Author Topic: An Education in Apartment Shopping  (Read 3550 times)

Numbers Man

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An Education in Apartment Shopping
« on: November 18, 2014, 10:43:22 AM »
I just spent the last couple of days out of state shopping for an apartment with my son who is relocating for his first job out of college. I couldn't believe all of the junk fees associated with renting an apartment like the application fee, the administrative fee, etc., etc. You would think those expenses should be part of the cost of doing business. Some places were up to about $300 with all of those fees. My son kept getting emails from the apartments that came in tied for 2nd place if he had decided and he just emailed them back that their fees were out of control.

The real kicker is that most of them wanted a co-signer, including the apartment that he finally leased. I told the property manager that I wouldn't be doing any cosigning since I felt like my son's income was sufficient to pay the rent. And if they didn't agree we would walk and find another place. They wouldn't even take cash for the credit check. Are we in America? We received a call about a 1/2 hour later that he was approved without a co-signer.

I just find it amazing that all of the young people renting their first apartments and gainfully employed have to go through the B.S. of asking someone to co-sign.

the_gastropod

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2014, 11:11:38 AM »
You wouldn't believe how awful apartment hunting is in NYC. It's very difficult to get an apartment without going through a broker. Typically, brokers charge 15% of the year's rent. Couple that with the insane rent in the city, and that winds up being a massive chunk of change.

My first apartment in Brooklyn (400 sq ft studio) was $1800 / month. I had to strike a $3,240 check to the broker for showing me two apartments. Criminal.

Numbers Man

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2014, 11:18:54 AM »
You wouldn't believe how awful apartment hunting is in NYC. It's very difficult to get an apartment without going through a broker. Typically, brokers charge 15% of the year's rent. Couple that with the insane rent in the city, and that winds up being a massive chunk of change.

My first apartment in Brooklyn (400 sq ft studio) was $1800 / month. I had to strike a $3,240 check to the broker for showing me two apartments. Criminal.

^ Yikes!

Angie55

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2014, 11:32:20 AM »
When I was first apartment hunting out of college I had to show proof of income or a signed offer letter. I expect the offer letter would have worked for him but the leasing agent just didn't think of it.

All those fees are commonplace for apartment complexes nowadays. My lease is full of dumb fees but I've found there's not much I can do about it. The worst is "pet rent" which a monthly extra on top of rent. This is in addition to a non-refundable "pet fee" to account for any damages. Then when you move out they still charge you for "damages" of having to steam clean carpets from having a pet. So all in all just a ridiculous way to charge people extra for nothing.


zoltani

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2014, 11:49:38 AM »
OP, where are you apartment hunting? What resources have you used to find the apartments?

The pet thing makes since once you have seen how a pet can completely destroy your rental property. I prefer to not have pets in my rentals, but if someone really wants one they can pay the fees.

jda1984

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 12:32:09 PM »
I charge a small application fee to have the applicant show some good faith in the application process.  A background and credit check costs me $30 per adult, so I split this and charge $15 per adult for an application fee.

EricL

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2014, 12:34:28 PM »
The great apartment hunt really has changed over the years. With all the BS fees management companies charge I'm surprised anything gets rented at all in high demand areas. After all, is it more profitable to rent a studio for $1000 a month or to charge five rotating applicants $20 each a day for the privilege of filling out intrusive paperwork?  That works out to $2000 a month if you can't do the math (assuming they don't work weekends).

highcountry

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2014, 12:52:50 PM »
As a relatively desirable renter in an area where application fees are not all that common I have always refused to apply to the places that require them.  I'm grateful that this has worked for me so far. I wondered how many good potential tenants this practice costs landlords.

 It reminds me of a landlord I once had a conversation with when I worked at a lumberyard.  He was buying stuff for his rental property that was between tenants and I was looking for a place, so I inquired about it.  He told me what the rent was (about $100 a month above the going rate for the area and type of rental).  When I mentioned that that seemed high he told me that he needed to charge a high rent to make sure he got reliable renters.  I left it at that..

Numbers Man

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 01:59:01 PM »
When I was first apartment hunting out of college I had to show proof of income or a signed offer letter. I expect the offer letter would have worked for him but the leasing agent just didn't think of it.



Yes - We provided the offer letter. His apartment will cost about 17% of his gross pay. But where is the line drawn by the landlord for the co-signerrequirement? 30% of pay? 40%?

Numbers Man

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Re: An Education in Apartment Shopping
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2014, 02:03:19 PM »
OP, where are you apartment hunting? What resources have you used to find the apartments?



He used google maps to find apartments near work and had a filter in which they must be a washer and dryer in the apartment plus I'm sure other criteria. We only budgeted 2 days for this relocation trip which included buying a new bed to be delivered for move in next week. The relocation company that his employer hired wasn't any help.