The Hunger Games

These are unique times in the NYC rental agent biz. Prices are lower than we ever thought possible . People are looking to grab the deals. Not everyone wants to live outside the city, we still have a vibrancy and sense of community that keeps folks energized and creative.

So now is an amazing change to grab the deal of a lifetime!

Net effective pricing continues to befuddle some. In some cases landlords will average out the rent which I think is good for everyone. I worry about how people manage a budget when they get a rent holiday three times a year but then have to pay rent the next month.

Qualifications are more important than ever, good credit is GOLD! Let me say that again. GOOD CREDIT IS GOLD. So if your are credit challenged tell your agent. Most likely they have a sense which landlords are picky. You may be asked to get a guarantor or use a third party service.

As you get ready to search, if you may need a guarantor, talk to that person about getting their paperwork ready. If your guarantor has their own business they may need a note from a CPA. Their taxes and financials may take a bit more time to gather.

So here is some good news. I am seeing low priced apartments rent much more quickly than any time over the past two months. Things under 2K are hot. One leasing agent told me she had 13 leases last month!

Viva NYC!

Will those bargain NYC rents go up next year?

I said I didn’t have a crystal ball!

So clearly a lot has happened since we last spoke.

Currently it is a renter’s market the likes of which has not been seen in years.

So why is getting the perfect place a challenge?

The prices may be lower but the system is the same. Landlords have gotten choosier. While the rents may be lower they are still looking for well qualified tenants with good credit and qualifying income.

Then there are the CRAZY pricing schemes. I actually saw a place that has a two year lease, with a 500 dollar jump. Where do you go when you are at the bottom of pricing? One of the thing that makes clients crazy is a lot of net effective pricing. That means the landlord is discounting the rent by averaging in free months, and the regular rent. Some landlords are beginning to average this over a 12 month basis which has historically been rare.

Tenants looking for long term stability wonder what the catch is. The truth is nobody knows what will happen in a year. People are coming back to the city for sure, but are they outpacing the inventory coming on the market?

The one little nugget is that we are going in to a time of year that less inventory came on the market, for the next few months fewer leases expire. That should slow the rush of apartments on to the market. For now if you are looking to rent, realize those free months are a chance to save, invest, even vacation. Try to budget to the gross rent and you will be sitting pretty no matter what.

Hunting for a New York City apartment: just the basics

So you are planning to move to New York City!

Congratulations. Now is a wonderful time to be apartment hunting.

Here are some things to understand.

Unlike almost everywhere else in the US, there is no MLS that everybody uses.

There are a number of websites, some from real estate agencies, some from media companies, but believe it or not there are apartments that are not listed on any public website, and sometimes those are the best deals.

Each landlord has their own style, and application requirements.

The most important thing to understand is the difference between open and exclusive listings. Exclusives work more like home sales do in most of the country. Properties have a listing agent. You can have a separate agent represent your interests. That agent can schedule your appointments, teach you about the market, and help you negotiate and apply.

There are also open listings, which do not have a listing agent. There might be a leasing office, or your agent may arrange access directly with the landlord. Again, unless you are someone who studies real estate companies, having an agent who is familiar with landlords is a huge help.

Many apartments right now are listed with a “net effective” rent. That is a rent that factors in a one time offer of a number of weeks or months free. The gross rent is the true rent paid, and the difference in the number can be pretty dramatic. The net rent is the average, and represent the value.

While we may not have an MLS we do have the Real Estate Board of New York, and agents who are members must co-operate with each other and allow the sharing of listings. There are a number of small agencies which are independent, those agent can decide whether to co-operate with other agents or not.

Many people begin the process looking at apartments online, instead of looking for an agent. That is ok. But if you truly want a smooth apartment search, I suggest finding an agent that you like and asking them to set up your schedule so you see a variety of apartments that suit your needs.

It is so common that people hit town with an idea of what they want and that changes. It’s our job to keep you on the right path, or suggest if you need to consider options you might not have though of, like a different type of building or neighborhood. When I meet a new client I have a pretty good idea if their wants, needs, and budget will work or if they are going to have a hard time.

