Should You Hire a Broker to Find a Rental?

Finding a decent place to live in any city is important. With rental rates increasing, paying too much and getting too little can happen to anyone. You could spend a lot of time and money finding the perfect apartment for you and your family or you could hire a rental broker and save time while letting a professional find your next home.

What is a Rental Apartment Broker?

Queens Apartments

So what is a rental broker anyway? In short, a rental apartment broker is a person who connects landlords or property owners with renters. If you are looking for a place to rent, a rental apartment broker can be a big help. Rental brokers are often familiar with a particular market and have many resources they can rely on to find their clients apartments. They offer convenience and can save you time and money when searching for a place to live.

Why Would You Use a Broker?

If you have ever searched for an apartment either in your area or in a new city, you know how difficult it can be. There are many fake ads on the local rental sites and property owners who will tell you that their property is right for you when it actually isn’t. A rental apartment broker will cut through the hassles, the fake ads and the landlords who don’t have your best interests in mind and find you a perfect new home. Many brokers have access to some of the best properties in the local markets and often have first pick of the choice ones. This is an important benefit as you will be able to find the best value for your money.

Do You Really Need a Rental Broker?

To find out if you really need a rental broker for your next apartment, there are four important things to consider:

City

If you live in a crowded city where there are many others looking for the same apartment you are, a rental broker can help you be first in line on many properties that haven’t hit the market yet.

Time

Using a rental apartment broker is much more convenient and will save you both time and money. A rental broker will do the searching, they will set up the viewing appointments and they will find you the best rental apartment in your price range. You won’t have to take time off from work, nor will you have to travel back and forth to a new city to find a place to live.
So is a rental apartment broker right for you? If you want to save time and money and find the best apartment for your needs, then the answer is quite simple. Find a rental broker that can help you find your next home today.

Searching For Queens Apartments? Call 516-495-9196 For Your Questions.

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Giant, 1,000-apartment buildings are taking over NYC

Bigger is better — even when it comes to New York City’s residential buildings.

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Since 2008, the twin tops of the 1,359-unit Silver Towers rental have punctuated the sky above Midtown. In Queens, jumbo-sized Linc LIC leased out all of its 709 apartments two years ago.

But now, the city has reached a tipping point. More than 10 colossal rentals with 500-plus units — several housing more than 900 apartments — either just opened or are in the development pipeline.

Here are just a few.

The fall-opening American Copper Buildings at 626 First Ave. in Murray Hill, a pair of swooping structures connected by a skybridge, have 761 units. (One of its architects, from the prominent firm SHoP, once likened the design to Beyoncé and Jay Z dancing.)

In Long Island City’s Court Square, The Hayden, which will house 974 apartments in a glassy high-rise at 43-25 Hunter St., has topped out. Rockrose Development reportedly aims for completion next year.

Then there’s Douglaston Development’s 2 N. Sixth Place in Williamsburg. The waterfront tower’s 550 pads will go up for rent next March, with studios anticipated to start from $2,400/month.

The activity comes in response to high demand for rentals from both landlords and tenants. For developers, it’s a safer investment. Apartments rent faster than they can sell, and that means steady income for their builders. Hordes of tenants also get a sweet deal: new buildings packed with amenities — and no financial commitment.

“The younger generation is more mobile, more comfortable renting and not aspiring to homeownership the same way past generations [have],” says Doug Steiner, who’s developing The Hub, a 750-unit building on the rise in Boerum Hill. “Empty nesters, too, are returning to the city.”

It’s those fresh-off-the-boat urbanites — from recent grads to retirees — who are growing the city’s population. Experts say NYC has added between 50,000 to 60,000 inhabitants annually over the past several years. And they need somewhere to live.

“The population of New York City has expanded in connection with its job growth,” says Jeff Levine, of Douglaston Development, which is behind 2 N. Sixth Place, and that’s one main reason he notes for developers rushing into the rental scene.

But mega-buildings wielding hundreds of apartments also pack an urban-planning punch. There’s a chance these huge rentals will decrease density in their immediate vicinity — if they’re higher-income folks with smaller households or younger people without families, says Patrick Lamson-Hall, a research scholar at NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. Still, he adds that nearby resources, like public transportation, could feel increased pressure from masses of residents.

