In five days I will reach my three month anniversary as a real estate agent. I have seen moderate success, being in the midst of my fourth lease transaction. I have managed to gain one exclusive listing which is generating lots of interest but no offers yet. Anyone want to buy a coop on Prospect Park?
I find that most people in New York don't think much of brokers. Worse yet, they seem to be so lost in their own world that they think my time is theirs. They don't seem to care that we have no salary and don't get paid unless a transaction is completed. Worse yet, they think we are people to be avoided.
Obviously someone out there has given us agents very bad reputations. I wonder who that could be? The nature of the business doesn't give me a lot of time to get to know people and show them they can trust me. It's sometimes a very lonely job.
If I could tell people one thing, it's to be prepared with your paperwork before you come out to look. I have actually had people come to tell me "I didn't know for sure that I would find something I liked, so I didn't bring my paperwork". And they kind of act like petulant children, as though they were shooting ME in the foot instead of themselves! I understand that people want to pull back and think about things, but if I had a dollar for each person I've met that wanted to think about an apartment, called me the next day to apply, and found out that it was taken already, I'd be able to buy lunch & dinner for a week!
My friends, you MUST be prepared with the following items when you go to look for an apartment in New York City:
copy of photo ID
bank statement showing funds
two paycheck stubs or letter from CPA certifying self-employed income
copy of most recent tax return
letter of employment stating position and salary.
All of the same above for a guarantor if you need one!
People ask me: why do I need all of this? Quite frankly, it's because landlords want to make sure that you are a good tenant, and without all of this stuff, people have found ways to game the system. In New York, the landlord-tenant courts are notoriously friendly to tenants, so if a landlord gets a deadbeat, he may be forced to wait up to 6 months to get this person to move out if he pleads hardship. THAT's why they ask for all that stuff!
Do all landlords require all that documentation? No, but all of them require some of it. You never know which home you will fall in love with, so it's best to bring all of it.
You know, if I were to show up at an appointed time with no idea as to what's available, how much it costs, or where it is, you would say that I'm wasting your time, right? Well, you're wasting my time if you show up unprepared to apply for an apartment that you like. So be kind to your local New York City broker and get all this stuff together before we meet. I promise you, I will hold up my end of the bargain!
Check out my latest listings (and what I look like) at http://www.wentonrealty.com/hanna