated.

However, the Council's hands are tied by the Urstadt Law.

Is this an ok place for me to ask whether there is (or could be) an updated list of "good" agents?
Should I start a fresh topic instead?

@Alan Hart: your comment = FTW

Frugal, I always tell people that if they insist on meeting people on the street they're going to run into scam artists. Yet some people, no matter how I explain it, refuse to come into the office first. This despite their problems with the agents they have met on the street.

As for the bait and switch, you know what I say? If you see something on Craigslist, bring it in to the office when we meet! I have seen plenty apartment on CL that, when the particulars are entered into our database, simply don't exist. And, if they do, I make an appointment with management to bring the client. Bait and switch is hard to prove, though, because the inventory of available apartments is constantly changing.

I like the model in Los Angeles. Serious landlords all post ads on, which is like in level of detail, except that prospective tenants pay ~$60 for a month to look at ads. The site includes the address and also performs credit checks. Many landlords avoid posting on craigslist and will only post on WestSideRentals, because this cuts out calls from people who are not serious. The tenants can whittle down their search to apartments that have all the details they want, and the landlord or super shows the apartment (or the tenant can actually go pick up the key him/herself). It is much more efficient, and it prevents the possibility of scams and reduces stress on both sides.

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I wouldnt mind paying for a broker fee IF they found me something that I wanted and NOT just some link they found online.

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jifjif, if everything is online, how else would we find something for you? Aren't you calling an agent to help you streamline your search?

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I am calling an agent hoping that they know of a place that I have not looked at. I give them a list of places online that I have been searching. I give them comparisons on price, location, types of apartments I like.

They keep sending me stuff that I have seen online or resend stuff that I have sent them as a comp.

Also, I would wish that the broker would actually go see the place before I do. And when I say "I don't want an apartment that faces the back" I really mean I don't want an apartment that faces the back.

The broker is trying to get the highest dollar possible as they are based on percentage. But I am the one paying for the service. So they are trying to get the most money out of me while representing me? Doesn't make sense.

Common sense says that if you're looking while a broker is looking at the same time you're both going to come across the same listings.

As for the agent seeing the place before you do, I'd love to see all the apartments I show. I just don't have the time.

Scott K
Bond New York

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lucillebluth: please share the name of your broker! we're in the market and looking in NJ. thanks!

Did anyone mention the fact that exclusive listing agents are going to be paid a fee whether the tenant chooses to use a broker or not? The 15% is often split between the listing agent and the tenant's agent. If the tenant doesn't have an agent and I'm the listing broker, I typically agree to go down to around 12% and may agree to do a bit more if we need to get the apartment rented ASAP for the owner. If we're talking about open listings (those from property management companies and owners that don't use an exclusive broker), the tenant's broker really shouldn't be paid more than one month's rent (in my humble opinion). To everyone that wants to completely avoid a fee at all costs: you're missing out on the best rentals in Manhattan - condos. Of course they're not for everyone or every situation, but to me they are generally the best choice. If you're going to stay 2-3 years, the net effectives and lifestyle value are almost always superior to those of rental buildings. There are probably 100 rental building owners and property managers in Manhattan that I wouldn't wish on my wost enemy. Good luck with those "no fee" apartments! Of course there are good ones as well.

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I found an apt. on street easy by calling the broker took 20 minutes to that worth nearly a $ 6000.00 broker fee? I don't think so...........

Hopefully the landlord will split it with me, (as I can move in when they are requesting), or the broker will take alot less, or I can't accept the deal. It's an offer I can refuse and the apartment has already been sitting empty for a little over 2 months.

I hope it goes in my favor, but I truly don't know......

daimer - If I understand your post correctly, you found that apartment on Streeteasy because the listing agent put it there. Did you ask about the fee before you went to see it? And if so, were you aware that you could not afford the apartment and the stated fee, yet asked to see the unit anyway?
There are no laws protecting agents from clients who misrepresent their financial status in order to view apartments they can't afford. Perhaps we would be able to charge less in commissions were it not for the amount of time we waste with clients who claim to understand the fee structure - I'm guessing you signed a broker show agreement - and then back out when they realize they actually have to pay.
Tina Fallon
Realty Collective, LLC

I'm curious... I'm working with a broker to find an apt and they don't send me any listings that I haven't already found on StreetEasy. How do they deserve the 15% of a year's rent?

Good model from the broker's point of view. They lock up supply by promising to free the owner of the hassle and make it out to seem like free money that the renter pays. This works most of the time , except in periods of over-supply or weak pricing like we just came out of.

Not enough is written about the art/science of pricing a service.

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huntersburg - Why is that a stretch? If I go test drive a car I can't afford, then offer significantly less than list price, and the car dealer doesn't take my offer, who is to blame?

In the case of the apartment, the fee structure is more transparent - as a consumer, you actually know what percentage of your money goes to the agent. Would you go eat in a restaurant with only enough money to pay for the food and tax? And if you didn't have the 15% to cover the service charges, would you suggest the restaurant and the server split that cost with you?