Impacts aside, the market is still hot. Need proof? In Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, both rents and listing inventory have risen as developers continue to rise to the occasion, the latest Douglas Elliman numbers show.

Rental apartments have become ever more desirable — there’s less stigma [to not buying a place], and more effort in the design and amenities,” says Urby CEO David Barry, who is developing the 900-unit Urby Staten Island. Studios begin at $1,760, one-beds at $2,255 and two-bed spreads at $2,925.

The expansive project will include 35,000 square feet of retail, an on-site farm with farmer in residence and a communal kitchen with a resident chef.

Urby Staten Island is far from alone in its over-the-top perks. American Copper’s three-story skybridge fits a 75-foot pool, hot tub, a bar and lounge for residents and private terraces atop. Meanwhile, 70 Pine St. in the Financial District, which has 612 rental units priced from the $3,000s for a studio to over $9,000 for a three-bedroom, has a 23,000-square-foot La Palestra gym and a restaurant and lounge from acclaimed chef April Bloomfield planned for its pinnacle.

Luis Ortiz, a broker star of “Million Dollar Listing New York” who revealed he’s leaving real estate in last week’s season finale, moved into the massive 1,175-unit Sky rental at 605 W. 42nd St. — the largest single-tower residence in the US — in January. He doesn’t notice any crowding and attributes that to the building’s flow. For one, different elevator banks lead to various parts of the 71-story tower, so there’s never a backlog.

“You don’t feel the size of the building,” he says.

But he does notice that renters turn out to take advantage of the building’s amenity spaces. He especially enjoys the Carmelo Anthony-designed basketball court — where Anthony is frequently spotted — as well as the indoor and outdoor pools.

“I think the reason this building is getting leased so quickly is entirely because of the experience,” Ortiz says. “When [prospective renters] are touring the pool and they see tenants in bikinis and bathing suits, and there’s a DJ there, that’s an experience.”

Some note it’s only possible to offer such luxurious add-ons in a large building.

“The scale of a 500-plus-unit job allows you to create a highly amenitized property in an economically efficient way,” says Jeremy Shell of TF Cornerstone. His company is hard at work at 606 W. 57th St.: a 1,028-unit rental near the Hudson River that will reportedly have over 37,000 square feet of retail, parking and a basketball court. (TF Cornerstone has not released official information on the property.) A smaller building, earning less rental revenue, couldn’t afford to devote that much space to non-income-generating activities.

Fancy extras also satisfy the needs of increasingly discerning tenants. “Residents have a certain expectation, within the higher rent brackets, that a certain level of amenities be included within the building,” says Martin Piazzola of AvalonBay Communities, Inc.

AvalonBay is behind the development of the 500-unit AVA DoBro and the 326-unit Avalon Willoughby Square rentals, which are both housed in the same 58-story Downtown Brooklyn building. They share a pet spa, roof lounge, parking and 24-hour gym. Pricing begins in the $2,500s and the $2,600s for a studio, respectively.

But these features aren’t just for the well-heeled. In many of these mammoth buildings, a percentage of their apartments is earmarked for affordable housing, which is lotteried off to renters who fit income caps. They’ll pay a fraction of market rent. Along Queens’ southern waterfront, Hunter’s Point South Crossing and Hunter’s Point South Commons together house 925 permanently affordable and moderately priced rent-stabilized units. Completed in 2015 and fully leased, their amenities include a farm, gyms and kids’ playrooms.

Developers are also targeting areas that had little new development before. Take Gowanus, whose infamous canal banks are now home to Lightstone’s 430-unit development at 365 Bond St. (A second construction phase will provide an additional 270 units.) Studios begin in the mid-$2,000s, while townhouse units on the upper end start in the mid-$7,000s. Leasing launched in May; renters claimed over 100 units in less than two months.

“It was natural for people want to live there,” explains Lightstone’s Mitchell Hochberg. “Because of the proximity to Manhattan and the fact the neighborhood sits in between … more mature neighborhoods [like Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens].”

But living large does have its challenges. “Our main concern is scalability,” says Eran Chen of ODA, the architectural firm designing an 800- to 900-unit complex on the site of the former Rheingold Brewery in Bushwick. “How do you bring about a project that is massive and not make it [an overwhelming presence]?”

