Fake Ads for New York City Apartments: Bait and Switch

So what is the most frustrating thing about apartment hunting in NYC?

Fake ads!

They give renters unrealistic expectations, and can lead you down a time-wasting rabbit hole.

Very simply, some agents find it more efficient to make up ads for apartments that don’t exist to lure you in. Once they have you baited, it is time for the switch.

As an agent, dealing with other agents fake ads is frankly my least favorite part of the job. We have a database of almost every apartment in NYC, and if I am spending energy trying to figure out the history of a fake ad, that’s time I could have used making calls to find you real options.

Fake ads also start popping up when you are looking for something that is either very rare or does not exist. When you have a tight budget in popular locations, fake ads are all of a sudden everywhere.

People don’t really do fake ads for 6 thousand dollar one bedrooms, because there are plenty of real ones. But 1800 no fee studios in swanky neighborhoods? 2500 two bedrooms with huge living rooms near NYU?

That is when the fakes start popping up.

This is where honest communication between agent and client is key. If you really need a bigger place than your budget allows, discuss more affordable neighborhoods, or perhaps switching from elevators to walk-ups.

Unfortunately instead of making hard decisions about priorities and compromises, some clients jump on the web and start showering you with phony listings. It’s hard to blame them, but it rarely moves things in the right direction. I also like to keep things positive, and having to explain that there are a lot of fake ads, makes me feel like a Bachelor contestant dissing her housemates.

There are websites that are reasonable to use in other cities, but in NYC are fake ad breeding grounds. Realtor.com, Apartments.com, to name a few. I get a big chunk of my business from Rent Hop, but there are also a lot of stale ads there too.

Localize boasts all their ads are honest, last week the featured property in the facebook ad was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with, stunning arched windows in Tribeca for 3200 dollars. You do the math. People can advertise a magic golden unicorn in the basement, and there is little that can be done.

Some agencies actually instruct new salespeople to never delete an ad, just redirect clients to something else when they call. There is an apartment I rented in January, somebody’s fake ad for it was there months later. I wrote the agent saying please, my clients don’t need people buzzing their door to see their apartment, a month later, it was still there!

Agents will slightly change the number of an address, to try to hide what they are doing. I once got a call from a client at 7 AM, because the EXACT SAME APARTMENT she was applying for was ACROSS THE STREET BUT THIS ONE HAD A LAUNDRY ROOM! Nope, it was a jazzed up fake clone.

If you want to search I like Line City, or ask me to set up a customized drip for you in my two data bases.

The realization that some real estate ads are fake is a hard one, it’s not the better side of our industry, or humanity for that matter.

However it’s one of the most important pitfalls to avoid, especially if you are looking in a competitive category and have limited time in NYC.

#kindnesswins

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