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Can someone please explain why countless CL rental listings are fake?
Why do most "owners" post listings, then never followup or reply?
Why do "brokers" post listings, then bait and switch? Don't they realize that a real customer will hang up on them?
Why do "brokers" post open listings that I can just walk into a leasing office and get myself? Do they think most renters are too stupid to do this themselves?
Why do "owners" fail to include important info about their property -- why would you not disclose (or flat out lie about) # of bathrooms or that your unit is not in the advertised neighborhood? Do you really think that someone looking for "upper west side" will consider Riverdale in their search?
Why do "owners" post over and over again, and never reply to email or texts?
Why do "brokers" make multiple fake listings using a wide assortment of emails and phone numbers (all the same person)? Do they actually think they will make $$ by doing this? WHO has time to manage the fake phone numbers and emails?
I honestly have no idea what these posters are up to.
At least on SE, an open listing is easy to spot... but CL seems to be its own animal.
Not really ranting, just trying to understand why these listings exist in the first place. Trying to understand why these people spend considerable time making posts on CL, if there is no possibility of a transaction. In my business, we focus on doing tasks and projects that are ultimately profitable. What are these owners and "brokers" doing if they are not trying to close a deal? What am I missing here?
I have replied to many listings, and only one or two were real...
I am an experienced CL buyer/seller (of kiddie toys, technology, furniture, etc...) and I have seen every CL scam -- but the rental listings are just a head scratch. Can't seem to figure out what these posters are doing.
Craigs list.. nough said
Brooks2: but CL is a valid marketplace for many types of items -- I have bought/sold countless items over the years. And all transactions have been honest and fair for both seller and buyer. Obviously scams are attempted, but you can simply eliminate 99% of the CL scams by only doing transactions for cash, and in-person.
The rental listings seem to be something very different.
agree.I had a similar experience with broker "advisors" on Craig's List. Some of these so called RE brokers are not even licensed. very sleazy.
I love CL, but free ads + sleazy industry make for a cluttered and useless category. The verification steps have not eliminated the multiple spam posts, they should just charge $5 per ad per week to eliminate the fake ads.
fsbo88, it seems like your just being cheap don't want to pay a brokers fee. If you know about open listings, then go there yourself and get the apartment. But you are not going to get an exlusive by looking at "Owner" ads all day. Some owner ads are legit from my experience anyway, just gotta weed through them all.
You also mentioned they are fake? If it's a real ad, just posted under owner how is it fake? What is it that you are trying to accomplish exactly?
Like car salesppl who actually benefit from the sleazeball used car dealers.
The 'authorized' dealer gives you free coffee and the rip off price up front. Makes the sales easier. I've often wondered if the authorized dealer is not in fact the same owner as the sleazy used car dealer down the block.
So there you have it. CL Scammer = > SE listwhore.
I never had any problems with CL...
once your eyes adjust by not clicking on the ADS THAT LOOK LIKE THIS!!!!!!****CALL DONNA 646-XXX-SDSJ*************************><)*@&(@*&E
and only calling up ads with pics of the actual unit and a direct cell phone number posted, my first question is are you the owner, if yes I carry on.. that usually weed out 90% of the borkers trying to upsell.
i use a different strategy for the adult section to weed out the fake men.
Teach me your ways for the adult section. So many times a samantha answered only to meet up with a Sam and make a b-line for the exit
But seriouslly, owner ads are just as bad ad broker no fee ads. Or you gotta love the Broker No fee section then u click and it says low fee lololilil not even trying to hide the lie
The problem you are having is mainly the result of broker's advertising as owner because broker's ads cost $10 each while ads by owner cost nothing. CL should change this policy and charge everyone the same and not incentivize brokers posing as owners. That's not to suggest all ads by brokers on CL are legit and have the correct info. Owner and leasing offices count on brokers in NYC, most don't even advertise to clients directly and more often the not are too understaffed to deal with walk-ins and phone calls directly from clients. Try the NO FEE BY BROKERS section and look for those ads that give you straight up information with regards to locations/ addresses and exact $$ of the application fees - avoid those who try to get your attention by ####@@@@@ SENSATIONAL - AWESOME *****&&&&& or self professed HONEST. CL is still a great resource. (By The way - Most of Exclusives on Streeteasy are open listings - they self admit to not have full control over this issue).
