8 Truths About NYC Real Estate Brokers: Beware!
Eight important facts and ways to protect yourself.
7. You don’t really need a broker.
They don’t do anything except walk you into buildings and charge thousands for it. They don’t help with the lease (that’s what your lawyer is for), and they don’t help you bargain (see point 5 above).
If you’re a renter or a buyer, you can go directly to many buildings and skip the broker. There are hundreds of rental buildings in NYC that accept walk-ins and will show you the apartments. Often, they even give one or two months free! But if you go with a broker (using your real name), and the building is offering two months free, then suddenly the best you’ll get is one month free and no broker fee – or worse, no incentives at all.
So spend some time calling around and asking what they have available and if there are any incentives, like months free.
8. Go can rent in lots of great buildings without a broker.
No-fee apartment buildings managed by large rental management companies are always better. You don’t need a real estate broker to rent from them, so the “effective rent” (rent with fees added or renter incentives deducted) ends up being less expensive.
Unlike renting from the owner, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll jack your rent much beyond market value each year (…but remember to always check online reviews, as some management companies are more ethical than others). And unlike a private landlord, they can’t legally kick you out before your lease ends when their son decides to go to NYU and they need the apartment for him (yes, that happens!)
With a big management company, issues that need fixing in your apartment are guaranteed to get fixed fairly quickly, and you can expect your rent to stay at market rate. Just make sure that your broker doesn’t walk you in the front door of one of these buildings, because the second they do, you’re on the hook for commission you could have avoided. (Sleazily, brokers often advertise for no-fee buildings without specifying the address, and then steal the building’s ‘first-month-free’ offer away, as commission, once they walk you in.)
New York City is a great place to live. It’s full of incredible restaurants, interesting people, gorgeous buildings and art, etc. It’s also the most competitive city in the world. Make sure you do your research and stay sharp so your New York experience is a good one.
Want more tips? Check out our NYC apartment hunting tips (they’ll save you a lot of time and money!)