In short, you broaden its reach to affect the neighborhood as a whole — not just residents.

“We came up with the idea … to overlay an old European city that consists of little streets and courtyards,” he adds, “[to] create a totally new scale that would be an addition to the community.”

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relocating

Relocating to New York for Work? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re moving to New York to take a new job, there’s one thing to know, right off the bat: everything costs more than it does in other cities, from food and rent, to transportation, utilities, and healthcare. According to consulting firm Mercer’s annual survey, NYC now ranks 11th in the world when it comes to the cost of living. To put that ranking into perspective, San Francisco ranks 26th, Los Angeles 27th, Chicago 34th, D.C. 38th, and Boston 47th—no other U.S. city cracks the top 25.

relocating

But renting in New York is unlike anywhere else in the country. A fast-moving market and lots of competition from long-time New Yorkers and transplants make this seemingly reasonable task an epic challenge—and an expensive one. Go to PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator and plug in your current city and New York, for comparison. You’ll likely see the bar on the housing category skyrocket. Here’s a comparison between LA and NYC, for example:

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No matter where you’re moving from, a little research beforehand will save you a lot of heartache. Prepare yourself, and you can ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Deciding Where to Live: Do Your Legwork

New York City’s diverse neighborhoods offer something for everyone. Spend some time researching the different neighborhoods available to you. This will not only help you determine which is the best fit for your lifestyle, but also what you can afford. Just be sure to keep your expectations realistic when searching. As previously mentioned, your salary may not go as far in New York. If you’re unwilling to downsize dramatically, consider roommates or moving further afield in Brooklyn (e.g. Crown Heights or Red Hook) or northward in Manhattan (e.g. Washington Heights and Inwood). This will of course affect your commute time, so take note of what transportation options will be available.

Parking and Transportation

If your job will be in Manhattan anywhere south of 96th Street, your best bet is to ditch the car. Unlike job centers such as Los Angeles where employers provide dedicated parking for their employees, New York’s business districts are notoriously inconvenient and expensive to drive and park in. The great majority of residential buildings in the city also do not provide parking spaces for residents. Therefore, if you decide to keep a car, you will likely be at the mercy of street-side parking rules and regulations or will have to pay hefty fees to one of the city’s relatively few garages.

Securing Your Apartment

New York City’s real estate market is red hot right now. Currently Manhattan’s vacancy rate is just 2.3 percent (Douglas Elliman, June 2016). Compare this to just above 5 percent in Boston, 3.8 percent in Chicago, and roughly 3 percent in Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the latest available data. High demand makes for a tight market, and in NYC the best-priced places will often be snapped up within days of being listed. If you fall into the camp that is looking for a deal, be prepared to act quickly.

  • Be ready for a credit check.
  • Have your most recent bank statements and pay stubs handy. A common rule is that a prospective renter should earn at least 40 times the monthly rent.
  • Be prepared to hand over a hefty deposit within a day or two. Rent, security, and any brokerage fees are due at lease signing in the form of certified funds such as a money order and cashier’s check.
  • Have a guarantor in place if your finances are shaky.

New York City has numerous laws in place to protect tenants. This means it is incredibly difficult for a landlord to evict a tenant even if they haven’t been paying rent. This is really a landlord’s only opportunity to ensure a tenant will make good on their agreement.

The Role of Real Estate Brokers and No-Fee Rentals

A large percentage of buildings and landlords will opt to use brokers. Brokers are a way for landlords to vet tenants. One important thing to keep in mind is that both tenants and landlords pay fees for a broker’s services, unlike Los Angeles, Chicago, and D.C. where the landlord covers the cost. No-fee brokers do exist, but what’s in their chest of properties will differ from their paid counterparts. You can also skirt this extra cost by searching for no-fee rentals through dedicated sites.

While relocating to New York City may sound overwhelming to you, it’s not impossible. Remember, millions before you have successfully made the same move. On top of that, there truly is no other place like The City That Never Sleeps. You’ll be living in one of the world’s most diverse urban centers, and you’ll also be able to count yourself among the world’s crème de la crème in nearly every industry. In the words of Frank Sinatra:

If I can make it there

I’ll make it anywhere

New York, New York

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