Just in on Yelp. Caveat emptor:
I've wanted to write this review for over a year now TO HELP OTHERS navigate apartment hunting (not to bash), but I wasn't sure how to word it. No one can fault a business for trying to make money, however there is something very unsettling and untrustworthy about this company. Aside from the fact that there are a billion brokers, many who can't carry on a conversation in English and can't do anything but text, here are a couple of legitimate points, all including my story.
We got a 2 bed/2bath apartment for $1600 in a "safe" neighborhood because we had very limited time to find a place, and knew little about the area. In my viewing, we were told that the landlord would take my lower rent offer of $1550 "no problem." But at the lease signing, when I've already turned down 2 other apartments, my agent casually mentioned that the landlord didn't take it-- hope I didn't mind. After searching for days and getting robbed in "East Williamsburg" (NO SUCH THING-- It's just BUSHWICK and you will probably get robbed like me, probably at gun or knifepoint like many people-- visit the police precinct.), I just accepted it and settled. Within the first 4 months, there were COUNTLESS SHOOTINGS on our very block, at delis, or in the middle of the night, or at block parties-- one shooting was when our friends were out on the street at 9pm coming home, and another was at 9am on a Sunday, two men chasing each other up the avenues shooting at each other. So safe, Myspace, so safe (yes, I realize this can happen anywhere, but we got of there and nothing-- NOTHING-- has happened since we moved 7 months ago into our current place; a place that has identical rents to what we were paying. I realize the shootings aren't Myspace's fault, but well, you'll see my reasons for the blame below). There was also a halfway house 4 buildings away -- unknown to us -- but I'm sure known to them. When we moved in, we didn't have hot water for a week, and we weren't able to move in on the 1st, BUT LO AND BEHOLD, we still had to pay a full month's rent-- not prorated for three days. Here's the icing on the cake: Next door, there was an open apartment for $1000 for a 4 bedroom apartment. I wish I were kidding. And here are my reasons, and what you need to watch out for.
1.) They took advantage of my honesty and my need for help navigating neighborhoods.
--- We moved from out of state knowing very little about Brooklyn. I was very transparent saying that we wanted some place safer (obviously we couldn't afford Brooklyn Heights), and we wanted some serious advice. I suggested things like "Clinton Hill", and I set our budget at $1600 for a 2bed... "Oh wow, you'll never find that." They just mean through their company. Again, next door, there was a $1000/mo 4bed for rent. Did my rent REALLY need to be 60% more for 1/2 as much space? Kill me.
2.) They INTENTIONALLY mislabel neighborhoods by several avenues, and even miles.
--- To avoid the intentional lies, type into Google things like "Prospect Heights" (really is Crown Heights and scaryville) and "Williamsburg" (what they call "East Williamsburg is a FREAKING joke-- It's Bushwick, where I was robbed on my way to check out their apartment [wish I were kidding]) and you will see what big liars these agents are in order to trick you into the comfort that comes with paying for a specific neighborhood.
3.) Their prices are literally insane. Honestly,
--- EXAMPLE: $2600 for a 2 bedroom (labelled a 3 "with no living room"-- another ridiculous trick) on Franklin Avenue... are you fricking kidding me? You can find apartments this price in Manhattan (the villages, East/West sides, LES) same square footage, close to transit (believe me, we've looked and cannot understand how people are getting sucked into this). Again, next door, there was a $1000/mo 4bed for rent.
4.) They inflate the bedroom count to draw you in.
--- "2 bedroom apartment!" Means a 1 bedroom with a small living room; "3 bedroom" means 2, etc.... you can get the picture. When you show up and see how TINY these ridiculously priced apartments are, you'll probably want to slap the broker.
5.) They do not inform you of necessary things like how to turn on utilities, who your management company is or anything about them, who owns your building, who you contact when you have a problem, etc, unless you ask OR you've signed a lease. Moving into a place means you've got to be an expert.
6.) They market to out of towners on Craigslist by flooding the system with 30 postings (no exaggeration) of the same unit every day... This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however bear all of this in mind when you consider all of the other ways to rope you in.
MY ADVICE TO ALL NEW APARTMENT SEEKERS: Do not use this company. Though they deliver on what they say, their business services are misleading and misrepresented, making them untrustworthy. Please, if you see an apartment in an area you like, CALL THE NUMBER ON THE BUILDING.