Many years ago, those moving in New York City did so during one time of year–May 1. It was known as Moving Day, and only ended during World War II, sometime in the mid 20th Century. Today, the 8 million plus New Yorkers are free to move whenever they please; that doesn’t make it any easier. Finding an apartment (popular among New Yorkers) in America’s largest city, and one of the world’s most densely populated, is indeed a task. Apartments almost never stay on the market for more than two months, and when they do, it’s in the winter time. The spring and summer, however, are the most competitive and somewhat difficult to nab a place, though listings are more plentiful during the time that would be Moving Day.
Thus, many New Yorkers are faced with the decision of going it alone, using classified like Craigslist and Zillow, or commissioning the services of an expert to facilitate the process. Many are disconcerted with the latter, and question its necessity and worth. Afterall, using a broker means additional expenses for the renter (usually a percentage of the rent) alongside the payments to the actual owner for the apartment. However, working with a broker is usually much easier for a number of reasons.
The first reason, of course, is their expertise. Such is especially helpful for newcomers and out of towners, looking to make a home in the Big Apple, a la Frank Sinatra. For those who go it alone, there is a risk of exposing oneself to possibly fake listings or worse, an outright scam. Having to deal with such only prolongs the process, and adds stress to an already cumbersome situation. With a broker, there is some peace of mind that the person knows what he or she is doing, has your interest in mind and will search for things around your interest, whether it is a specific neighborhood or budget. So, especially for those without experience, working with a broker is ideal.
Another reason, and probably the lesser known, is that working with a broker increases your options. There are thousands of listing available to the public, so you may not feel that you are missing out, but there are even thousands more available properties which are only shared with brokers. Why? Because it’s convenient for the landlord or owner–the broker would be responsible for communication with prospective tenants, would handle open houses and walk-throughs, background checks, applications, and collect payment on the behalf of the landlord.
Yet, it’s not just the landlord who benefits. Brokers, having dealt with a dozens of properties and renters for a living, know exactly what building owners are looking for. This helps with ensuring paperwork is organized and processed properly for every apartment in which you’re interested. Once again, it’s a benefit of convenience–you save time by working with someone whose job it is to get you a place.
Dealing with a broker is not required–there are a number of services and resources online which enable you to find something for yourself; however, if you don’t have the time, the energy, the patience or knowledge to navigate the hectic New York City market, you should do yourself a favor and look into your options of working with a broker or company directly. Afterall, if you get the place of your dreams, isn’t it worth it?