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How to Find an Apartment Without Paying a Brokerage Fee

As if finding a decent apartment in New York City wasn’t expensive enough, renters are also faced with paying a brokerage fee.  NYC brokers use many tactics to squeeze every penny of apartment searchers.


New York City, United States - August 30, 2015: People getting in and out of the subway in Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

Are there any alternative ways to find an apartment, without engaging a broker, avoiding the brokerage fee, and ultimately save money? Below are some of the possible ways you can use to find an apartment without the help of a broker:

First, do your research. Gain a comprehensive knowledge of the process of renting an apartment in NYC and then obtain an up-to-date rental listing. The best and easiest way of doing this is to go online and search for relevant websites. One such source of information on renting process in NYC is RDNY.com’s renter guide. You can find it at:  RDNY.com’s THE Essential Guide for smart Renters.

There are some other, similar sites to search for an apartment:

  1. CribRater (Everything on here is no fee)
  2. NY Bits
  3. Craigslist
  4. StreetEasy

Many of these sites allow you to find apartments that don’t use brokers. You’ll have to uncheck the option “Broker” or “Broker fee”, then expand to other advanced options like neighborhood, square-foot, commune time etc. and search away. Alternatively, go straight to the source and check out the landlord’s website of listings where you will never have to pay a fee.






Moreover, before venturing into an apartment-hunt without involving a broker; you should:

– Start your search at least one month (preferably 3 or 6) before you actually want to move

– Use your social networks for referrals and leads (friends of friends of friends can be a great source for finding sublets, un-listed apartments, or owner-listed places)

– Assess your budget and credit Score

– Complete all of your paperwork and leave no detail unchecked: bank statements, photo ID, job offer letter (if any), guarantor’s ID etc.

– Spend time in the neighborhood/area where you want to find an apartment

– Keep an open mind and be clear about your requirements

– Do your research – yes, we listed this a few times already. Good research is essential for finding the best price, and cutting out the brokers