Moving to NYC? Apartment/broker help

Oct 23rd, 2009, 06:52 AM
  #1  
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Moving to NYC? Apartment/broker help

I know this doesn't exactly qualify as travel-related, but I've always received such good advice on this forum (unless you can recommend a different one). I am considering a move to NYC and want to talk to a no-fee broker about apartments. I don't know anyone from the area. Can you recommend a no-fee broker who will be straight up and honest with me? Thank you!
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Not a broker per se, but Glenwood (http://www.glenwoodnyc.com/) manages and rents their own apartments, thus eliminating the broker's fee.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Oct 23rd, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Without knowing the neighborhoods you are looking at, it will be difficult to recommend a broker. Brokers with the best inventory are local to the neighborhood and usually have good, long-term relationships with landlords.

You can also try Craigslist search.

Most no fee apts are either rented by a management company-including the new construction being converted to rentals or rented by the landlord.

With the rental/real estate market the way it is in NYC, landlords are paying some or part of the brokers fee, depending on the neighborhood.
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 12:35 PM
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Just to underline what's been said, there really is no such thing as a no-fee broker. They do have to earn a living somehow. They don't work for free. Soooo, you either are looking for an apt. WITHOUT using a broker, dealing directly with the owners or managing agents of the building (like Glenwood) or, you're looking for a situation where the landlord or owner of the building pays the entire fee. This just makes it more difficult to find an apt. especially if you're unfamiliar with NYC. You can look at newly built buildings which usually have onsite brokers who don't charge a fee, but often those buildings are expensive.

I think you'd need to give more info for better help like do you have a job lined up here and if so, where is it located and what kind of budget you have in mind?
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 01:24 PM
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Our daughter found all her apts in NYC on Craigslist. AND our son found his Chicago apt and his San Franciso apt on Craigslist.
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 02:39 PM
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There is no such thing as a no fee broker. That's their only income.

You can look at Craig's list or the NYTimes real estate section - some apartments are directly for rent by the owner or managing company of the building. If you find nothing there check out the ads in the RE section - where large companies that rent directly often have ads. Finally, just walk the street in the neighborhood you want - many buildings have a sign on the front if there are apartments available.

If you don;t live here yet and don;t have a job no one will rent you an apartment. You would have to start in a share with a current tenant (what most people do) or pay the year's rent in advance, or have a guarantor with a high enough income to cover your rent in addition to their normal expenses.

If you tell us how much you want to spend, where you will work (key to what areas you should look to live in - since commutes can be 15 minutes or an hour within the city) adn what type of apt you want - studio? one bedroom? - people can make suggestions as to what neighborhoods you want.
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Oct 23rd, 2009, 05:20 PM
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Thank you everyone. One of my problems is that I don't have a job lined up. I am an attorney (which I've heard could be a problem in itself - landlords not wanting to rent to an attorney - true?) and a freelance writer. My father has adequate income and would be a guarantor for me, but he lives in Tennessee (I do currently as well), and I keep reading that often a landlord or broker requires the guarantor to live or have property in NY or the tri-state area - is this true? As far as what I'm looking for, a studio or 1BR, preferably in an area like Gramercy Park, Murray Hill, or something along those lines.
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Oct 24th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I don't know the answer to your specific questions but it would be easy enough to phone a managing agent with a building that appeals to you and find out. Glenwood, mentioned above is one co. you can contact. Have you looked in the real estate section of the Nytimes.com ?
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Oct 24th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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The Guarantor doesn't have to be in the State. The competition for apartments is not as high as it was a few years ago so you will not be turned down right away.

As long as your dad can show that he can cover the rent, have a decent amount of savings in the bank and you both have good credit scores you should be able to rent something.

The best way to find an apt is to check on craigslist (but remember if it is too good to be true-it is), walk around your neighborhood of choice and walk in to a few broker offices with rental listings.

I've never heard of not renting to attorneys.

Also remember you should determine the type of bldg you want to live in: doorman=w/o doorman, walkup, elevator, number of units in the building.

1 bedrooms in Grammercy/Murray hill go for around $2,400 on average. If you try to rent through an owner in that neighborhood, chances are it is in a co-op bdlg-which will make it difficult for you to rent without a job. For co-ops the board has to approve the tenant.

There are a number of buildings that are rented through mgmt companies in the area. I've found them by reading them off of the bldg-but I'm sure there is an easier way.
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Oct 24th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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My son is a student who lives in NY. The first place he lived we had to go round and round to find an acceptable cosigner - his roommate's father was unacceptable because he was an attorney. I was unacceptable because I'm in the real estate business. Our incomes were way more than adequate. We eventually had to go to the roommate's uncle, who's a doctor. I have no idea how widespread this is - it was not an issue at all in his second apartment.

But one thing you might want to keep in mind, is that it seemed to me that it's not automatic that there is much of a difference in total cost between an apartment with a broker fee, and one with no fee. I think people who are offering no fee apartments increase the monthly rent to compensate. So I would say don't automatically count out apartments with broker fees - just compare by dividing the fee by 12 and adding it to the rent. You might find that it's really not that much different in some cases.
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Oct 24th, 2009, 04:14 PM
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The guarantor does not have to be in the state - but they must be able to show an income significantly higher than their current spending. An apartment for $2500 per month would require the guarantor to show an income of $30,000 (net, not gross) more than expenses. And proof would have to be lsat year's federal tax form and current wage statement or proof of income info.

They would also prefer that you could show a job offer pending passing the NY bar exam - since the guarantor can;t be expected to support you forever.

