August 3, 2004

News from the front

Jenn's thoughts:

I looked through 200 craigslist listings yesterday... probably 120 of them were obvious bait and switch. I called 50 that seemed real/reasonable, of those exactly 2 turned into places worth seeing. This is depressing.

I saw one place on 34th and 10th Avenue. It was a true loft and not a bad space but it only had windows on one side and was way too dark for a baby. I saw a second loft in Tribeca that was being rented "as is" which meant unpainted and dirty (you could barely see out the windows). It would have been ok to clean it up, but it was also too small. Both of these were in the 5000-6000/month range.

The broker today was a nice French guy. He said 2 kinds of brokers handle rentals:

1. Many successful brokers have relationships with buildings or a specific client. They'll put up an ad, show an apartment 20 times, and one of those people will bite. They have no desire to traipse around the city with you and don't actually care about you and what you want... so if you are not interested in that specific apartment your relationship is over. Most brokers who handle rentals work this way and it makes sense that they would.

2. The much rarer breed of broker actually does care about you and will try to find you what you are looking for, but these guys get burned constantly because even if they show someone 20 apartments there is no guarantee that that person won't see an ad somewhere else and the 21st apartment will be handled by someone else.

Brokers who sell have it much easier because they follow you around wherever you go...

posted at 12:28 PM by raul

Filed under:


08/03/04 05:01 PM

I haven't used these people myself, but you might want to look here:

08/04/04 12:46 PM

Try again. (I think they take the site down entirely when they update. Rest assured it is a real place, I walk by the offices all of the time.

08/04/04 02:33 PM

Ah... that did it. We're setting up appointments now. Thanks.

08/09/04 07:08 PM

Hey, this is Craig from craigslist....

and I'd like to hear more about the bait and switch guys, I need to learn how to identify them, so we can ban them.


08/09/04 10:44 PM

It's pretty simple. A broker lists an apartment that looks great, but when you call it's actually not available. They then offer to show you a bunch of other (often less interesting) apartments. While some of these might legitimately be apartments that have been rented, you can tell that many of them never were available (pictures are too nice or are reused day after day). The vast majority of ads in New York (unlike SF or LA) are bait and switch broker ads.

Also many apartments that are listed as no fee actually do have a fee. There are a variety of tricks to hide the fee (closing fees and extra large deposits are 2 techniques). These fees are also often brokers added by brokers or individuals posing as landlords.

Much of this could be solved simply by having a brokers section and a "for rent by owner section/no fee section" in which brokers when discovered are banned. While it's not necessary in most cities, in new york it would solve lots of problems.

Add your thoughts: