Time Out New York did a huuuge profile on apartment living this month. Huge! One of my favorite sections, is the Broker Confessions
Three of their more helpful suggestions to avoid skeezy brokers were:
1) Make sure the broker is not charging you AND the owner his standard commission. They can get in plenty of legal trouble for this, so asking the broker to clarify that the landlord is NOT paying the commission should take care of it.
2) Be sure that the square footage in the listing is accurate. Frankly, I have no idea how big 500 sq/ft should be…but Ikea does! The Ikea in Red Hook, NY and very possibly a city near you, has a floor plan that shows you how big a 500 sq/ft apartment is! Vunderbar!
3) Call the landlord if you think the Broker is being dishonest. While the Broker is the medium, the landlord has the final say. Often brokers will say that they have the exclusive listing when it is, in fact, an open listing. Pretty easy to sus out with a quick phone call.
And, as a fun little detour, definitely check out the Reality Index of the top 10 TV shows filmed in NYC. They go through everything from Friends’ totally unrealistic, sunlit filled apartment in the Village to Gossip Girls’s probably NYC Royalty digs to the even more realistic Flight of the Concords, which wins the prize of most realistic as it’s filled with a mash of on-the-street finds.