Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Location. Location. Location.

New York City real estate brokers have it made – particularly those dealing with apartment rentals. The basic principles of supply and demand are laid bare in New York City real estate. In simple terms, there is incredible demand and very limited supply. In the interest of full disclosure let me say that I am not a broker but rather a recent victim, er, client.

In other parts of the country this economic principle is completely reversed. For example: My first apartment was in a nice suburb of Detroit. To find the apartment I went to a friendly broker and told them what I could afford, what amenities I was keen to have and what neighborhood(s) I wanted to be in. They punched all of this into their computer and - whizbang - I had four appointments for that very same day. And it was all free! That’s right, there is excess supply and the broker fee is paid by the building owner.

If the gargantuan rents and miniscule square footage in New York aren’t bad enough, renters are gouged by a broker fee too. I recently handed over an obscene amount of cash (yes the broker demanded payment in cash!) to a broker. Let me share with you the services I received in exchange:
  • I received the inconvenience of going to the brokers office to fill out a credit check
  • I received the inconvenience of going to the brokers office a second time to sign lease
  • I got the apartment
That is it. The broker didn’t make any phone calls or appointments for me, didn’t drive me to the apartment and show it, didn’t extol the benefits of Southern exposure or proximity to restaraunts and such. Nothing. The guy didn’t even offer me a chair to sit in to fill out paper work. I had to stand awkwardly in a doorway reading legalese in fine print before signing away most of my rights as a tenant. I'm not even sure why I bothered to read the lease… I’d have probably taken the apartment regardless of what was on it.

All he did was post an ad in Craig’s List, watch clamoring fools like myself hustle and beg for the apartment, and then finally accept a fistful of Franklin’s. Ahh the powerful forces of free market economies… How I wish I were on the other side of this equation.

All of this is to say that we are movin’ on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky… More realistically we're movin' on up the block to a modest, though significantly larger two bedroom nearer my beloved Astoria Park. It also has a patio with a grand view of Midtown Manhattan, an underground parking garage and best of all is pet friendly... Yes, Harry has a new home.

Methinks I'll be rather busy and will have a sore back.

"Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them."
-Henry David Thoreau


Mark MacLeod said...

Sounds really nice. Congratulations to you and Weezy.

Yvonne said...

you should write an article about all that for an NY paper - too funny - and too true.

ah, the two-bedroom step.... :)

DebbieJRT said...

congrats on the new digs.

Jung said...

They're not called Realtwhores for nuthin'!

I hate everybody in the real estate business. Brokers, lenders, title insurance companies, contractors, and lawyers.

Buying/renting/building a home is a nothin' but a tag-team robbery by each of them, not in any particular sequence of course.

But glad to hear that you found a place you like. That's a rare feat in NYC!

Cute dog btw!

Phil said...

Sounds great. Congratulations on finding your new home.

stephruns said...

service vs price is in no relation in this town!!!
My hubby and me are recalculating again and again if it would make sense to become another luxury condo invader...but i've been so sick of paying a high rent and having no heat in winter...why not spend 400 dollars more and have a normal comfortable life!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How's Harry doing?