Being an attorney would not disqualify you as a tenant - but saying you'll be a freelance writer would raise a lot of questions - since the income is usually small and irregular. (One of the tenants in my building is an established freelance music critic/travel writer - regularly publishing in upscale music magazines, Travel & Lesiure, Conde Nast Traveler and the NY Times. There's no way he would have made the financial cut if his wife did not have a high level job in finance.)

I would start with management companies in the area you want - but many buildings there are co-ops - and financial requirements for subletting a co-op are often much more restrictive than a commercial rental. And you wold have to be interviewed and approved by the board before the rental can be completed.
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Oct 24th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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I know lots of property managers that will put lawyers as last choice as a tenant . Lawyers are used to arguing over rules and details. Landlords prefer to set the rules when the lease is signed and have their tenants follow them.

Car salesmen have a double jinx...they also like to split hairs plus often have inconsistent income.

Trust fund babies are also closely scrutinized as potential tenants. Many have no concept of taking care of their possessions (or living space) and can't understand why a landlord wants the rent on time.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 05:02 AM
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As of a couple of years ago, there was a fairly set formula for determining qualifying income for a tenant in NYC, and a separate, higher formula for a guarantor.

Based on a $3500/month apt. we were told that a guarantor would need a verifiable gross income of $350,000/year. For the actual tenant or tenants, that amount was lower.

Again, this was 2-3 years ago when the economy was different.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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www.nytimes.com/pages/realestate/

It might help to check out the NYT real estate section (see above). They do a story every week on some person's hunt for an apt. in the NYC area. They also have a weekly section on a city neighborhood. I'm certain you could find archives if you're interested in the topic.

Just a note: many years ago we lived in a Glenwood rental. Their buildings are excellent... and are pretty much located all over the city. (See their ad in the Times.)
Gwendolynn is online now  
Oct 25th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Also Village Voice has good rental listings.
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Oct 27th, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Streeteasy.com and curbed.com have extensive listings by area, with streeteasy.com having the most listings.
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Oct 29th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Hello Becca,

Congratulations on your upcoming move to NYC! As a life-long New Yorker I am biased, but I must say it is the best city in the world!

I happened upon this board by googling something related and felt so inclined to comment because I see that you have been mislead by several postings in this thread.

I am a Vice President and an Associate Broker at a prominent residential NYC based Real Estate firm, Cooper & Cooper Real Estate. The parters of my firm come with Ivy league educations (they hold a degree from Harvard and a Columbia MBA respectively) and Investment Banking backgrounds.

I have transacted hundred of rental transactions (both for a fee and for NO fee) in my many years as a real estate professional.

It is an absolute fallacy that all brokers charge a fee. Yes, we do get paid for our services, of course. None of the city's brokers would run all over the city doing pro-bono work, however, HOW we get paid is where there seems to be some miss-understanding.

In this weakened economy with marketing budgets dwindling Landlords now (more than ever) have to rely on brokers to help rent their vacancies. That is why the landlord will pay us a fee in exchange for us to bring well-qualified clients to their leasing office. It is in the landlords best interest to do so. In many cases a good broker will pre -qualify a tenant so we know if someone will qualify before we bring them into a leasing office. This prevents someone from falling in love with a unit that they cannot afford.

When brokers advertise a "no fee" listing that does not mean they are working for free. That simply means that we have negotiated with the landlord to pay a fee on our behalf.

The second HUGE fallacy I have witnessed on this site is that you would be discriminated against do to your occupation as an attorney. First of all: that is against the law. "Lawful occupation" is a protected class in the fair housing laws outlined by the state of New York. A landlord can be liable for a lawsuit if it has been proven that you have been discriminated against because of your occupation. Secondly, with attorneys having a starting income of (on average) $160,000 for most large NY based firms (my firm works with some of the largest Law Firms in the New York area including: Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Dewey & Loebouf, ETC...) why would a landlord turn down an income that doesn't rely on a Wall Street bonus to qualify?

That brings me to my next point: qualifications. Despite what you may ready qualification requirements do not vary much landlord by landlord. Nor have they relaxed due to the weakened economy. Most of the city's largest landlords rely on the same formula: That is that you make an income multiple of 40-45X the monthly rent. If you are using a guarantor most landlords want the guarantor to make 80-100X the monthly rent. With Glenwood , which I have seen mentioned in this thread) the income multiples are higher....and they rarely allow guarantors.

I would love to assist you further with your move. I hope I didn't offend anyone, but this is my profession. I love what I do and I am happy to impart some wisdom on a new comer.

Best of luck with your search. Feel free to contact me if you would like some assistance.

For more information, please go to the Rental FAQ section of out website:

www.CooperCooper.com

Sarah
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Oct 29th, 2009, 09:54 AM
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What Sassafram has posted is true generally of large buildings/owners and large managing agents. There are many smaller owners or managing agents tht operte differently - and often at a lower price point.

But the overall story is correct - to get an apartment without a job - especially without even the prospect of a job - is difficult - and without a guarantor with very considerable income is not possible.

In that situation you will have to either do an illegal sublet or a share to start with.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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Sarah, i was happy to see your detailed posting about NYC management, UNTIL I saw you posted your own web site. That's advertising, and is not allowed here.
lcuy is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Many apologies! I did not post with an intent to advertise. I just wanted to give Becca another resource for NY rental information. I am a newcomer here and was unaware of such policies. I didn't intend to break the rules...very sorry

~Sarah
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