No-Fee NYC Apartment Guide

The No-Fee NYC Apartment Rental Guide

No-Fee NYC Apartment GuideBack in September of last year, I moved.

I was committed to reducing my rent and putting in the legwork up front so that I could save money down the road.

I ended up paying $875 for a shared apartment with roommates on the Upper West Side (84th Street and Amsterdam) with NO broker fee!

The whole process took me a long time. I had to learn my way around various websites and management companies. However, just recently, a buddy of mine was looking for a new apartment and I decided to help him research no-fee apartments. I realized that because I had put so much time learning the process last time, it was much easier and faster for me to find options this time.

So this post will be less about theory and practices, and more about actionable steps and lists of no-fee buildings that will save you the time and energy of figuring out HOW to find no-fee apartments in New York. Please note that a post like this may become outdated if you are reading too far in the future, but I will try to keep it as up-to-date as possible. If the information below is wrong, please contact me!

No-Fee Buildings

Below are a list of companies that manage multiple no-fee buildings AND have inexpensive apartments.* Whenever possible, I have linked directly to their listing page.

Process for Finding More No-Fee Buildings

Didn’t find anything using the list above (most of these companies deal primarily with Manhattan, for instance)? Here is the process for finding more no-fee buildings:

Step 1: Go to NYBits
Step 2: Do a search based on three criteria: how many bedrooms, max price you are willing to pay, neighborhoods you are interested in (and of course make sure the “no fee” option remains checked).
Step 3: Ignore the actual listings for now. Instead, look at the line below each listing.
Step 4: Look for “posted by manager” (not “posted by brokerage”).
Step 5: Look for management companies that appear on a lot of listings and click on those links.
Step 6: Find the management company’s website on the NYBits profile page and voila!
Step 7: If you like, you can go back to your search results and look at the listings where a management company only appeared once or twice. For those, simply look at the listing on NYBits.

Expect Extra Legwork

As you might expect, avoiding broker fees requires a little extra legwork. I am serious when I say “a little”, though. In today’s NYC where you have to do much of the research yourself anyway, a broker really isn’t doing a whole lot. Regardless, you will have to:

  • Arrange to pickup and drop off keys to the management company, often leaving a small deposit (mine was $20), that you get back when you return the keys.
  • Find and pick out the listings yourself. The management company isn’t likely to suggest other units based on your needs as a broker would.
  • Negotiate directly with the management company. To me, this is actually a plus. If you want special considerations, there is one fewer middleman that you have to go through (the management still acts as the middleman for the owner)

That’s it! Use the links and tactics above to find a ton of apartment options throughout the city. Again, I always highly recommend roommates that you get along with. Since September when my significant other and I moved in with two additional roommates, I have actually been thrilled to have more company around. I think getting a duplex (which almost feels like two separate apartments) was key.

Happy apartment searching!

*Finding higher-end apartments that don’t have a fee is much easier. Just find those fancy buildings and ask if they have a leasing office within the building. These are usually buildings with doormen and all the amenities. If you are looking at those types of properties, you probably don’t read this blog anyway.

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5 thoughts on “The No-Fee NYC Apartment Rental Guide

  1. Fervent Finance May 27, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Definitely bookmarking this article. I share an apartment in NYC with 2 roommates and we didn’t pay for a broker fee. I’m most likely moving out on my own in the spring, and this will definitely come in handy. Thanks!
    Fervent Finance recently posted: Asset Allocation – Part OneMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget May 27, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Glad I can be of service! Best of luck when you make the move!

  2. Texas Rent Assistance October 16, 2015 at 1:32 am

    I was born and raised in New York City. I know how expensive it can be to rent. The landlord usually wants, one months rent, and one or two months security. If you don’t know somebody, that knows somebody, you going to pay out of the ears! Your rental guide is a great help to those looking to rent in New York. Great tips! People won’t mind doing a little extra work to save money!

    • Mr NYBudget October 16, 2015 at 10:24 am


    • Lee February 15, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Is that common to pay for the security? Can I call it off?

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