NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

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Anonymous User
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NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:42 am

From my little bit of research it seems voluntary and just a "do you have time to look for apartments yourself?" thing, but I would like to hear from people who have already gone through the process whether or not it makes getting an apartment much harder? Do some landlords only deal with agents or something?

Also, coming out of law school and presumably renting before I get a pay stub, how difficult is it to qualify for an apartment? What is that process like? Big down payment?

ruski
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby ruski » Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:00 pm

you can go either way. I caution that brokers fee can be pretty large (15% of first years rent if you are looking in manhattan). so if you can find an apt without a broker that would be ideal. there are a few rental websites that have apartments directly from landlords such as zenly.com where you won't pay the 15% fee. you can also try craigslist but it is full of fake postings and scams

you could try a broker if you don't have the time to search online, but beware because they have a pretty sleazy rep here. they tell you anything you want to here to show you an apt and get you to fill out an application. for instance I was expressly telling brokers I wanted a renovated apt and they kept showing me apts that haven't been updated in 50 years. they'll also show you apts out of your price range and can be pretty pushy.

also apartments in new york go pretty fast, so you have to be really quick, esp if its a good deal.

mvp99
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby mvp99 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:57 pm

this site could be helpful - https://www.walkscore.com/

iworkforlsac
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby iworkforlsac » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:53 pm

streeteasy.com

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pertristis
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby pertristis » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:00 pm

While the fees can be large, there are two things to think about. First, if you have a rental budget, just subtract the fee, amortized over a year, from your rent. For instance, if your overall budget is $3000/month and the fee is 15% of the first year, you can spend around $2600 a month on rent. (3000 = x + .15x)

Second, if you stay in your apartment for more than a year, it becomes more worth it, as the fee is amortized across however many years you stay.

Of course, as someone above said, make sure you find a good broker.

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acrossthelake
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:53 pm

pertristis wrote:While the fees can be large, there are two things to think about. First, if you have a rental budget, just subtract the fee, amortized over a year, from your rent. For instance, if your overall budget is $3000/month and the fee is 15% of the first year, you can spend around $2600 a month on rent. (3000 = x + .15x)

Second, if you stay in your apartment for more than a year, it becomes more worth it, as the fee is amortized across however many years you stay.

Of course, as someone above said, make sure you find a good broker.


If your overall budget is $3000/mo, you can afford to live in fairly nice no-fee apt buildings.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:27 am

You can go without a broker but even if you find a listing on your own, and it's listed by a broker, you have to pay the fee.

Honestly, I hate brokers, but for someone moving to Manhattan for biglaw, I'd probably recommend biting the bullet and working with one. No fee listings are hard enough to parse even when you know the city and the market well enough to spot the bait and switch listings, let alone when you're moving to NYC for the first time.

TheColonel
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby TheColonel » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:05 am

Be sure too look into whether your firm covers relocation expenses (assuming you're not in NYC now) including brokers fees. At least some definitely do: http://www.stblaw.com/your-career/associate-life/compensation-and-benefits.

Edit to add: http://abovethelaw.com/careers/law-firm ... rst-years/

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banjo
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby banjo » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:17 am

This thread lists some of the paperwork you should have ready before you start apartment hunting: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=216611.

Some of my friends have used this site to find places: http://www.nakedapartments.com/

Also, read over your rental agreement. I've seen landlords attach some weird riders to standard lease agreements.

tuhaybey
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby tuhaybey » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:27 am

Brokers are a total scam, but yeah, it is a major pain to try to rent without paying one of them off. They control like 90% of the decent housing in Manhattan.

Yes, not having a pay stub will be a problem. Manhattan landlords generally want to see 12 months worth of income from a job located in NYC paying at least 3-4 times the amount of your rent. They don't seem to put much weight on an offer from a firm. Most likely, you will need co-signers. And, depending on how wealthy your co-signers are, you will also need to put down a big deposit. If your co-signers are middle class and you have an offer for a lockstep salary, you're probably looking at paying something like your last 2-3 months of rent up front.

I don't know your financial situation, but IMO too many NYC first year lawyers fall into the trap that I did- you think you've got this huge salary coming and it is time to live the good life, so you get a nice 1BR in Manhattan. Then it turns out that between rent and loan payments and the cost of living in NYC, you barely scrape by and you're never in that apartment anyways because you're working all the time. IMO, you're better off starting out either living outside of Manhattan or in a studio until you've paid off your loans.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:03 pm

pertristis wrote:Of course, as someone above said, make sure you find a good broker.


