A great broker will make finding an apartment easy and delightful, while a terrible broker will be a disaster and provide frustration.
Brokers have tons listings of apartments for rent in New York City that will take him or her 15-30 minutes to tally up a selection that fits your criteria. Brokers that have been in the real estate business in for a long time have a dynamic perspective on the market and there is a lot of knowledge you can gain from their expertise. What takes a broker a couple minutes to research, will probably take you days to research. Plus, brokers know a lot about the ins and out of all NYC neighborhoods, and can help you understand where the best places are for you to rent. Brokers have relationships with landlords where they can push your deals through that you probably wouldn’t be able to do on your own.
When using a broker, try not to use more than one broker. Brokers all generally have the same listings. If you decide to use more than one Broker use a broker with listings throughout Manhattan and one that has listings in a specific area. There are some by owner apartments listings that Brokers do not have access to, but all in all there is a nice selection of apartments available when you use a broker.
When looking for a good broker to work with ask for a friend if they or someone they know had a great experience with a broker or google search to see where and who the best brokers are. Don’t judge individual brokers in an organization due to the overall rating of the Brokerage. There are good brokers in bad companies and bad brokers in good companies. Brokerage websites generally list the name of their top producing agents.
With that said not all brokers are saints. There are a selection of brokers that are a bunch of con- artist jerks that bait and switch that only care about fattening the wallets. They prey on the uniformed and easily intimated for their benefit alone. I’m sure in the past you have had bad teachers and bad bosses and were able to pass the class and get through the job. You might end up working with a bad broker and him or her might show you a great apartment.
Whether you like it or not, a good broker will let you know if you are being unrealistic with your criteria and will provide alternative solutions. Brokers are supposed to be professional people that listen and pay careful attention to your needs. At the same time they should be upfront with you and let you know when something is not going to work and provide an alternative. As a renter what you may be looking for may not actually exist in every single way that you are looking for it.