I once spoke to a woman who had a daughter who had been living for a month in a hotel, unable to find an apartment. If you are planning to come search I advise having at least one weekday. Not every landlord allows weekend showings. I like people to have two or even three days. It is really hard to see more than 6 buildings a day. You get tired, and your decision making ability is stressed.

If you are moving to NYC, feel free to reach out. Suzanne Goldklang. or 929-429-040. I can’t wait to meet you!

What does net effective rent mean? NYC apartment rental guide.

So the most confusing thing to folks looking to rent in NYC for the first time is our tradition of net effective rent. This is a form of landlord concession, a discount or promotion for new renters.

Right now a large percentage of rents that you see on sites like StreetEasy or RentHop have promotional prices.

So a very typical net effective rent is one month free– calculated this way: Rent multiplied by 11 divided by 12.

So what confused people is that there is also a gross rent. The net reflects the value over the term of the lease, the gross is what you (usually) pay each month.

So what people ask all the time is…why can’t I just pay the net rent. I do see this with some very large landlords, especially on longer term leases, but is is VERY rare in most of Manhattan. Many landlords want to make sure the tenant is able to pay the regular rent not just the promotional price.

So my advice.. .think of that free month as a chance to pay down debt or take a vacation. I used to almost never list net rents, but now it is becoming so common and expected, fewer people find it confusing.

Moving to NYC? Want an agent who will have your back? Email or call 929-429-0240.

NYC Real Estate: Open for Business!

So a bit of me wonders if there is anyone who showed an apartment at midnight!

We are back open for business, legally phase two starts today!

We worked hard, we shared videos, we did virtual, we tried our best!

Honestly I learned so many new skills.

But I am glad it’s over.

Let the games begin!!!!

Coming Out of the Dark

It is finally here. Cue Gloria Estefan.

It is exciting, real estate is not a video business it is a property business. I hope people continue making videos of exclusives, it really does help narrow things down for the client.

But we now really get some work done, which requires, most of the times, showings.

So what should you do if you are moving to NYC?

Understand that we have pictures and videos of exclusive listings and some larger buidings that are open listings.

(Want to know the difference? I have a very detailed post!)

So before you get to town look at a some videos, learn what a post war vs a pre war apartment looks like. As always, learn the neighborhoods, learn the styles of buildings. Your agent will not be able to be as spontaneous, in many cases showings will have to be planned in advance. Don’t wake up on Saturday morning and decide an hour before your showing start that you want to change the agenda, it will be hard. Now more than ever we need folks to do homework before they get to NYC.

I do wonder if walk ups, townhouse units, and small buildings will be more popular or if people will go back to their old tastes.

We have a YUMMY new listing , tell me what street compares with Mott Street in July?

As always if you need to break a lease, find a place to live, or rent one out I am here at 929-429-0240!

An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer

If you are of a certain age, the commercials for Syms are probably etched in memory.

That old tagline come to mind when thinking about the current NYC apartment rental market.

It’s true rents are down about 6 percent, and there are a lot of apartments out there.

But something else I have noticed is that when a client picks a place they are not alone. The best bargains, the best layouts, the best locations are not going unnoticed. There are no tumbleweeds.

So what is up?

I have been working quite steadily thought the pandemic. I kept waiting to get to do spring cleaning and catch up on TV. I just watched the Homeland finale last week. All those people who were home from work, zooming in their mom’s basement in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and Miami used that time to look at apartments online.

As they head back to work and back into the market they are smart and decisive.

Why? We have completely changed the way people look for a place. The old method was make an appointment, pick up some keys, and go explore. The best deals often had no pictures, let alone videos, let alone 3-D’s. I always worked with people remotely, but I was the exception. Doing video chat was considered sort of a iffy proposition for agents.

Now most exclusives have videos, even floorplans, and people have been watching. They know what they want when they see it, and often will apply without even setting foot in NYC. The expectation of transparency is higher for better or for worse.