Actually broker fee ads cost 3 dollars via realty mx and most real estate companies. If you are paying 10 dollars an ad you sir are an idiot
The rental broker like the sleaze bucket who goes by the name jim_hones10 advertises there. jim_hones10 epitomizes the slime, sleaze and rubbish that give rental brokers a bad reputation.
CL is all about the 3 card Monty. Never real or updated apartments.. Always, "that one just rented." It's the biggest bate and switch scam by sleazy brokers that can't get customers in more legit ways. CL is a waste of time if you are really looking for a rental property. UrbanSHerpany, http://www.urbansherpany.com/Home, NYbits, http://www.nybits.com/ and Street Easy are probably enough.
Cl for RE is a 3 card monty scam for sleazy RE brokers that cannot get clients in a legit way. The properties advertised are always, "just rented". It's a pretty apparent and funny bate and switch. I would avoid Craig's list at all costs. Urbansherpany, nybbits and Street easy should be enough.
opps. sorry for 2 responses.
>> fsbo88, it seems like your just being cheap don't want to pay a brokers fee.
Why should I pay $8000 for someone to open a door?
I live in the neighborhood. I see a building I like. I call the building leasing manager, "do you have any 3BR available soon?" -- yes? great. When I can you show it to me? Tomorrow - great. See ya.
I am now +$8000
I looked at CL because I assumed some landlords are guys like me with a condo they want to rent -- or like my cousin who's family owns a few rental buildings -- and they post listings on CL.
I received ONE (count it, O-N-E) reply from a legitimate owner, and since the owner failed to list number of baths in his ad, when he answered, I had to turn the unit down as it did not meet my needs.
>> You also mentioned they are fake? If it's a real ad, just posted under owner how is it fake? What is it that you are trying to accomplish exactly?
Fake listings are for listings that don't exist. "$4300 1600 sq ft 3BR/2BA west 80's CPark view". There is no such thing.
Fake listings are for apartments that the listing person does not have access to.
Fake listings are meant for the listing person to accumulate a client call list.
AND WHY ON EARTH does CL allow by-owner posts from the same person over and over and over. If I list an item for sale in kiddie toys or furniture and decide to post a similar item, the CL system is all over me -- and refuses to let me post something similar -- but a by-owner or broker-no-fee posting with fake images (or images from a different property) can post over and over and over...
I am tired of seeing Stonehenge or Archstone images in listings that are not posted by the leasing office. Any moron can go to these leasing offices and rent - in fact, the leasing managers for these buildings are friendly and professional. I don't need a slimy CL poster to hold my hand...
I was hoping to find an owner-posted listing -- the owner can get $300+ more per month (over 24 months) if I'm not budgeting for a broker.
I think I found my next apartment today... simple pavement pounding and some minor (legal) social engineering. And I am +$8000 on the deal. But I did discover the building super was on the take (from brokers). I contacted the building leasing manager last week (used google and property records) -- the building leasing manager was thrilled to have me see the unit... I went to the building this morning, and the doorman had a note from the leasing manager to show me the 2 avails... I liked one better... told the doorman I would be back later to take some measurements. A few hours later, different doorman, but the note from the leasing manager had disappeared. Doorman #2 called the super. Super said, "nobody is gonna see any apartments in this building without a broker". So I called the leasing manager (cell). I was in the unit 5 minutes later. Hopefully, the super doesn't make my life difficult. I'm gonna have to grease him when we move in... he just wants his $$. That's understandable. But how many buildings that do not have on-site leasing offices have supers on the take from brokers? I would imagine it's a bigger number than I want to believe.
I learn something every day!
You can occasionally get lucky on CL, just accept it for what it has become and patiently weed through the muck. Brooks hit the nail on the head with nybits.com.
If you have more particular tastes in a home, see the many posts by inonada on this site. He has scoring a hot rental down to a science, he may actually be a scientist (:
So basically what you are saying is 29,000 people should lose a job because all they do is open doors. These people/brokers should be jobless.
Smart very smart. If you haven't noticed by now you need a broker for most management companies that are semi-elusive and only work with broker firms. If you check out open listings, there is a reason its an open listing.
Anyway just my 2 cents
Are there really 29,000 door openers making a living at this?
Maybe the door opener industry should take a long hard look at itself and make the service more valuable to the customer.
Bonus points to the first person to successfully identify who the customer is... (trick question)
Maybe you should just not be a cheapskate and pay your broker fee like everyone else. My two cents.
As an owner who has been posting ~50 apts a year on CL for ~10 years. I can also tell you all about my experiences of people asking questions which are clearly stated in the ad, brokers (and non brokers) stealing my pictures, often times to scam people, etc....
The worst though, are the people who expect a brokers service from a no fee owner. Maybe the reason why it took me a few hours (imagine that!) to get back to your email was because I prioritize existing tenants over responding to a potential tenant who apparently did not even read the ad, and whose application has a 50-50 shot of being terrible anyway.
Rental listings by OWNERS (not no-fee by BROKERS) have almost always been "real" in my experience. You seem to be conflating "no fee" with "by owner."
No jason, its that most of the posts in the "BY Owner" section are not really by owners at all anymore, as of 5-6 years ago from my observations
Why would an owner post under "owner" In manhattan??? Does he really have the time to go and show his 1800.00 studio? Isn't that why 90 percent apartments in manhattan are through management companies?? This every owner ad is fake. Even if management posts itX
I am a small owner and I rent without brokers, using CL. Two reasons: 1- as clueless as the average renter is, the average rental broker is 10 times worse; 2- I get a higher rent for my units, and less trouble because I don't charge 15% upfront and get to know potential renters. Maybe if I were big time, or lived outside of NYC, I'd have an employee. I think the broker model is terrible, because there is no barrier to entry, an incentive to cheat and lie, and a very high turnover.
For every renter who asked a question clearly answered at the top of the ad, I can get a broker who lied about the size or amenities. I'd rather put a bit of work and time into it upfront rather than clean up later.
I found the apartment I've been living in for 6 years on craigslist. It was listed as a rental by owner, and it turned out to be just that. I had to sift through about 200 listings to find about 40 that were legit. It took time and patience. It's an experience that has been repeated by many friends. I'm not sure I would use it again, but mostly because my financial circumstances have changed and the apartments listed on streeteasy and nybits fit the bill better. On craigslist, you have to do a lot more legwork to find the diamond in the rough, but if you're looking at the lower end of the spectrum, it's pretty much your only option.
Plain and simple, aside from the occasional smaller landlord who actually posts their own vacancies to craigslist, the "by owner" posts on craigslist are by bait and switch or scammer brokers because it is cheaper to post under this category. They can post more frequently for less cost, and believe that this quantity over quality approach will get them more exposure, and therefore lead to more potential deals. Anyone with a lick of common sense can see that this is an ignorant business practice, and it also makes the job of an honest and upfront broker with several exclusive listings very difficult.
Craiglist has a lot of "By Owner" scams, where people pose as an owner or broker and they steal deposits on apartments that dont even exist. BUYER be ware. I dont even know why people even trust or go to craigs anymore? Its really the worst site for real estate, yet 50% of all my renters still come from there. I advertise there because I have to for business ,but if i had a choice i would never give money to craig....
angeloz, for many products, CL is a viable and sometimes the only marketplace left;
Kiddie toys and accessories
Sex slaves (kidding)
I have bought and sold countless items, including iPhones, a TiVo, bikes, trikes, scooters, kiddie bouncers good for about a month before they get bored, a $32,000 grand piano, plenty of small tech items such as routers, phones, computer parts, plenty of furniture...
All transactions (except large and heavy) are 99% of the time anonymous, cash only, and you meet on the corner or in a Starbucks or in the playground. Reasonable people looking for a reasonable marketplace.
WHY ON EARTH does the rental market bring out the scum of the slime? With the exception of the Nigerian scam and the "if you ship your iPhone to Malaysia, I will pay you $400 extra by western union" scams -- most CL listings are by honest folk looking to make an honest deal. In most every category. I can't speak for the sex slave section -- but I have done countless transactions in many, many categories.
Only rentals seem to attract the liars. On both sides. Too bad for the RE business, because it could be profitable for all.
>> it also makes the job of an honest and upfront broker with several exclusive listings very difficult.
to2d - the honest and upfront broker with exclusives should use SE, yes?
fsbo88 - yes, they should and do, but the problem is that for some reason, a portion of renters either don't know about SE (yes, I know that sounds a bit crazy), or still use Craigslist hoping to find a gem. You'd be surprised how many times I get contacted about a listing from craigslist with a renter asking several questions about my listing, and when I point them to my streeteasy ad for additional information they reply asking me "what is that website"? Still baffles me. As an agent, I use all platforms available to me to market my listings so they have maximum exposure in the marketplace, after all, it's my job to get the apartment rented as quickly as possible for the owner, but they are always labeled correctly, always include accurate photos, pricing, fee disclosure and contact information.
