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Discussion Starter #1
We will soon be looking for our first NYC apartment and I'm not sure whether to use a broker or not. I know everyone says to use Craigslist, but isn't it easier to just get a broker and have them line up showings for you? Is a broker worth the fee, in general? We're going out for one week in June to line up a place we can move into in August or September, and I don't want to waste a bunch of time setting up appointments with unknown quantities from Craigslist who may or may not show up. Am I being too paranoid? Tell me how it's done, so I don't look like a total idiot when I get there. (I'll just look like an idiot here.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">)<br><br>
Oh, one more thing: we are moving out there without jobs lined up. A lot of the apartment listings I've seen want you to show paystubs to prove your income. Is it a bad idea to just offer a whole year's rent up front, or will the landlord take our money and change the locks? We're selling our house here, so we <i>could</i> actually pay for a year up front, though we'd prefer not to. . . WWYD??
 

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how funny, I was just reading on this very topic last night-- here is a link on renting in NYC <a href="http://howtorentinnyc.com/index.php?page=home" target="_blank">http://howtorentinnyc.com/index.php?page=home</a><br><br>
if you can afford the broker, I would recommend it. Can't comment on renting w/out a job though, not something I would know about! GL.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ooh, what a great site! Thanks! I especially like the section about debunking rental myths. Very informative.<br><br>
Anyone else have an opinion on this? Or a broker you recommend? We are looking in Inwood/Wash Heights, or Riverdale (maybe). We'll look in Brooklyn also but already have a reference for a broker there.
 

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Moving to NYC without a job lined up!? Are you crazy!? Yeah...me too...been there, done that and with two small kids and all my stuff in a UHaul. (fortunately, this was a return to NYC after a small haitus in Maine, so we were already familiar with neighborhoods we liked and knew how tough it would be).<br><br>
I can guarantee that no broker will want to talk to you if you don't have jobs lined up. DO NOT offer the entire year's rent up front. You will want to talk to for-rent-by-owner places and then offer three or four month's rent. They/you will want to get all that money in a cashiers/bank check (not cash...not money order...unless you just like to give away your money).<br><br>
Yeah, you are going to run into some horrid people who will try to scam you, but for the most part, I think that folks are honest and will just want to know that YOU are honest, too.<br><br>
If at all possible, I would recommend subletting for the summer until you get something lined up. I know of two people in Jackson Heights Queens who are subletting their condos for a month or two (not sure on the price, but I can ask if you are interested). JH is a nice neighborhood that has an easy commute to Manhattan on the train and several fun playgrounds. You might want to check out Sublet.com for that option (which is worth paying for their service - I have found full-year rentals from them).<br><br>
Good luck! Do you know what borough(s) you are interested in?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, no job. I guess we're crazy. Dh is a freelance artist and I've been a substitute teacher/barista/actress/office temp/SAHM. Neither of us has had a "real" job for years and years. His degree is in Fine Arts, mine is in Theatre. No one who knows us understands how we live.<br><br>
We will have money from selling our house, and we have excellent credit - does that not matter? I don't understand why a broker wouldn't want to talk to us unless we have "jobs." I mean, one of us could go get some shitty retail job for $10 an hour and then have paystubs to show off, but dh makes a ton more than that freelancing. We had a similar dilemma when we bought our house - we were paying $1k/month in rent but no one wanted to set us up with a mortgage payment for more than $500/month. It was crazy - "no, you can't have a mortgage and pay $900/month - you can't afford it. You must continue paying $1k in rent." So stupid! We did finally get a house and a mortgage because we found a broker who was, in my dh's words, "a snake, but a snake for our side." He did what he had to do.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> And we've paid every mortgage payment on time and have flawless credit. So there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> (And yes, I realize NYC prices are much higher than that - this was four years ago in Denver.)<br><br>
This is so hard!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead">
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh, forgot to respond to part of your post (sorry! Got carried away with frustration - not with you, mindfulbirth, I appreciated your post, just with the situation.)<br><br>
We can't go out for the summer because dh has classes lined up through mid-August (he teaches summer art classes) and dd has dance classes through then, too. I'll check out the sublet option, but I'd rather be able to actually move our own stuff in somewhere.<br><br>
Right now I'm looking at Inwood or Riverdale, but last week I was hot on Jackson Heights or Astoria. Brooklyn is possible too but I think the nabes we'd be interested in are too pricey (Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, etc.). Though Astoria is pretty pricey, too. I guess we are still pretty open.<br><br>
I explained our situation more on this thread: <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=600493-" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=600493-</a> and also in my blog (in my sig).<br><br>
Thanks for advice, keep it coming. I can take it!
 

