If you’ve ever lived in New York City, you know the allure of the no-fee apartment. While this term is practically unheard of throughout most of the rest of the nation, New Yorkers are painfully familiar with the reality of having to pay a broker’s fee in order to find the ideal residence.
What Is a No-Fee Apartment?
In the Big Apple, real estate is such a coveted commodity that many times it can be a challenge for an individual to even find a suitable, safe apartment with all the amenities they desire at a price they can afford. Enter brokers – these agents help you find your ideal living space, but at a premium charge. Broker fees in New York City can range from 8.5% to a whopping 17% of one year’s rent. This can equate, on a $1500 apartment, to more than $2500 – payable at the time the lease is signed, making it a painful hit to the wallet. If you plan to stay in a place more than a year, it could be worth the fee but if you’re not sure how long you’ll live there, you’re better off putting that extra money into a better home.
No-fee apartments are those which allow you to move in without employing the use of a broker. This can mean a couple of different things – either the landlord rents directly to tenants without the use of a broker at all, or the building owner is the one paying the broker’s fee instead of you, the tenant. The no-fee apartment in NYC is commonly known as the Yeti because while tales are occasionally passed through the rumor mill, very few people actually know if they really exist, because they haven’t seen it happen in real life.
What Can You Do?
In order to find a true no-fee apartment, you have a couple of options:
- Become familiar with the neighborhoods you’re considering moving into and walk door-to-door (yes, literally, on foot, going to one building at a time) to find out if the apartments are managed by the landlord directly or through a broker. The best prospects with this method are larger buildings with onsite rental offices. Just watch out for extra costs, like a doorman, being built into the price of the rent.
- Wade through listings online, using respected websites like BuildNRate.com to root out the legitimate, verified possibilities.
However you choose to try to find a no-fee apartment in NYC, it will require commitment and a considerable amount of legwork. One thing you can do to mitigate some of the effort required to find this holy grail of living quarters is to do research on the areas with the most no-fee options. For example, Brooklyn Heights is said to be the best prospect for avoiding the fee in the Brooklyn area. Identify several places you’d consider living and look up the statistics on broker’s fees as well as the likelihood of being able to rent directly from a landlord. Happy hunting!