Free Move Apartment Locating Companies – Know the Truth!

We all are attracted to the word “free”, and the idea that we are getting something for nothing. There are many legitimate free offerings available to consumers in a wide variety of settings. For instance, Apartment Locators truly do offer a valuable service to all renters who are searching for an apartment, and the service is completely free to the renter, saving them countless hours driving around visiting thousands of properties, and very probably missing out on the best deals and the best apartments.

However, there are also many companies who use the word “free” to lure in customers, and then they may or may not actually deliver the product or service that they initially promised. They get past this deception by writing so many loopholes into the fine print of their advertisement that they can always excuse their lack of delivery. So caution is always in order when you are trusting any company who promises to give you something important for free.

Moving is a very stressful time for many. Often there are deadlines to be out of your current apartment by a certain time. There are items to sort and boxes to pack, and to pack carefully to avoid anything from being broken. Then there is the careful loading and the careful unloading and the unpacking and placing and sorting. You have to allow time to clean the old apartment before you turn in the keys, and you have to be sure you are stopping by the new apartment during business hours so you can obtain the keys to your new home. You have utilities to disconnect and new utilities to connect. A lot is happening at once, and there always is the concern that perhaps you have forgotten something important. You already arranged your schedule to have the day free for moving. You got all your affairs in order, and now you are just waiting for the moving company to arrive. The LAST thing that you need is a glitch over some small detail in fine print that causes your moving company to not show up and deliver that “free” move that you were counting on and planning for.

That is exactly what happened to a friend of mine very recently. She used one of those apartment locating companies in the Dallas, TX area that supposedly offered a “free” move. I wont mention names here, but it is a well known company. Anyway, she gets home from work and has all of her items packed and ready to go. It’s a Friday evening, and she has had the move scheduled with the movers for weeks. She has to be OUT of her apartment by midnight THAT night. They are suppose to come at 7:00 pm, so there is a bit of a time crunch but that’s the only time the movers had available. They finally show up, take a look at her small 1 bedroom apartment and tell her “The free move only covers 2 hours worth of free moving. It looks like you have more items than we can move in 2 hours” (fine print), and they leave!!!! My friend is panicking. She is a single lady who lives all by herself and has to be out of her apartment in just a few hours. If she lives in a small 1 bedroom and had too many items for them to move, it makes me wonder exactly who they COULD move?? Anyway, my friend calls me at 8:00 desperate and crying. I rally up our other friends and we manage to find a U Haul place that was still open and rent a truck. We all go over and move her that same evening. She got out of her apartment in time, and she got a free move all right, but it wasn’t from the company who promised her the move. She did everything she was suppose to do, wrote their name on the Leasing Application as the Locating Company who referred her to the new apartments, and THEY GOT PAID FOR THE REFERRAL, yet they did NOT deliver the move that they promised.

It turns out that many of these “free move” companies have fine print that limits how long they will give you for the move. And what happens if the move happens to go over that time. Do they just leave? Evidently. Or, if they look over your items and feel the job might take longer than the allowed time, they may not even START the move. Another thing to beware of in the fine print….not only may there be limits to the time they will allow, but they often limit the types of items and the number of items they will move. For instance, if you have a one bedroom, they sometimes have a very specific list of the only items they will move. For example: 1 couch, 1 coffee table, one dining room table, 4 dining chairs, a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, 2 lamps, a few boxes (they often will only agree to move a small number of boxes) and many times that is it!! If you have a 2 bedroom, they may increase the list by adding another bed and dresser. But what if you happen to have an item that is not on their list…..such as a desk, or a curio cabinet, or a piano, or an aquarium, or a chest of drawers or an extra table or a loveseat, or a recliner, or a few more boxes than they allow? Do not be surprised if they leave all items behind that are not on their restrictive list, and you are just stuck figuring out what to do with them yourself. If it’s enough items, or items that are large enough, you may end up having to rent a truck or UHaul anyway, or call friends who can come help you.

Another friend of mine recently told me that something similar happened to him that happened to my first friend. He was using one of those apartment locating companies that offer a “free” move. He said they were calling him every day while he was looking for the apartment, trying hard to convince him to move into one of the few places they had recommended. Each day they called to check if he picked a place yet and if he put their name on the Leasing Application of any apartments yet. Finally he did pick a place, and he did put there name there as the Locator who referred him. AFter that, an interesting thing happened. He could never get ahold of anyone at the apartment locating company again! Once they found out he picked a place and wrote them down (their check was guaranteed), they never called him after that. They wouldn’t return his calls and he couldn’t find a real live human in the company to speak with in order to schedule his free move. He ended up having to hire another moving company in the end. The “free” move locating company got paid their money and they never delivered the free move.