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ya know, it wouldn't hurt to ask a broker what he/she thinks of your situation and what might be required. they are always happy to talk to prospective clients. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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when we moved 2+ years ago, we used craigslist -- no broker -- and found a place for rent by owner. we told our landlord where we worked and what our job titles were but he didn't require any more than our word. we didn't waste any time on duds -- we saw only those places that specified square feet in their posting. it was a pleasant experience and we took the second place we saw (and the first place would not have been a disaster, we just didn't prefer the floor plan).<br><br>
when i moved to nyc 6+ years ago, i paid $100 to get access to a website that posted no-fee apts. it took 10 days of pounding the pavement, during which time I saw some serious dives before landing a great deal in a neighborhood i really liked. it was in a tenement (not as gross as that sounds) and they required a letter of verification from my employer about my salary, etc.<br><br>
i recommend craigslist. i was opposed to a broker on principle and i didn't have the $ anyway.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lillibetsy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7928712"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">No one who knows us understands how we live.</div>
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Ooooo...*I* understand. I used to be an actress-turned-Theatre- Manager and DH is a standup comic/startup magazine editor!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">We will have money from selling our house, and we have excellent credit - does that not matter?</td>
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Actually, yes, that does matter a lot. Good credit will definately get you into places.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I don't understand why a broker wouldn't want to talk to us unless we have "jobs."</td>
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Make copies of your last two year's tax returns that show how much ya'll made in freelancing..that becomes your "pay stub". If you have proof of paying your mortgage (cancelled checks, etc), that is helpful. Even a copy of your bank statement. Don't put all this info in every single financial packet you make up (you should make six or seven packets), but have it in your bag to pull out in the event you find a place you reeeeeally like and they are hemming and hawing for more financial info. The more you can have at your fingertips to give them the day you fill out the application, the better. If you don't already know, a good place goes fast, so if you like something you have to jump quickly.<br><br>
Just a word of warning if you decide to go with the western Queens neighborhoods...stay away from Weichert and Harari Realty companies. Reichert will charge you $50 just to go look at a place (non-refundable, even if you don't like the place or the landlord doesn't like you). Harari has a very bad rep and has even been on some TV news show's "Shame On You" segment. They have a lot of Astoria/Sunnyside/Woodside/JH listings on Craigslist, so you have to be carefull. The listings look wonderful with big apartments and low prices..but they don't actually EXIST.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ooooh, thank you! That is all such good advice! Thanks for being so specific about the financial documentation, too. I wouldn't have thought of that stuff. And I have seen tons of stuff from Weichert online - good to know that they are not reputable. I see a lot from Citi Habitats and Ardor, too - any word on them?<br><br>
I was thinking I should really stop saying "we don't have jobs" because that isn't <i>exactly</i> the case - I have a hard time framing things on my own terms instead of thinking about what others' expectations are. Okay, that didn't really make sense. I guess I mean that I'm afraid others view us in a certain way, so I think of myself that way. I don't know if that makes sense either. Hmmm.<br><br>
PiePie, I will hope for a similar experience to your craigslist one!
 

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Especially if you have "self-employed" lines of work, then I would actually not say that you don't have jobs lined up yet. I would say that you run your own businesses, which you're relocating to New York City. Then they'll want 3 years worth of tax returns, from which landlords and the brokers will deduce your expected incomes. It's not as simple as them calling up an office to show that you have a salary job lined up, but it has worked for us. (Of course, we also have LLCs established in New York state).<br><br>
Or... I'm renting a great 2 bedroom from some friends (they live in the upstairs) while our apartment is being renovated, and we'll be moving out around then. So pm me if you want a $2000ish place in Park Slope Brooklyn (9th Street and 7th Avenue) and I'll put you in touch with them!<br><br>
Citi Habitats can be fine, they're big, seem reasonably honest, but are a huge corporation. So if you talk to a broker there you don't like, you can probably find another in the company you do like.
 

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Since you said you are looking in Brooklyn, I should mention that you could expand a bit and still be terrific neighborhoods (much more artist, freelancer friendly ones even<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ) -- we live in Clinton Hill and moved from Fort Green (6 block move <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> and we LOVE it here. Prices are not low but they are lower that the Slope or the Heights.
 