I sort of miss the exploring, the getting to see peoples reactions, exploring cafes and parks, an apartment in NYC isn’t just an apartment, it’s a ticket to a lifestyle, and that is hard to do on youtube. But the end result is folks who have spent 2-3 months searching and know a deal and what they want.

Speaking of apartments, I have some lovely no fee 2BRs on Lexington Ave. in Kips Bay/Murray Hill looking for their people!

If you need a NYC real estate agent call me– 929-429-0240

Making NYC a better place through real estate

Last year I spent Memorial Day by myself in a gutted about-to-close office.

My first broker had said,”Don’t take memorial day weekend off!”

So I didn’t. I had clients and did not realize that for the most part New York City real estate takes holiday weekends off.

I even ticked off a broker who I really respected calling during dinner. (Don’t disturb a frenchman’s dinner!)

My office was moving, and I was probably changing brokers, so it was a challenging time. I did get an application in Friday, another client applied then changed her mind, my MIT grads looking for a 6 bedroom turned out to be challenging, and I got to spread out my stuff on a folding table.

I find this holiday weekend even more unsettling. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, face to face showings are not allowed, and even the loopholes are tricky. Last month we did virtual deals, now clients are confused. Many agents are showing. I am competitive by nature and it is HARD to turn away business.

But I thought about my early days, and my belief that I can make NY a better place through real estate. I love showing off public gardens, art galleries, independent cafes. I love getting people to be part of a neighborhood where they can make a contribution to a community. And sadly, skirting the law to get a deal done doesn’t fit.

Will rents go down in NYC?

I don’t have a crystal ball.

Not really.

But there was a moment today where I seemed like a fortune teller.

A very nice client said to me right now my moving plans are a bit flexible.

Which I answered means: July 15.

She said, “Yep.”

July 1 and 15 seem to be very popular move dates, and with the uncertainty about everything people are starting early.

Landlords don’t want to hear it. To them time is money.

So will rents go down in NYC.

Probably, a bit.

Remember NYC real estate is actually a bunch of separate marketplaces. I do a lot of downtown 2 bedrooms. I have seen concessions here and there, and as always a mover with good qualifications who is going soon has power. But while there are some perks and discounts, nobody is giving away the store.

There are a lot of apartments on the market for 6/1 and we are running out of May. All those July movers may get some of those listings. We should start seeing 6/7 come on the market in the next few weeks.

September 1. We will see what happens with NYU, the New School, Cooper Union, and Columbia University housing. Will dorms become less popular? Will people want to live in smaller buildings. Will the September wave fizzle? Stay tuned.

Need a kind, honest, and hardworking real estate agent? Email Suzanne!

How to rent an apartment in New York City during a pandemic

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

So people ask all the time how the pandemic is impacting the real estate market. In rentals there is a dramatic dichotomy. Two trains running on different tracks.

On one track it is Christmas in May. We are seeing discounts that you might normally see in December.

There in another factor in play. Some landlords want to get deals done, other are feeling cautious, concerned about the financial stability of new tenants. I take a lot of pride in getting people approved.

This week we had someone rejected for a decent but not outstanding credit score. I knew instantly it was a symptom of the pandemic, a real estate cough. I get it landlords are frightened, making that tell tale swerve like people trying to socially distance on the sidewalk.

If I can get people matched up with a rare deal you know you are changing their lives for the better, it’s a great feeling. But there is an uneasy realization, those landlords offering enticing specials might be reluctant to “put a ring” on it.

We have a nice opportunity for someone who needs a nice 1BR on the Upper East Side. 309 East 61 #10. My latest listing.

Along with all of you we spend our days zooming and face timing and keyboarding, video has become real estate gold. It is a big change from the world where sometimes the best apartments had no photos. Getting customers excited to see mystery apartments was part of the game. Now it is a scavenger hunt for video.

Ironically one of the skills that no longer counts is the ability to sniff out a deal without seeing pictures, right now if a tree falls in the forest and nobody films it, it ain’t gonna rent.