Can You Find A Home In New York Without A Broker?

Can You Find A Home In New York Without A Broker?

Whether you are moving to the Big Apple for the first time or simply relocating within the city, the experience can be intense. Every year, approximately 50,000 people make the decision to move to New York.

The opportunities that the city offers are many, and perhaps, you have found a great job opportunity that requires you to move. Well, this might not be as straightforward as you might have hoped. New York is infamous for its brokers and the exorbitant fees that they charge.

Many people cave in and budget for paying a broker when planning a move. However, what if you didn’t have to do so? In this article, we will investigate if a broker is necessary to find a home in New York.

We will also look at the various alternative methods that you use to try to find your perfect New York home.

Some Brief Context About Brokers in New York

First of all, we should define what a broker is and what they do in the real estate market. A broker is a person who connects people looking for places to rent with places to stay. A broker will usually know of a number of rental properties for a range of budgets.

Many of them will also assist landlords in staging the property and ensuring that all the paperwork is done correctly. For these services, they demand a fee.

In a city like New York, this fee can be considerable. Many brokers charge 15% of the annual rent, while others ask for a flat fee. $5,000 – $7,500 is not an uncommon amount to fork out in broker fees.

Why Do People Choose to Use Brokers?


This is the primary reason that brokers are able to get away with the massive fees that they charge.

New York is expensive, and many people don’t have the resources to go house hunting in traditional ways. It also doesn’t help that many landlords simply prefer to work with brokers so they don’t have to deal with logistical work.

You can choose to search for no-fee apartments if you don’t want to include a broker, but this can be tricky. Only 20% of New York City apartments are no-fee ones. This means that it can be tough to find a place to stay if you are on short notice.

You will have to bide your time and hope that something opens up quickly. If you are searching for a place to stay during the summer, success is even less likely.

What Other Aspects Make Moving to New York Challenging?

Before we look at how you can make finding a home easier, let us look at some of the other challenges you might face.

Hire Movers From New York

If you are moving from another city, you should plan well for the transportation of your belongings.

Having a mover from outside New York who isn’t familiar with the location can make things extremely clumsy. According to FlatRate, the process of parking a large moving truck in the busy streets of the city can be intimidating.

Your truck is likely going to get honked at and yelled at for blocking the way. Moreover, many buildings in New York are old, and the corridors and stairways can be narrow and tricky to navigate. Hiring a local mover from New York may be a far more sensible option.

Budget Wisely For Big City Life

Chances are that you already know how expensive New York can be. Some time ago, it was only the 7th most expensive city in the world. Today? It ties the number 1 spot, along with Singapore.

People moving to New York soon realize that even a simple trip to the grocery store can eat up a chunk of their wallet. It is extremely important that you have a solid budget and learn how to live frugally. For those lucky enough to land a plush job, perhaps you can take things a little easier.

What Can You Do to Counter These Challenges?

When it comes to dealing with the high costs of brokers, there are a few options available.

A. Contact Landlords Directly

It often feels like the days of classifieds are over, but you would be surprised to see the number of landlords still using them.

It is possible to find landlords posting on Craigslist, Facebook groups, and other online communities. You can get in contact with them and confirm that a broker isn’t going to be part of the deal.

B. Try Online Rental Platforms

If contacting landlords directly sounds like too much work, then consider signing up for one of the many online rental platforms. StreetEasy and Zillow have become popular options for people looking to escape brokers in New York City.

On these platforms, you should be able to filter apartments in such a way that you only see no-fee apartments.

C. Network Effectively

Finding an apartment to rent in New York can be easier if you have the time and energy to do some networking.

Letting your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances know of your intentions can create word-of-mouth referrals.

You can also leverage your professional network, as they may have contacts who can help you.


Finding a place to rent in New York City is expensive, there’s no doubt about that. For many people, the culture of brokers can be extremely frustrating. As if the city wasn’t expensive enough, you have to deal with ridiculous broker fees.

Brokers only add to the many challenges that people least expect when they move to New York. The logistical difficulties and the overall cost of living can make things difficult for people who are not born with a silver spoon.

If one has the time and energy to invest, it is possible to bypass brokers and aim for 20% of the no-fee homes available.

Networking, online platforms, and contacting landlords can all mitigate expenses at the cost of time and patience. On a final note, remember to avoid moving during the summer, which is the worst time to find a home in New York City.

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