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i just worked with a fantastic broker after a bunch who showed us things we couldn't afford, too small, etc. as if i would miraculously have more money or have one less child simply because they wanted me to take the apartment.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Dh is a freelance artist and I've been a substitute teacher/barista/actress/office temp/SAHM. Neither of us has had a "real" job for years and years. His degree is in Fine Arts, mine is in Theatre. No one who knows us understands how we live.</td>
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new york is full of people like you (like us!) and this broker helped me look only at places where the landlord/mgt. co might take a year up front or additional security in lieu of pay stubs, etc.<br><br>
this city is full of unemployed people living in apartments they can't afford! you're a step ahead in that you actually have good credit.<br><br>
PM me if you need broker info.
 

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We used Craigslist for Riverdale, and we found that many of the listings there were also cross listed with brokers. That's what happened when we looked at our current place - we had an appt. with the broker in the morning and also with the landlord (through craigslist) in the afternoon. It didn't take us much to realize when we got here that it was for the same apartment, but sicne the broker showed it to us, and we wanted it, we had to sign through him. But in the end it worked out because he negotiated the rent down by $100 which was terrific despite the broker's fee.<br><br>
A lot of people who want more space from the Upper West Side go to Washington Heights or Inwood, and a lot of people from Wash Heights or Inwood who want more space go to Riverdale. From Riverdale people still want more space and they often to across the river to New Jersey or north into Westchester once they're looking to buy a house.<br><br>
I"m sure you wrote it somewhere, but why on earth are you moving from the west coast to the [email protected]?? I have lived in NYC for a long time and am an east coaster, but our dream really is to move to the Pacific Northwest (or Israel). But since our families are here, we're sort of set on staying.<br><br>
We took a 3 year hiatus out of NYC and LOOOOOOOOVED it. NYC is such a grind. Everything - schools, housing, shopping.<br><br>
Rockland County sounds much more AP friendly to me than the Bronx or Westchester or even any other borough of NYC. There are healthy foods stores, a Waldorf School, and most important above all: green space.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>RachelMolly</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7954041"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Rockland County sounds much more AP friendly to me than the Bronx or Westchester or even any other borough of NYC. There are healthy foods stores, a Waldorf School, and most important above all: green space.</div>
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We have all this in Brooklyn also! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
I LOVE NYC personally and while it is not for everyone, my idea of hell would be moving to the Northwest (and I have been many, many times to many places) = nice place to visit but I would hurt myself if forced to stay <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I'd like to put in a plug for my old neighborhood, Ditmas Park, as a good alternative to Park Slope. Lots cheaper, and still an easy commute. I miss my old apartment on Westminster! It was hard to give that up, though for the most part, I don't miss NYC.<br><br>
I say go with a broker, tell them you're freelance/self employed. I don't think you'll have a problem. I personally had a much better experience getting a good apartment through a broker, once I finally bit the bullet. I sure looked at some dives before that, though! I wish I had a nickel for every so-called one bedroom I was shown that was really a studio with a big closet. Um, in order to qualify as a bedroom, in <i>my</i> mind, it needs to be big enough for an actual <i>bed</i>.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"><br><br>
ETA I forgot to mention the Park Slope Food Coop. You <i>have</i> to move somewhere convenient to that! Seriously. Nothing like it anywhere else.
 

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Hi-<br>
I thought I'd chime in as well, we just moved (2 blocks) last year, dh is a freelance scenic artist so we brought some recent pay stubs from jobs, but also brought our tax return which showed gross income for the year. If you can do something similar AND you have good credit AND offer last month as part of security you should have no problem. Brokers are such a rip off IMO, but even going through craigslist you still have a 50% chance of getting stuck with one as we did. It sucked I think we had to pay 10% of the entire years rent just for showing us the apartment. We live in Red Hook, Bklyn, it's getting expensive but we've been here for a while and LOVE IT!!<br>
Good Luck with your move!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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Hey, that's great news! Hope it all works out for you. I think NYC IS the greatest city on earth.<br><br>
Let me know if you need help with writing your exemption. NY is a lot trickier because you have to "explain" your religious beliefs.
 

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You know, so many of the people who say that about NYC haven't actually been there. When relatives visted me there, they loved it, and that astonished them. It took me years to get my mother to visit, and when she finally did, she was blown away, and couldn't wait to come back.<br><br>
What are the cross-streets of your sublet? I'm pretty familiar with the area.
 
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