Tina Fallon
Realty Collective, LLC

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Another conversation that will go on in circles as real estate agents tell you that 15% is fair and you know about it. It is once again back to the age old question of even if an agent spent 10 hours a day for 2 days looking at a bunch of apartments is that worth $7200 on a $4000 per month rental? I do not care who splits what it is still $360 per hour for something that takes no particular skill.

Jim I know you will come at me again because you make illogical arguments. For instance most people I know will discuss lowering fees with their mds, dentists, accountants, lawyers, etc. And the interesting part is most will adjust fees as they want the business.

It seems real estate agents feel that no matter what feel it is a betrayal when people discuss the money that it costs to rent/sell an apartment and how it seems out of line. The arguments for a fixed percentage make no real sense which is why it is questioned.

The real issue is supply as there are way to many brokers. The arguments for the fee structure is that the average broker does not earn a real wage and we have to understand how you are all paying out of your own pocket. Well really I know there are some great agents out there, but there are a lot of people who do it because they can't do anything else, so that leaves fewer listings for each agent. Why not cut out the excess brokers and cut the fees. And the answer really is because the brokerage firms would rather have more fighting to get things sold and rented so that they will make more money.

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Jim hit the nail on the head. You all claim we are useless yet you continue to have this discussion. You all claim you need nothing more than SE yet you continue to have this discussion. So, the solution is to not use an agent.

Scott K
Bond New York

Well said MikeV! I think we can all identify with the per hour costs/charges. I know roughly what I get paid per hour. Now, to preempt the broker response, the argument "but we have to split that fee with our company 50/50" is a legitimate gripe. However, perhaps your brokerage doesn't deserve half. Has anyone actually broken out the costs associated with supporting a broker? Does it automatically equal 50% of every transaction? I wouldn't thing so.

15% across the board is ridiculous and there hasn't been a good argument for it. Now, I'm not opposed to a fee. It should, however, be commensurate (never thought I'd use that word outside of a job application) with the work a broker actually does.

Could we move to a per hour fee with a small signing bonus for a broker? Something in the range of $25/hour for rentals?

Kmoveoct, them NAR press releases ain't cheap to make.

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alanhart - I'm not familiar with the term NAR.

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Brokers are unfortunate societal parasites that you have to pay to get rid of, which is a fantastic business model from the realty firms perspective. They offer a solution to a problem they create. they are also unqualified and poorly educated on rental markets, with little to no sense of housing economics. to their credit, they have extensive knowledge of key turning, opening doors, glorifying 30 year appliances, and explaining how a railroad set-up can actually become a 4 bedroom after $40,000 of renovations.3 Ways to handle getting rid a broker. A) throw your hard earned money at them and they will go away (only temporary). Or B) take on the whole system and starve them out.If YOU avoid paying them (find your own apt from a management company), they will find jobs at burger king or join Enterprise rent a car. Please be mindful that I am only refering to manhattan brokers in the rental market. They are not human, an will deflate after you poke them lightly with a stick(this is Method C)

By should a broker receive a fat fee if I choose to do all the legwork? I resent being forced to pay for services I do not need or want. When eating out I have a choice between counter and full-service restaurants. Why should it be different for apartment hunting? Other cities give prospective renters an option between going it alone or asking foe help from a broker. In my opinion, brokers who position themselves as gatekeepers between renters and apartments subsist by collecting outrageous fees without providing meaningful services. This meets my standards for a parasitic relationship.

I hoping someone can help me with some advice.

So I have been looking for apartments and responded to an ad in the NO FEE section on Craigslist. I then corresponded with the person who put up the ad and realized it was a broker who had put up the ad. Given that I have been sort of conditioned by the atrocious 15% fee, I figured I would set up an appointment to see that apartment. However, prior to meeting, I kept asking the broker to give me the exact address so that I can eliminate being shown apts that I have already seen or know of. But the broker kept insisting that she cannot tell me the exact address until she meets me. Not having any other option, I agreed to meet with her at the corner of where the apt is. Sure enough, she took to a building that I already know of but showed me a different apartmtent in the building that the one I knew. I was delaying checking out the building earlier because it was out of my price range. However, the apt that the broker showed me was different from the one I knew of but in the same building. With the 15% fee added to the rent, it becomes more expensive that the original apartment that I was contemplating to rent. When I told her that, she tells me that I cannot rent ANY apartment, including the ones she didn't show me in this building. Moreover, she has threatened to sue me if I went ahead and rented the apartment directly from the management company.
Is she right? - is it true that I cannot rent ANY other apartment in the same building? A fee of $3312 for a building that I already know of seems ridiculously atrocious.

Would appreciate all comments on this one - including from other brokers on this forum.


A disillusioned renter.

@Chrisrook - did you sign a contract with her? If so, read the contract. It probably says she locks up the whole building by showing you any apartment in the building - that is the standard form. This is why you shouldn't sign contracts without reading and/or negotiating them first.

However, if you didn't sign anything and you made it clear to her orally that you had already seen several apartments (and named the particular apartment you had already seen) then she will probably lose her lawsuit if she demands to be paid on an apartment she didn't show you. If you had done this, though, ("I have seen the apartment at 412 W 54th and don't need you to show it to me") she probably wouldn't have wasted her/your time.

