Finding A New York Apartment Rental

To say that the apartment rental market in New York City is tight is an understatement. If you want to find an apartment in Manhattan at a reasonable rental fee, you will need to give yourself plenty of time and use every means at your disposal. Manhattan is the center of commerce for the city and having an apartment in close proximity to where you work is a luxury that only a few can afford

However, Manhattan is only one of the five different sections or “boroughs within New York City. The other four are; Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. You can find apartment rentals that are lower than in Manhattan, but be aware that the further away you live from Manhattan does not automatically mean a lower rental fee.

Renting an apartment in New York City is a full time activity for many people, there are factors beside money that has to be put into the equation; there are apartment buildings that do not permit pets or who cater to a particular type of renter, i.e., corporate apartments or professional apartments.

There are ways to find an apartment rental without spending money to a middleman, such as a real estate broker or apartment rental service. You can use a variety of these methods together or on their own, the bottom line is getting the apartment you want, for the rent you want to pay, in the area of New York City where you want to live.

If money is a prime consideration when you are looking for an apartment, then steer clear of brokers, apartment rental services or any other paid service. Instead, you can go online and visit and find multiple listings for all types of apartments, usually the rental fees for these apartments are well below the apartments that are listed in the classified section of newspapers.

The classified sections of the major newspapers in New York City are full of apartment listings, but most of them are advertisements placed by a real estate broker or apartment rental service. Hint: look for the ads that say “for rent by owner” or “no agency calls”, which means you will be dealing directly with the landlord.

There are several apartment rental services that do not charge you a fee; they are paid by the apartment owner. Be careful here, there are too many horror stories from apartment seekers being mistreated by unlicensed individuals posing as business agents for non-existent apartments.

Another good way to find an apartment rental in New York City is to visit the neighborhood where you want to live and tour the area. This is a great activity for a weekend; you can get a sense of the atmosphere and find the neighborhood newspapers which usually have an apartment for rent section.

If you absolutely must use a real estate broker, choose one that has an office in the area where you want to live. A note of caution is required dealing with brokers, New York City has several laws that apply to housing, make sure to be prepared for your appointment at the brokers’ office.

Quickly and Easily Find a No Fee Apartment

There are so many apartments in NYC that you can rent that it can take up to 40 hours a week to find the perfect one. Particularly if you would like to live in the posh upper east side. If you want to have any chance of renting a brownstone, walkup, or elevator apartment there, you will need to know a few tips before you start.

Not only is it very tough to find apartments in NY, but if you want to limit your search to no fee apartments in the upper east side, you’ll quickly find that you’re going to need a broker to find the deals for you. A broker is able to negotiate good rates and keep you informed when an apartment becomes immediately available. If you think that you’ll be able to snatch up the good apartments before someone else will, well, you may be in for a surprise.

The big issue with brokers, however, is the fact that they charge a minimum of 15% for their services. While this may get the job done, it defeats the purpose of searching for a no fee apartment.

Luckily, times are changing, and there are many landlords that are willing to pay the broker fee in order to get a renter into their building and paying rent. So how do you find those no fee apartments that you’re looking for in the upper east side that will pay for the broker fees? It’s simple – either ask the broker or use a listing service.

A broker who is worth their weight in salt will have a list of apartment buildings that will pay for the broker fees. However, this is going to severely limit the number of options you have available. If you use a listing service, you’ll have all of the available no fee apartments at your fingertips.

The Differences Between Fee Apartments and No Fee Apartments

Fee vs. No Fee Explanation

For starters one must understand that the overwhelming majority of apartments that are available at any given time in Manhattan are FEE apartments. What this means is that if you use a broker to find your new apartment, the broker must be compensated for their work. They must charge their client a fee; this fee is normally 15% of one year’s rent (for a $2,500 apartment a 15% Fee would be $4,500). In most markets in the country, this fee does not exist, instead agents are paid by the apartment owner to find a qualified tenant; New York City is an anomaly in this sense.

Being a broker, I know that, yes, there are clients for whom it makes sense to pay a fee (due to time constraints, among other things), as well as agents who have worked diligently and responsibly for their clients and deserve a 15% fee. That being said, while working as a broker, I have often found apartments for my clients in 10 minuets for which they end up applying and renting. For this I am paid a 15% fee, totaling in the thousands of dollars. Is it fair to charge a client a rate of $3,000 an hour, if the end result is the client has a new apartment with which they are happy? That is for you to decide

There are two ways to go about avoiding paying a fee.

One way is for you, the potential tenant, to rent an apartment directly through an owner. The other is if an owner offers brokers an OP (owner payment) for an apartment, thereby compensating the broker so they do not need to charge the tenant.

An OP is normally equal to one months rent, or 8.33 % of a year’s rent. Again, the reason an OP can mean no fee to the tenant is because the broker is being compensated for their work by the owner, not by you.

The owner offering an OP to the broker allows the broker to advertise the apartment as “No Fee” but in reality the tenant doesn’t necessarily get a better deal. The owner, losing a month of rent to the broker will increase the rent during the other months to compensate this loss.

To explain this better I will use 2 apartments for rent as an example. Apartment A and apartment B are in the same building with the same size, same view, same amenities. The difference, apartment A is being advertised as a no fee apartment for $2,000 because the owner is paying an OP. While apartment B is being advertised as a fee apartment for $1,835. Over a 12 month lease both apartments will cost you $22,000 – no matter which you choose once factoring in the fee you have to pay a broker on apartment B.

With that said, the general public will be more interested in Apartment A because they do not have to pay the fee themselves.