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Turn the table on your NYC apartment rental broker!

By Val Schultz | Published on June 2,2010 at 8:06PM

 Grab the steering wheel and turn the table on your NYC apartment rental broker!

The summer is here and it seems like everyone is renting or at least testing the Manhattan real estate scene for a possible deal. It's kind of like when you're considering the purchase of a new dress or car and all of a sudden you see it everywhere! If you listen up on the subway and streets of New York City everyone is buzzing real estate. The problem is that when you listen or look closer, you don't see enough happy faces.
If all rivers lead to the sea, in the NYC rental, and sales market for the matter, all ads leads to a broker.
Well, there are some issues, to say the least, with the NYC apartment rental scene. Or better yet, there are some pot holes on this information super highway. There definitely aren't enough traffic lights, warning signals or speed bumps. All apartment searches start online, but the problem is that even when you know where you are going, you get lost or even worse you can fall into a broker pot hole.
 Craig's list, New York Times, Street Easy, Zillow - you name it, chances are you'll end up calling a broker. Hopefully you've been lucky enough to stumble across one of the few knowledgeable and caring brokers, or you've been referred to one; (here is where I'll plug in a link to any one of the 120 Anchor Associates agents which are amongst the best trained, knowledgeable and attentive New York City apartment rental or sales agents you can find) Unfortunately not all brokers were created equally; poor training, poor attention to details or as many apartment seekers find out; many agents are only interested in "closing the deal". If what they advertise or discuss on the phone happens to be a figment of their imagination or not, seems irrelevant.
So here is a tip of advice for the common Manhattan apartment renter; stop looking for an apartment and start looking for a broker. You're bound to stumble over one anyway.
 Here is how it works from the agent's side; post an ad, get the call, work with the client and show everything that matches.
Here's how it works from the renter's side; call on an ad, realize it's a broker, try to get details about a listing that you are not sure is accurate, meet the broker and find out - A. You've fallen into a pot hole, or B. Hey, he seems nice but the apartment is not for me.
Now, if you shift your focus from the get go and decided to interview brokers instead of going fishing in what often seems like a cesspool of apartment listings, you can shift more power over to you and regained some control of the process.
Here is how I would do it; Start by asking around with friends and co-workers to see if anyone has recently worked with a good agent. Then go online, find a few more agents to interview based on the number of listings that you came across that strike your interest. Narrow it down to 3. (1 is not a choice, 2 is an ultimatum, with 3 - you have a choice.) Now make the calls. Ask the agent straight out - Why should you work with them? What value do they feel they will add to your Manhattan apartment search? What are their processing and broker fees? When are they available to show you property? Do they work weekends?    
Now, pay attention carefully; it is not so much about what they answer it is more about what you will pick up in the conversation. Is this someone you feel like working with? Do they seem knowledgeable? Were they intimidated by your questions? Were they polite? Too cocky? Too soft? - you get the picture.
After you've completed your 3 interviews, decide who you want to work with and then make the commitment. Stick to the agent you've chosen and give them a chance to do right by you. Don't drive yourself nuts by working with a few agents simultaneously. All competent brokers pretty much work off of the same data bases. If after a meaningful conversation into your apartment search criteria they haven't even come close, you've probably chosen the wrong broker. If you give a good broker a chance - they will really work for you. And hey, do you really have the time or desire to do the work of a real estate agent? I'm going to guess not...
Val Schultz - President & Founder of Anchor Associates, a premier Real Estate Brokerage firm serving New York City since 2001; Where our Passion is Service and our Focus is You!
"With 13 years of New York City Apartment rental brokerage experience, I have seen trends, peaks, lows, high's and many various shifts in the dynamic Manhattan real estate scene. I share this insight with love and will gladly respond to questions or comments you may have. NYC is amazing - Live it - Love it!" 
Next week; The top 10 mistakes clients make that cost them their dream Manhattan apartment rental.

 

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