Implying that such a thing exists

ProSe
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby ProSe » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:00 pm

If you hire a broker you are an idiot. Do some research on luxury apartment buildings in your desired neighborhood (streeteasy is a good site). Once you figure out the locations, visit each building and ask the doormen where the leasing office is. This is essentially what brokers do anyway, but they charge you for it.

mvp99
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby mvp99 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:14 pm

So what is it exactly what brokers do that entitles them to 15%?

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Old Gregg
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:00 pm

mvp99 wrote:So what is it exactly what brokers do that entitles them to 15%?


put a stranglehold on the rental market so that they can continue to get $$$ while doing almost nothing.

best tip for NYC renting: HAVE CASH. and if your credit sucks, HAVE MORE CASH.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:17 pm

Having a thing stating that you're gonna make 160 is totally sufficient to use streeteasy, filter by neighborhood and by no broker fee-only

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JamMasterJ
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:19 pm

mvp99 wrote:So what is it exactly what brokers do that entitles them to 15%?

Apartment brokerage is a vestage pre-internet. The only thing they're any useful for is relatively niche things, but most of that's available on the paid version of streeteasy. If you're most people, the regular version totally suffices.

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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:54 pm

I've lived in nyc my whole life, including pre- and post-school, as do almost all of my college friends, so I've been through this a few times and have watched lots of other people do it too. Having said that, I strongly disagree with the people here saying you need a broker. In terms of the my friends' apts' quality/prices, I'd say those that used sites like Streeteasy have the edge over those that used brokers. There are lots of nice, convenient no-fee buildings these days. It does require time to look though, and some flexibility about when you move in helps too.

Qualifying depends a lot on the building you end up in. Some are a total breeze, some not so much. Depends a lot on the type of building. For example, renting in a co-op (rare but not unheard of) sometimes requires approval by co-op board which can be a huge pain and is pretty invasive.

shock259
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby shock259 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:00 am

Many (probably most) rentals in the city require you to use a broker and pay a broker fee, regardless of how you find the unit. Find the unit yourself online? Neat. Doesn't matter. If a broker is listing it, you'll have to go through them. You can try to look for no fee units, but 1) it's really hard to find decent ones, and 2) they are going to be swarming with people putting in paperwork immediately.

I'm not saying don't try, but it is probably going to be much harder than you think. And unless you have friends you can crash with for a little while, probably isn't worth it (hotels are expensive as shit).

Check to see if your firm pays for brokers' fees. Mine did (even though they are cheap about everything else). Saved me about $4k.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:59 am

Yeah I don't get all these "just use streeteasy" replies. You can use streeteasy all you want but most of the listings on there are listed by brokers and you have to pay them if you want the apartment. Brokers don't work "for" you. They work for the landlord. You just pay them. That's life in a ridiculously tight rental market. Brokers are rent seeking scum but they are largely inevitable unless you are willing to be extremely flexible.

ruski
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby ruski » Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:48 am

the above is correct, when you're using streeteasy your really just using a broker as 99% posts are by brokers and youll hit with the large brokers fee. there are few websites popping up such as http://www.zenly.com that don't allow regular brokers to post but rather get listings directly from property managers. I think their fee is only like 5% of first years rent

keg411
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby keg411 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:03 am

FYI, most buildings will rent to you with your offer letter as long as your bank account isn't totally empty. I had zero problems getting approved and no one even asked about a co-signer. So I wouldn't worry about this too much, despite what the other poster said. Although it's possible that I was just "lucky," I didn't know anyone else who needed a co-signer either.

I also agree that searching streeteasy for "no fee" rentals only (or any other "no fee" rental site), is probably the best, even though it isn't easy. That said, it's way harder to do if you have limited familiarity with the city and the rental market, so I can see just biting the bullet and using a broker in that case, since it's what I ended up doing. It's even better if your firm will pay for it (mine didn't).

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acrossthelake
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Re: NY- Do I need an agent. Explain rental process.

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:22 pm

My building waived proof of employment when I used my law school email for the app. Other buildings accepted offer letter.




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