5 Tips for A Better Apartment Hunting Experience

May 16, 2012

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Google Your Broker

Always choose to work with a reputable broker no matter what.  Just as in any business, not all brokers do the right thing.  A simple Google search can eliminate some bad seeds and save you from heaps of trouble and regret.  Don’t work with someone with a known bad reputation just because they posted a nice listing.

Every month I get at least three new clients that have dealt with a particular shady broker that has recently been featured numerous times on Fox’s Shame on You show.  They all tell me the same story about how they were swindled and I instruct them how to try and get their money back.  Who needs the hassle?

Performing a simple Google search of the broker and agent they were going to meet would have clearly warned them of what they were to expect.  Also, be wary if an agent has no reviews too.   Some rental agents are not even licensed and work illegally so ALWAYS do your homework.

Use Your Imagination

Good apartments in Astoria and LIC do not tend to last long on the market and often you may have to view apartments that are currently being renovated or many times still occupied.  Try not to let the way the current occupants keep their apartments, whether it be the way it’s decorated or just a plain mess, turn you off.  Use your Imagination to picture yourself there with your own unique style.  Also, ask your broker what specific renovations the landlord will do when the current tenant moves.   It’s usually a night and day difference from when the previous tenant lived there to what it may look like after a renovation or even just a cleaning and paint job.

Think Outside The Box

Try not to box your search into too small of a geographic area.  What you think may not be ideal at first may wind up being your dream apartment. For this reason it is always worth looking a little outside your target area, especially in this market where there are so few vacancies.

Always Be Prepared

Having your paperwork and finances in order can make or break a deal and if you are unprepared you will not be able to pounce when you locate your dream apartment.  Checking your credit on your own well in advance will allow you to take care of any issues if any.

Every landlord is different but you will generally need these items:

  • 3 recent pay stubs
  • Employment verification letter
  • Recent tax forms
  • Pertinent info on hand to complete a rental application
  • Picture ID

First impressions count

Just as you are out there looking for the perfect apartment, the landlord wants a perfect tenant.  It is very competetive out there but when dealing with some of the smaller landlords, character counts.  I usually tell my clients to treat meeting the landlord like a job interview.   You obviously do not need to wear a suit but you need to present yourself in a responsible and likable way.


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