The Manhattan renter’s market is really like no other. The pace is lightning fast and apartments list today for a move-in date tomorrow. So when I brought a lead time of several months, no agents really wanted to talk to me – until of course, I gave them my price range.
Real estate brokers in New York City are a dime a dozen and I went through them like tick tacks – mostly because they added as much value as the one and a half calorie breath mint. So if I was going to find that perfect apartment, I knew that I was going to have to do my own leg work.
I began by educating myself on the market and in two weeks’ time, I knew more about New York Real Estate than most of the agents that I met. I conducted my search with the same focus and intensity that I approach every project in my life – I truly only have one speed.
In one month’s time, I saw over 30 apartments and with each one, I learned lessons that would give me a little more knowledge and subsequently a bit more edge for the next one.
I went to one open house and saw a total dump for $4,200. I overheard the guy behind me whisper to his daughter “what a dump” then he turned to the listing agent and said “I’ll take it for $2,800.” I wasn’t aware that you could negotiate NY City rents, but after I witnessed it, I adopted it as my own practice – which is very much in line with both working in Finance and being Ukie.
I had found a CO-OP on 9th street and successfully negotiated down the rent. But just as I was about to sign the lease, the contract on the sale of my house fell through – so I had to pass on the apartment. One month later the broker called back. He told me that the CO-OP board really wanted me as a tenant and said that I would be a great fit for the building. They were even willing to further reduce the rent. I have also come to learn that good tenants are a sought after commodity. They lowered the rent below the low end of my price range. It was a no brainier. I knew that I should sign the lease. But yet, I didn’t.
I held off the CO-OP board for one more week while the contract on my house progressed to a point where I was confident that it wouldn’t fall through. Then out of blue a real estate agent called me. We got to talking. She heard the passion in my voice when I spoke about my home in New Jersey. She asked to see the listing, so that she could get a sense of my style. She was the only agent that truly listened. The next day she called me with just ONE listing. She told me that she had found my apartment and that it was special.
What she found resembled my house in New Jersey, but perfectly placed in Manhattan right in the heart of SoHo. It was truly perfect. So perfect that I almost didn’t heave when I had to pay her the commission of 15% of annual rent -OOF!
Only kidding – it was well worth the commission. Thanks Sarah!