Printed from at 01:57 PM, May 31 2016

Talk » Rentals » Discussing 'UWS rental-broker or not'

UWS rental-broker or not


Hi all, Am I likely to find a good prewar rental by searching here and other sites, or do I need a broker? Looking for a classic six. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the modern rentals which seem priced higher but have no fee. What's the best approach if we're looking to stay a year or two but want something with community/home feel? Thanks.

feel free to email me at I work for the management company that owns and manages many buildings in NYC. I can let you know of our availabilities.

Thank you,

Hi Lany, I'm an agent at Douglas Elliman, and hopefully my insights from being on the job for a number of years can help you out. This is my first comment on streeteasy, so bear with me if i haven't refined my concise, pithy posting style yet!

The biggest factor, i've found, that motivates the "broker vs. no broker" decision is *time*. You need to be in a month to month situation (or a stable ongoing living arrangement of some kind) that affords you the ability to wait for units to pop-up that you have access to without paying a fee. You also need the time to spend constantly trawling listings on craigslist, streeteasy, nybits, etc, to get the listing before the hordes of other renters do. If you don't have both these luxuries (ie: you have a really busy job during the day or you *need* to be out of your apartment on a certain date) it really is important to have a broker who can alert you in real time to something that fits you.

I'd also say you need to be more flexible and not incredibly picky about what you're looking for, as the pool of no-fee apartments is only a small fraction of the general rental market available to you, and you kind of need to take what you can get. If you're a picky person, and have a laundry list of things you won't compromise on, you need to be open to paying a fee so that you can have the entire market available to you to find what you want.

I'd also think about your future plans. I always advise people not to pay a broker fee if they're at least relatively sure they'll only be in the apartment for one year. If you think there's a very real possibility that you'll need to move in a year, don't pay a fee. Amortizing a broker fee out over 12 months adds a large expense onto the monthly rent. Always think about paying a broker fee in terms of a 2-3 year plan, and paying it in exchange for finding an amazing home you can settle into. If your horizon isn't that long, go to a leasing office and make peace with the slightly inflated rent in exchange for not having a large financial investment (broker fee) in the apartment tying you to the property.

As far as actually finding a no fee classic six in a pre-war rental building, it is possible. There are a few landlords that own large, beautiful pre-war buildings that you could try to dig up. They're out there, but again, you need to have a large window of time to wait for one to pop up.

As a closing note, a great weapon in finding a no fee apartment is to send out as many mass emails/facebook updates/any other messages you can to your circle of friends letting them know what you're looking for. People will go to bat for you, ask their landlords if something is coming up, or refer you to a friend of there's who might be able to point you in the right direction.

I hope this was helpful!

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Time as mentioned is a big factor. If you have some, then go DYI. If not, ask for broker referrals. Good Luck and hope you find a nice place.

great comment msadewitz

Thanks for the feedback. I've been trying to do it, but no, I really don't have the time and don't want a boxy no-fee apartment. So some broker will have some work. Thanks again.

Welcome to the board @msadewitz.

ali r.
DG Neary Realty

>> Wow, 2 replies from brokers trying to solicit business. Surprise, surprise

Wrong. 1 reply from a broker trying to solicit business. 1 reply from a broker giving a thoughtful, detailed answer to the question asked, with absolutely no solicitation of business whatsoever. Not even an email address or so much as a name, except perhaps what you can piece together by the SE name.

Despite the well-earned general reputation of the broker industry, no need to denigrate rather than applaud the exceptions.

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Sonya, he simply said what his first name was and what firm, to show it was an agent at a reputable firm making the comment. If I was answering a question about advertising and I worked at Ogilvy, I would start with, "Hi, my name is XXX at Ogilvy". For every annoying broker solicitation out there is an annoying "broker hater" comment.

ccapitummino is a property manager soliciting business.
It's kind of nice... you don't see that very often. They own some beautiful buildings in Brooklyn Heights, Midtown, etc...

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>> Sonya, he simply said what his first name was and what firm...

He didn't even give his name. Lany is the OP who asked the question.

Hi all, thank you for the kind and words for sticking up for me. I was not, in fact, soliciting business but, as cmazhk1 said, letting you know i work for a reputable company. I was trying to be helpful :-)

@greensdale: You have to first define "no fee" to arrive at this number. There are two types of ways for a renter to get a "no fee" apartment: 1) rent an apartment through a broker where the landlord pays the broker his/her commission, or 2) go directly to a leasing office or landlord who signs a lease with you directly. In the soft market, (2009-2010 when i worked at Citi Habitats) i believe the statistic we found for landlords *paying the broker fee* was pretty high, something like 17%. Things have turned totally around now, and the market is very tight again. I believe last i heard, the % of rentals on the market where the landlord is paying the broker fee is around 4-5%. This is only a fraction of the total number of "no fee apartments", as there are still units available that the renter could get without paying a fee just by going to the owner/leasing office. There's no way for me to say what percentage those apartments total up to, but i'd take a very rough guess of, when combining both categories, of something like 10-12%. Just my opinion though.

@greensdale: forgot to address your other question about inflated rent. there's no hard statistic for this, but from my own travels i've found that the rent is usually inflated a wee bit under the added cost of the broker fee amortized out over the year. Typically, when an owner pays a fee to a broker, it's one month's rent. So on a $4000 apartment, over 12 months, that's $333 a month. A $4000 apartment where the owner is paying the broker fee would probably be listed as $4250. That sounds about right to me, but there are always exceptions to every rule!

We have NO FEE apartments, that is the benefit of going directly to the management company/owner.


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