Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

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oaken

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Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby oaken » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:47 pm

I've been using a broker to look for an apartment in NYC. So far we haven't found anything yet, but that's likely because I'm only interested in 9/1 leases and it's a bit early for those. However, I just saw an apartment (with a 9/1 lease) that I may be interested in on StreetEasy—a "no fee" listing. My firm will reimburse brokers' fees, but it's taxable income, so of course, all things being equal, I would rather not pay it.

My question is—are there any advantages to using a broker to secure an apartment that's technically in a "no fee" building (or at least advertised as such on StreetEasy)? For example, is my application more likely to be considered, or something? I'm just wondering if I should bring the listing to her attention, or just apply on my own, or something.

Thank you!

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bretby

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby bretby » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:20 pm

If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.

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oaken

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby oaken » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:25 pm

bretby wrote:If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.


I guess the position I'm in is that I currently have asked a broker to be looking for apartments for me, which she has been doing for about a month. Out of curiousity I've still been looking at StreetEasy on the side and I found this "no-fee" apartment which I like. I think my problem is that I'll feel like a dick if I snag this apartment on my own and then drop her, although it appears that's the best thing to do and I should just get over it.

So my question is, is there anything I'm not thinking of here—are there any advantages to shooting my broker an email and saying "can you talk with the management company for this apartment I found and get an application going for me"? Maybe they can negotiate a lower rent, maybe I'm more likely to get the apartment, etc.? And maybe the brokers' fee could be negotiated to a lower amount when they don't have to share it with anyone? Or am I just being a sucker and I should contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly.

itbdvorm

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby itbdvorm » Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:59 pm

oaken wrote:
bretby wrote:If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.


I guess the position I'm in is that I currently have asked a broker to be looking for apartments for me, which she has been doing for about a month. Out of curiousity I've still been looking at StreetEasy on the side and I found this "no-fee" apartment which I like. I think my problem is that I'll feel like a dick if I snag this apartment on my own and then drop her, although it appears that's the best thing to do and I should just get over it.

So my question is, is there anything I'm not thinking of here—are there any advantages to shooting my broker an email and saying "can you talk with the management company for this apartment I found and get an application going for me"? Maybe they can negotiate a lower rent, maybe I'm more likely to get the apartment, etc.? And maybe the brokers' fee could be negotiated to a lower amount when they don't have to share it with anyone? Or am I just being a sucker and I should contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly.


You are being a sucker. Contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly unless you signed some sort of exclusivity agreement with the broker.

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oaken

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby oaken » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:08 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
oaken wrote:
bretby wrote:If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.


I guess the position I'm in is that I currently have asked a broker to be looking for apartments for me, which she has been doing for about a month. Out of curiousity I've still been looking at StreetEasy on the side and I found this "no-fee" apartment which I like. I think my problem is that I'll feel like a dick if I snag this apartment on my own and then drop her, although it appears that's the best thing to do and I should just get over it.

So my question is, is there anything I'm not thinking of here—are there any advantages to shooting my broker an email and saying "can you talk with the management company for this apartment I found and get an application going for me"? Maybe they can negotiate a lower rent, maybe I'm more likely to get the apartment, etc.? And maybe the brokers' fee could be negotiated to a lower amount when they don't have to share it with anyone? Or am I just being a sucker and I should contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly.


You are being a sucker. Contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly unless you signed some sort of exclusivity agreement with the broker.


OK thanks, I think I just needed someone to tell that to me

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2014

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby 2014 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:53 pm

If you are in the city and able to look at no fee apartments as they come up then no reason to use a broker for them. I had one day to look and my broker lined up like 8, a couple of which happened to be no fee, and so when I chose one I ended up fucked - but the timing left me no real option.

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bretby

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby bretby » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:46 am

oaken wrote:
bretby wrote:If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.


I guess the position I'm in is that I currently have asked a broker to be looking for apartments for me, which she has been doing for about a month. Out of curiousity I've still been looking at StreetEasy on the side and I found this "no-fee" apartment which I like. I think my problem is that I'll feel like a dick if I snag this apartment on my own and then drop her, although it appears that's the best thing to do and I should just get over it.

So my question is, is there anything I'm not thinking of here—are there any advantages to shooting my broker an email and saying "can you talk with the management company for this apartment I found and get an application going for me"? Maybe they can negotiate a lower rent, maybe I'm more likely to get the apartment, etc.? And maybe the brokers' fee could be negotiated to a lower amount when they don't have to share it with anyone? Or am I just being a sucker and I should contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly.


There is absolutely no reason to feel bad.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:04 pm

bretby wrote:If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.


To clarify, the standard for landlords is usually 40x, not 80x.