ONLY us shoe salesman can get into the trunk sales.... the rest of the shoes on display are garbage!
FSBO.... WTF is that.. .when you open your own doors and collect 6% OF $5K/month? What next, will you wipe your own azz? Carry your own groceries? Raise your own children? Have sex with your own wife instead of paying the pizza delivery guy?
Cats sleeping with dogs, north koreans not building nukes, $1700 ounce gold, $120 oil.... jeezzzzz... .
I COMMAND YOU TO PAY MY COMMISSION..... $150 per stock trade plus $5 per share... I COMMAND YOU.
-but sir, the stock is only trading at $6/share... but sir-
SHUT UP YOU FKING RETARD... YOU MUST TRADE CAUSE STOCK MKT IS THE ONLY WAY TO RICHES.. and YOU MUST PAY MY COMMISSION!
-but sir, I am but a little shepard boy with a wife in labor (yet I did not have sex with her... but that is another matter)... and I wish to turn my 2 sheeps into 4! by the magic of compounding-
SHUT UP IDIOT SHEPARD. YOU SHOULD BE RAISING LLAMAS.. .CAUSE THAT'S THE NEW "SHEEPS"... and the NEXT TIME GET A GIRL AND BOY SHEEP... MUST I SHOW YOU HOW TO DOUBLE YOUR SHEEPS... BEND OVER!
APTS FOR SALE, APTS FOR SALE..... THE APT PEDDLER was hungry so HE decided to TAKE A NAP OUTSIDE THE TOWN.........
doctor==== useless, i got wikipedia!
sales clerk= useless, i got amazon!
soldiers= useless, i got a gun;
boat salesman = useless, i can swim.
rental borker= absolutely needed. who else will post pictures on the internet and turn the key at the appointed time????? who who
Hmmm, I rented my current place in 2009, and was very easily able to separate real from fake by owner ads. I don't think I had one single fake experience. My current place was listed by Citi, because they were the owner's leasing agent. It was no fee and real, but I could see how many would assume its fake.
In fact, quite a few harlem condos I looked at were "by owner" via a broker where it was no fee. All real apartments. I must have seen 20 in-person in one weekend. All via brokers advertising on CL "by owner."
The problem is.. People don't want to pay broker fees. Post an ad on clist under "broker fee" ad and see how many replies you get.. 98% of the time slim to non. Post the same apartment under broker no fee section, BOOM ... 7 calls that day and you are forced to stupidly switch.
The real problem is that owners are no longer givin out OPs anymore like they should in this economy.
Look at 1-2 years ago. Every management was paying an OP . No one had to lie, switch, nothing. At the end of the day everyone was happy, expect the owner.
So blame the owners not the brokers for these "tactics"
Err I give up.. Stupid iphone
jason, i think what ppl are refering to fake is that NO BRoker or Exclusive Broker, Even the broker for the Owner, is supposed to post or make ads BY OWNER. If you are licensed by the state and handle more than one property, it doesnt matter if the owner is paying you a fee or a salary, Real Estate brokers have to disclose they are brokers and advertise in the proper section. The reason why most brokers post in BY owner is because they dont want to pay the 10$ fee to post that ad.
fsbo88, CL is good for other items, i just said it was bad for real estate. Also making the brokers pay for advertising and not the owners only causes these boiler room brokers to post in the by owner section...There should be a fee for anyone who wants to post real estate.
If owners are only supposed to post by owner why do management companies post under owner... ?
>> People don't want to pay broker fees
zacksabag, can you tell me who you think your customer is in a rental transaction? Who are you working for?
If its truly no fee - which all mine were - why do I care if it was a broker posting it?
I work for citi habitat. And I market the 2000-4500 rental market.
As the customer is the prospective tenant, and the client is the owner. Depending on which type of agent you are and which form of agreement you signed depending on the party at hand.
So if I'm a "tenants agent" then you are my customer as where the owner is my client as we represent the owner with full disclosure, as where customer only receives basic care.
You can't have it both ways.
If I am paying you, you represent ME. You will negotiate for me, risk your relationship with the landlord and go to the ends of the earth to make the best possible deal for ME. But you won't. Because 99% of the time, you are acting as "landlord's agent", yet you want me to pay your fee.
Conflict of interest.
Dual agency should be illegal. There is no way for you to respect your fiduciary responsibility to me and represent the landlord at the same time.
