Alana Payne is a Management Consultant at PwC, and has lived in NYC for two years. We met up with her at Double Dutch in Harlem and found out what she had to say about her experience renting an apartment in NYC.
Tell us your story!
I moved to New York right after undergrad and had to find an apartment ASAP. I decided the quickest/easiest route was to use a broker who showed me about 15 apartments in 2 days. Most of the apartments we saw were disappointing and it felt like half of them were a waste of time. We ended up going with a cute two bedroom in the Upper East Side with lots of exposed brick going for $2,700/mo…. the problem was my broker sprung on us at the last minute that we would have to pay 2 brokers fees! Although I loved the apartment, it sucked to have to dish out such an unreasonable amount of cash.
How did you feel during the apartment hunt?
It was definitely an emotional rollercoaster going through all the showings. And I think I should’ve been more traumatized with the broker fee, but I kind of just sucked it up.
What do you wish brokers would do differently?
I wish brokers sent their listings in advance so we can see if we like any of them, instead of wasting time seeing apartments that I know I won’t like. Also, brokers never ask what you don’t want.
Have you had any issues with your current apartment since moving in?
Yes! Even though the unit is gut renovated, last winter we started seeing mice. Turns out there was a gaping hole around the sink pipe – a cat could fit through it. Fortunately, I have a super who lives in the building.
What will you do for your next apartment hunt?
I’m moving out in May. And since I have a personal fascination with real estate, I’ve taken the initiative of saving buildings on Streeteasy over the past year that have apartments similar to what I’m looking for. I can guess with reasonable certainty when apartments in those buildings will become available based on when the units were last leased.
How could we make the rental process easier for renters?
It would be helpful to remind people what documents they need, like maybe an application checklist. I had all my documents ready to be submitted, but I don’t think that’s the case with most people. In general I’d say more transparency would be helpful. Often times what you see on a listing is not what you get, and it’s a huge waste of time.
What do you think about the idea of co-living?
I wouldn’t want it for myself, but it’s such a good solution for people out of college, who are new to the city, who don’t make a lot of money, and who are here for only a few months. My boyfriend was going to move into a community like that to buy himself a short period of time to look for an apartment. I would say that by living with other people you could probably get something nicer for the same price.
What do you think of REMY?
I think it’s gonna be a hit. I’m a management consultant, and constantly think about how people would respond to a product. By asking them questions, people will be like “Oh wow, they’re actually thinking about what I want!”