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Avian

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby Avian » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:16 pm

oaken wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
oaken wrote:
bretby wrote:If a broker didn't show it to you, and the apartment is listed as no-fee, then I'm not sure how you would even get a broker involved.....Brokers are helpful for finding places and negotiating the lease, so unless you have an unusual situation (don't make 80x the rent, are using a guarantor, etc.), a broker would be of no help.


I guess the position I'm in is that I currently have asked a broker to be looking for apartments for me, which she has been doing for about a month. Out of curiousity I've still been looking at StreetEasy on the side and I found this "no-fee" apartment which I like. I think my problem is that I'll feel like a dick if I snag this apartment on my own and then drop her, although it appears that's the best thing to do and I should just get over it.

So my question is, is there anything I'm not thinking of here—are there any advantages to shooting my broker an email and saying "can you talk with the management company for this apartment I found and get an application going for me"? Maybe they can negotiate a lower rent, maybe I'm more likely to get the apartment, etc.? And maybe the brokers' fee could be negotiated to a lower amount when they don't have to share it with anyone? Or am I just being a sucker and I should contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly.


You are being a sucker. Contact the management company for the no-fee apartment directly unless you signed some sort of exclusivity agreement with the broker.


OK thanks, I think I just needed someone to tell that to me

Just to add. The deal with a broker is that they find you an apartment you want to rent and in exchange you pay them a fee. If this broker has not found you a place yet, they have not done their job successfully and you have no obligation, moral or otherwise, to pay them anything. Sometimes people will look for a place with a broker and simply won't find anything and part ways, it happens. Brokers work on contingency, they know that not every client will work out.

Biglaw Investor

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby Biglaw Investor » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:25 pm

There's no reason to feel bad. Brokers don't really work for you anyway, they spend all their time forming relationships with landlords and then focus on those properties. If the broker hasn't found a property you want to rent, then that's on them.

In my first apartment in NYC, I found a place through a broker that was "no fee". All that meant is that the management company paid the broker directly. If we had found the place on our own, the management company would have given us 1 month rent free. I know this because when we signed the lease with the management company the woman handling the paperwork asked us "whether we got the 1-month free rent or they were paying the broker".

Curious on the point about having to pay tax on having the firm reimburse your broker's fee. Are we sure it's a taxable event?

mvp99

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby mvp99 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:57 pm

Biglaw Investor wrote:There's no reason to feel bad. Brokers don't really work for you anyway, they spend all their time forming relationships with landlords and then focus on those properties. If the broker hasn't found a property you want to rent, then that's on them.

In my first apartment in NYC, I found a place through a broker that was "no fee". All that meant is that the management company paid the broker directly. If we had found the place on our own, the management company would have given us 1 month rent free. I know this because when we signed the lease with the management company the woman handling the paperwork asked us "whether we got the 1-month free rent or they were paying the broker".

Curious on the point about having to pay tax on having the firm reimburse your broker's fee. Are we sure it's a taxable event?


Yes, it's taxable income.

Does anyone know the best way to find a professional roommate, preferably working in a demanding industry?

Biglaw Investor

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby Biglaw Investor » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:20 pm

mvp99 wrote:Yes, it's taxable income.

Does anyone know the best way to find a professional roommate, preferably working in a demanding industry?


Thanks mvp99. Reading up on some of the archive posts and it looks like a lot of you got a raw deal. My barbri expenses definitely were not taxable, but that's probably because my firm paid the expense directly. I assume it would be the same thing if a firm paid the broker directly. I'm still struggling to understand why it's taxable (e.g. unlike when a firm reimburses you for your data plan) as it seems like a business expense for them.

As for a professional roommate, I found mine through craigslist.

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Re: Question about using a broker for a no-fee apartment in NYC

Postby elendinel » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:34 pm

You're being a sucker; just take the apartment you found.

Brokers are just there to help landlords find people willing to rent their apartments. If you don't want the apartments she's finding, you're under no obligation to keep using her to find more. And a landlord not working with her isn't going to allow her to interject into the application process anyway (it'd be as helpful as asking the landlord to let your mom help out with the application process), so having her show the StreetEasy apartment to you won't do either of you any good. And on top of that, the StreetEasy listing may also be listed by a different broker*, so introducing another one on top of that may work against you.

Only thing to keep in mind: Some brokers require you to sign something that essentially says that if they show you an apartment/an apartmentin a building of units, you are required to pay them their fee if you rent that apartment, or even another apartment in the building. Brokers and landlords do talk, so there is a risk of the broker figuring this out and taking you to court if you don't pay attention. So especially if you're doing independent research, be sure to know what you signed and to know whether it'll screw you over if you find some apartment through your own means.



* No-fee rentals may still be shown by a broker; usually if the apt is no-fee, this means the landlord is paying the fee. Which may or may not be a good thing (i.e., may mean there's something wrong with the apartment/landlord/area/etc. and the landlord has to pay to draw people in); do a lot of research on the area/building if it's no-fee and the broker's getting paid by the landlord.



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