NYC Apartment Agent

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Posts Tagged ‘90-square-foot apartment

How to Avoid Craigslist Apartment Rental Scams

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NYC apartment buildings. Photo by Bruno J. Navarro.

There are a few steps to avoid apartment rental scams.  (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — In the eternal quest to find the best apartment deal in New York, some would-be renters are falling for brazen scams.

Never mind the unscrupulous licensed types who might attempt bait-and-switch tactics to make a quick buck. One increasingly common flim-flam involves con artists posting Craigslist ads for vacant apartments they neither own, nor have the authority to rent.

Real estate professionals “across the region say they’re seeing more people fall for it, partly because the scammers are no longer just luring victims from afar; they’re now setting up appointments with unsuspecting renters and showing them the homes before disappearing with their money,” according to a LoHud.com story.

In a New York Daily News article, one criminal in Queens swindled “a dozen would-be renters by placing a phony ad on Craigslist for an apartment in Sunnyside that didn’t belong to him.”

While I’ve previously shared a few tips on how to spot and avoid apartment scams, which are worth a look, here are a couple more that helpful readers have passed along:

  • Ask for a business card. Any reputable real estate agent will have a real business card. If you have time, check out the website and see if the agent is listed on it, or call the main number. Of course, sometimes it’s possible that we’re out of cards. If that’s the case, you can ask for the next item.
  • Ask to see the agent’s pocket card. By law, every agent in New York is supposed to carry a state-issued ID card while working. It looks much like a driver’s license, and it lists the agent’s name and company. Many doorman buildings require both a business card and a pocket card before an agent is allowed to show an apartment. Not having a card could be a tip-off that something is askew.
  • Meet the agent at his or her office. At least the first time, it might be a good idea to see where an agent works. This works not only to avoid rip-off artists but also to get a sense of the company’s professionalism (and whether you can file a formal complaint if something does go terribly awry).
  • Don’t deal in cash. Without a record of payment or a way to track your hard-earned money once it leaves your hands, it might be difficult to track down a swindler after the fact. Insist on using a credit card or cashier’s check for the deposit and application fee. If the person trying to rent you an apartment balks, take a walk.
  • Use common sense. If an apartment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Truth is, there are very few four-bedroom apartments under $400 or even 90-square-foot studios for $700 around.

If you have any questions about whether something seems fishy, please ask me or someone knowledgeable. I’m always happy to help. And if you have any suggestions of your own or experiences to share, please feel free to share in the comments below.

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Is This the Best NYC Apartment Deal?

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Is This the Best NYC Apartment Deal? (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

Once a low-cost neighborhood, the East Village now commands high rents. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

With 11-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, piles of hardcover books and views of chimneys and water towers, Arnold Warwick’s apartment is a 1,200-square-foot monument to the Greenwich Village of our fantasies. — “A Piece of the Manhattan Dream, Only $331.76 a Month,” The New York Times, January 23, 2012.

NEW YORK — Like finding a needle in a haystack, a cheap apartment in Manhattan is a rarity most people marvel over the way they would a winning lottery jackpot. But there are a few of ways to find one.

If you’re willing to live in a 90-square-foot apartment, New York living can be yours relatively on the cheap.  It comes with some trade-offs, though, like not having a kitchen and sleeping in a lofted bed.

The other way is to have lucked into a rent-controlled apartment, as did the subject of a New York Times article.

A confluence of factors, not the least of which were a charitable landlord and good timing, means that at least one apartment in a hot neighborhood cost its tenant just $331.76 per month for a 4-bedroom apartment.

Having approached a record high in January, Manhattan rents continued their upward trend in February, making the average price of an apartment $3,376, or just 1 percent off its historic peak.

The bright side? It would be more expensive to live in Hong Kong, Tokyo or Moscow.

Everyone wants a great apartment deal, but it is getting increasingly difficult to find without an experienced real estate agent.

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Life In A 90-Square-Foot Apartment

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By now you have probably seen author Felice Cohen lead a tour of her 90-square-foot apartment on New York’s Upper West Side.

The Liliputian flat, which costs $700 a month, is located in a pre-war building a block from Central Park.

Affordability has its trade-offs.

Written by Bruno

2011.04.23 at 15:41

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