It was a hellish experience.
Let me explain why I was so shocked.
I've moved plenty in my life- grew up military and spent the first five and a half years after college in the Air Force. When you are in the military, you get 7 days of special, doesn't count against your normal vacation days leave to find housing. If you're buying, of course, you take a few extra days in the months before and look at places.
My parents have taken apartments sight unseen. My mom and dad bought a house after having just my dad go look at it-mom only ever saw it on the internet. I rented a place that I'd only seen a mirror image of, and I have rented a place that I had never seen (I was in Colorado and moving to Alabama and
Now, when we moved to New York, I expected it to be harder, because of the size and all. What I didn't realize is how the "system" tries to milk you out of thousands of dollars.
We looked first in Brooklyn. We saw some places on line and printed out the fliers, and then we also arranged to meet with a Realtor. They're called brokers. I'm assuming because their goal is to make you broke. The brokers come with fees. The fees are usually a percentage of the annual amount you would pay on a given apartment. I don't remember the exact percent, but some how it always managed to equal just about a month's rent. You would pay that at the same time you paid your security deposit. Most places available could not be viewed with out a Broker's involvement. Trust me, we looked on Craig's list and any other site we could find. The few places that did not involve a broker looked, even on the internet, like shoe boxes in crappy areas. (I think this had to do with the fact that we weren't looking at complexes, instead we were looking at brownstone type apartments or even a highrise with apartments owned by individuals rather than a company, as you'll see in a moment we had better luck with other types of rentals).
We saw some nice places in Brooklyn, but the frustration involved with getting from Brooklyn to other places which we knew we would regularly need to go (ie my in laws) was too much. And frankly, the idea of having to pay a month's rent to a broker was hard to swallow.
Fortunately for us, not every place is connected to a
All I know is, if you're moving to New York City, don't fall for the Broker thing. There are plenty of other ways to find a place if you're willing/able to take your time.