While the advent of new technologies will continue to democratize spaces at every level by providing information that has not been readily available before, there will still be a need for qualitative aspects that decipher information in a way that computers and programs do not. In essence, by being a broker we learn various cultures and climates in for example something like a particular building, that a a customer might not have. Not every no fee building is a pot of gold.
I think that there are certainly brokerages with lower overheads, that facilitate a month or less commission for a rental, if it is not a co broke. If it is a co broke, a broker on either renter or landlords side can negotiate to being the cost down. So, the conclusion, it is bad to generalize. We still need people, and perhaps not everyone can afford a broker, but for those who can, there are brokers who will negotiate and work with you. Hopefully a week later, 24 hours worth of research and calling and seeing what's actual real time stuff. Which isn't here for the most part ....anyway....

chrsrook, the broker can't win a lawsuit by holding up as evidence a contract that you were fraudulently induced to sign. If you were actually sued (don't worry, you won't be, it's a bluff), it would help your case if you could document that you had visited or saved the listing or something related to the prior apartment in the building on a date prior to you visiting with this broker.

Can we all please stop debating this?

The system is obviously crooked, with landlords and brokers mutually benefiting each other in a vicious greedy cycle of capitalism. Landlords raise rent, forcing tenants to move, and brokers benefit from this by collecting fees by forcing tenants to move.

It's capitalism. It sucks. But it's legal. I hope one day the city decides to do something about it.

^ ** brokers benefit from this by collecting fees by landlords forcing tenants to move.

You think large landlords are colluding with rental brokers?

Yes it is capitalism, but it seems fallacious to appeal to the reason that landlords would be happy that a renter has obstacle of a huge fee before renting their abode so that they can keep the property at positive cash flow.

I know I'm commenting on a 2-year-old posting, but this caught my eye:

"Lastly, a streamlined search. You come to me with your criteria for an apartment; I can find you what you're looking for. If you told me what you want, who cares if it only takes an afternoon to find it? I found what you were looking for but couldn't find all those days you were knocking on doors trying to do it yourself."


I can't tell you how many brokers I had to "fire" because they refused to help me find what I was looking for (for whatever reason, be it laziness or incompetence). And yes, I know it was out there, because I eventually found it on my own.

if you have a brain, you dont need a broker. chances are your brain > brokers brain

I have an exclusive arrangement with a small rental building. The apartments (which don't come open often, so save your emails) are cheap and in an excellent location. Every time I have one, I get inundated with requests. The landlord loves that he can count on me to handle all the calls, do credit checks, etc. And he's a bit quirky, so I am also able to prep prospective tenants on how to handle meeting him. Big buildings with their own rental departments, or overpriced places, or bad locations -- these you can easily get on your own. But the really good deals, with landlords who care, are being handled by brokers.

Juxie, how often do you advocate your landlord clients breaking the law:

35 minutes ago
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Could the landlord notify the tenant that on a certain date they will begin renovations on the apartment? And on that date, remove the front door.

"But the really good deals, with landlords who care, are being handled by brokers."

Slight BS. That may be true for SOME buildings, but plenty of people get "good deals" with direct by owner, or through a no-fee leasing office, or through a broker with fee paid by LL. And plenty of people have been burned by shady, lazy, corrupt, and/or incompetent brokers.

why would you expect anything but subjective slant from a broker?

This is an industry (the 6% commission industry) that should be handling a minority of real estate transactions, with the advent of the internet and information sharing. I wonder how much effort the big brokerages put into protecting their "industry", by for example, avoiding by owner listings?

fieldchester, I asked it as a question. Someone told me about doing this years ago to get drug dealers out of their building.

You don't have to go see an apartment with a broker just because they contact you about the apartment. If you already know about the apartment, just politely decline to see it with them and let them know that you only are interested in seeing apartments with them that you have not yet heard about.

Also, keep in my that a broker may not know that a landlords has posted some or all of their listings on Streeteasy, nor do they have the time to search for every apartment in their inventory on Streeteasy, to weed them out for your convenience. Besides, brokers don't know that your memorizing every apartment on Streeteasy. After all, just because it's posted here doesn't mean you know about it.

But if you have studied the market and brokers aren't helping you, go the "no broker fee" route. There is an excellent and free renter's guide that will pretty much teach you everything you need to know, The Essential Guide for Smart Renters. You can find it at this url: .

Good luck with your search.

because renters are too stupid to click the ADs posted by owners themselves

Broker fees for rental properties? I'd never heard of such until searching for rental property in New York. In California tenants successfully find rentals and complete the rental process without brokers and broker fees! I THINK ITS STUPID THAT NEW YORK LAW WOULD EVEN ALLOW SUCH A SYSTEM. If an owner seeks the assistance of a broker to list their properties and to fill vacancies, then they should pay the entire broker fee! Why the hell should I have to pay a damn broker fee equal to the first month rent when no services were even rendered to me. Such a ripoff! Ridiculous greed! And some of the brokers can be quite rude and nasty. I avoid rental properties with broker fees and everyone else should do the same.


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