>> As the customer is the prospective tenant, and the client is the owner
That's a load of BS. You can only represent one side of the transaction. And in my opinion, the side who is paying you is who you are working for. But that's not how the system has evolved. And that's why I don't place any value on what you bring to the table, except being a door opener for the landlord.
When I was 15, my dad once asked me if I knew the golden rule... Sure, "do unto others..." and he cut me off. "WRONG! The person with the gold gets to make the rules!"
As long as the system asks the customer (tenant) to pay for an unnecessary service (broker), the customer (tenant) will find ways to spend their money without paying for services they don't want or need.
NOW -- I'm certain there are many, many customers who find great value in your services. Great! These customers should pay for your services. But the system doesn't make it an option.
There are good reasons that many buildings have in-house leasing agents... it's the right thing to do. In my business, I pay my reps (agents) up to 10% of the transaction when they bring me new business. I don't ask my customer (the person with the gold) to pay for my rep's fee... it's a cost of doing business. Companies pay people to sell their stuff. That's what sellers do. There are VERY few situations that ask the buyer to pay the seller's agent fees (auctions come to mind) - but in most transactions where there is a product or service being sold, a seller assumes the costs to market and sell their goods. With the exception of a buyer's premium at an auction, where else do buyer's directly pay for marketing and selling costs? The system is very broken, and with the power of search engines, the value of the broker has essentially been eliminated -- the sellers (landlords) that are not large enough to have full time reps should hire management companies -- asking the customer to pay the fee as a separate line item distorts the math -- a savvy customer with basic spreadsheet skills can always calculate "net effective". That's the magic number. SO when comparing no-fee to fee to OP, there is only one number that matters: net effective paid to the seller. How much easier would the market be to navigate if there was a magic price? Net effective. No tricks -- 2 months free with 24 month lease? But the listed price is artificially inflated.
A broker told me that some landlords will let a unit go unrented for a year before accepting less than full ask. "It's a write off" -- NO IT'S NOT. It's income that isn't coming in. $400/month price drop = 1 month unrented. SO drop the freaking price by $400 and rent the apt tomorrow. Better yet: accept the offer for $400 under ask. Landlords, you know most people aren't stupid. There's a reason your apartments are sitting empty.
AH -- but the broker doesn't WORK FOR THE BUYER -- the broker works for the landlord, and there is no benefit to bringing an under-ask deal to the table, since the broker doesn't get any benefit.
The system is broken.
I don't even understand. Every single "by owner" apartment I have ever seen was no fee. Many of them were listed by a broker, but still they were no fee. What is the complaining about? Who cares if the broker or LL opens the door to show you the place? no fee is no fee.
Forgot one thing...
zacksabag: >> I work for citi habitat.
No you don't. You pay citi habitat for business cards, computer access, a back office, legal, and possibly marketing support. You work for the people who PAY YOU. But you really don't. Because the people who pay you are not in control of the transaction if you have a fiduciary duty to the landlord.
I don't pay citi habitat anything. I am an independent contractor.
Also the tenant, or customer doesnt and has never payed an agent directly,(legally anyways). The commission check is always made out to the company you have your lisense with. Then that company cuts you a check for whatever split you have with that company 50/50 - 60/40 etc etc.
Thus you never really paid me at all, you paid the brokerage company.
So your real beef I think is with real estate companies and brokers in general, not sales/rental agents.
jason10006: "no fee is no fee" isn't really true. When brokers show "no fee" apartments, it just means that the landlord is the one paying the fee, not the renter. The monthly rent already takes into account the fee (usually 1 month) that the landlord has to pay the broker who brings in the deal.
First off, I would like to add that after doing this for almost ten years, there is a gluttony of people in this industry that are clueless and add no value to renters. Most get in dreaming of the big time, but really take no time to gain the education of the inventory, lack the maturity to properly educate a prospective client and are far to pre-occupied with themselves to do this the right way.
Secondly, everyone thinks that they are an expert on market realities with all of the "anti-broker" websites and the increased transparency available these days. The flip side of that is that more you bicker on these threads about what you "think" you know the more you prove the true value of a good broker/agent.
Lastly, never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
While many of the newbies are indeed just "door openers", a seasoned veteran with a real working knowledge of the entire rental landscape will find you the right place within four places. Unless you are really just looking to waste everyone's time and you feel that we are just "door openers" and that the fee is relative to how many doors we open. I'd probably not work with you for long if I got that pulse after showing the right place for your needs based on our discussions.
Someone in the first year is very unlikely to have the full grasp of the thousands of landlords and properties here and as such, can add no value. If you have an 85 pound dog, they will not know what to do for you. If you have little or no US credit history and no relationships with owners, on-sites and managements, they can not facilitate a deal for you. We are here to save you time and ultimately money and yes, that is a premium service which has a premium cost.
Here are the three things the average person doesn't get about renting in NYC.
1: Yes you can find data online. It however is not always as current as you think it is on all of these sites. Whether OLR, TAXI, ROLEX, LEAR or another means (personal relationships), we have internal databases the public doesn't have access to and that is what is really real time. The websites you get your info from is all dumped into from our databases and as such at least 6-8hrs behind. The real gems rent within a week of hitting the market if they even hit the market at all. I have seen great values rent within four hours of hitting OUR internal databases in the first showing and getting multiple applications.
2: The prospective tenants and the landlord's all have emotional interest in the proceedings and an experienced agent/broker will be the buffer between the two. Many owners are not at all interested in the time it takes of renting to someone who will aggravate them from the initial inquiry (i.e: how many flights up? when the add clearly states, 3rd floor walk up), likely not be qualified or know how to proceed with paperwork, board packages, guarantor paperwork etc in a timely manner and is really trying to "get over" by saving whatever potential "broker's fee" is attached. You want what they have and if you are serious, you put your money where your mouth is. 95% of the small owners I have dealt with have expressed how much more it means to them that someone was financially secure enough to pay a fee for me to handle the details for them and as a result, they got a break on the renewal from said landlords.
3: Contrary to what you think you know, unless the broker has the exclusive with the owner, the broker works for the renter as the fee is paid by the renter. If that is the case, then you should have your own broker to represent your best interests as that exclusive agent is NOT going to bat for you.
There has been and will continue to be a below 1% vacancy rate for rentals especially with people believing the doom and gloom fed through the media. People would rather "date" the real estate than "marry" it right now. I think that is true across many things right now ;-)
In any event, sure you can always go at it on your own and if you are simply looking for a "no fee" apartment, there are places to rent from. It will take you time, you will have to try and fail and make mistakes and put in hard work. There will still always be a large part of the market that you will not even know to exist and you may miss out on that diamond you are looking for and settle for something else.
It ticks me off as well that so many of the ads are not by owner because years ago, that's where we could fish for listings. It is what it is, there is far less quality with many things in the world these days unless you know where to look.
fsbo88, you can email Craig at email@example.com. He does respond personally to all that email him.
Keep in mind that doing real estate (brokers, agents, landlords etc.) requires no formal education. Reading and writing is a plus but not required.
So now you do it on the Internet (i.e. Craigslist), let the games begin.
"Jason10006: "no fee is no fee" isn't really true. When brokers show "no fee" apartments, it just means that the landlord is the one paying the fee, not the renter. The monthly rent already takes into account the fee (usually 1 month) that the landlord has to pay the broker who brings in the deal."
1) Who the fuck cares if the monthly rent is in your budget and you like the place, it does not matter.
2) The same is true of Rockrose, Glenwood, Brodsky, stu-town etc. The monthly rent includes money that goes to paying the salaries of their leasing agents and marketing for-rent units.
This goes on because psychologically, we don't want to pay a fee to anyone%u2026 We look in places that will have the easiest method in finding something BY OWNER. So as an every day broker, trying to capitalize on whats out there, we look in those same areas; like craigslist, putting our units out as %u201C bait%u201D, as you call it, can create a rental market where there is none.
Why do we need a broker? Well, we create greater possibilities in getting you the apartment you want at the rent you were looking to pay. I agree some to most companies out there like RAPID REALTY are there just to sucker your money. But other companies are out there to genuinely help you and guide you in the direction that best fits your budget and needs.
NO FEE simply means the landlord pays the unit fee to the broker- which is never a bad thing. The tenant gets off without having to pay the fee and the landlord can get a right off at the end of the year for the broker fee. So in that respect its cool. But the apartments where the tenant has to pay for the fee- usually its bc its a hot unit and policy has to take place. The fee is how people get paid and eat- just like anyone else's job where commission is the only way of pay check.
For the future renters don't be cheap on your rental hunt- you know for a fact 150% that you will always feel better about your decision when you have to pay that fee- its basic psychology - show your respect to the leasing agent