How are the “free move” locating companies different from all the other Apartment Locating Companies? Well, there are some definite differences that you should be aware of. First of all, let’s establish the fact that most Apartment Locating companies do not need to offer a “free move” to lure in customers. It has been shown that their superb customer service and the expertise they offer will save the average renter $500-$700…..which is much more valuable than the cost of a 2 hour move. Plus, they truly help you find the BEST and most awesome apartment home. Another clear difference is this: Not all of the apartment communities out there will work with the “free move” locating companies. In fact, many of them will not. This is because of a combination of reasons.

For one, some of these “free move” companies do not have the best reputation. Secondly, some of the apartments do not feel that they actually earned the commission that they are wanting the apartments to pay them. Some of those free move companies simply have a website where you log on and search for yourself. They only will show you information on the limited number of properties that will actually work with them and pay them. Once you pick a place, you log on again to the website and tell them which one you picked and then the computer is suppose to schedule the move. Not all of the companies are identical, but this is the procedure for some. A real human is not even actively involved in helping you with your search in many cases. Many of the apartments feel that just putting a website online alone does not merit earning a commission. Anyone can have a website. In fact, the apartments already have their own website. Although there is nothing wrong with a Locating Company having a website (in fact, all of them do), the problem arises when the locator ONLY communicates through their website and are predominantly a dot.com business.

The apartment complexes don’t want to pay a dot.com for setting up a website and then only delivering what they promises part of the time. They want to pay Apartment Locators who have a brick and mortar office, who have actual live Agents who work there and who deal one-on-one with the potential renters, assisting them to find their new rental home with customized, individual lists of apartment information. Many times these Locators even escort their clients to the properties. If the client has a unique situation, the Locator can tell them which properties are most likely to work their their particular circumstances. They know who has the best specials out there, or who has the specific amenities that the renter is seeking. The renter can actually call their Locator and speak to them and ask questions and develop a working relationship.

What is the disadvantage for YOU, the prospective renter, when not all the apartments will work with the “move free” locating companies? The problem arises in that the “move free” companies are only going to recommend to you the particular apartments that happen to work with them. This means that you may not find out about the property who is actually the one that matches exactly what you want and has the best special. They will only display information for the properties who will pay them. When you work with a traditional Apartment Locator who works with ALL the properties in the City, you can be confident that you are getting the whole picture and will honestly be told about all the properties who have the best specials. This is a distinct advantage that real brick and mortar Apartment Locators have over the so-called “free move” locators. Most traditional Apartment Locators work with All the reputable apartment and townhome communities. It doesn’t matter to them which one you pick in the end as long as you are happy, because ALL of them will pay the Locator and work with the Agent. They have no need to try to steer you to one particular property over another. Their job is to recommend who has the best deal and seems to be the best match for you.

So, go with the Locating Company that is going to give you the best long term deal and the home that you will be the most happy with. These type of Companies should have years of experience and contracts with almost ALL the apartment communities in your area of interest. For instance, in the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas (DFW), there are over 3000 apartment communities. Apartment Locators in this area should have brick and mortar locations with multiple Locators onsite who are all Licensed Real Estate Agents, and familiar with DFW. Listen to these comments made by a local DFW Locator: “I give my cell phone number to each client because I want them to be able to reach me any time they need my assistance. I’ve even had them call me while they were sitting in the chair at the leasing office at one of the apartments I referred them to, to ask me a question. I truly am their advocate, an expert on their side to make finding their new apartment as quick and easy and successful as possible. I work with them all the way through their move and have even assisted many people who were relocating from other states and were not able to come here in person to DFW to see the properties first. They relied on me to be their eyes and ears and select the best property for them and arrange all the paperwork so that their new place was ready and waiting when they arrived.” Try getting THAT kind of service from a “free move” company website.

Instead of opting to go with a “free move” Company that may or may not actually deliver their free move, and may or may not tell you about all of the choices you truly have at your disposal, go with a reputable and experienced live Apartment Locating Company who can save you $500-$600 average on your overall lease by telling you about specials you may not have ever discovered otherwise and give you complete information on all the awesome properties available. For more information, visit: http://www.BestApartmentsDFW.com.

Fast and Efficient Ways To Finding An Apartment In New York City

Searching for an apartment in the biggest City in the country is a daunting task; whether you are new to NYC or a 12 year veteran like me, you will need thick skin to navigate this concrete jungle! Let me start with my personal experience.

I am originally from Portland, OR, I moved to the Big Apple back in 1998. My first 5 months living in New York were spent living out of a hotel because I had a hard time finding a place. My original intentions were to stay at my hotel for 2 weeks, but I had to extend my stay since I grossly underestimated the difficulty of finding a decent apartment in New York. Now after 12 years and 7 moves I consider myself an expert in New York City apartment hunting and now I will share the knowledge I have accumulated over the years of searching for apartments by myself or using a broker.

This article is a guide that will help make the process of finding an apartment in this “crazy city” easier, more efficient and less confusing (it might even save you a couple of dollars in the process). It is all laid out in an easy to follow 6-step process.

Step 1: Figure Out What Neighborhood You Want To Live In!

This may seem like the easy part because you obviously want to be in an area that is convenient, trendy and safe, however you will soon figure out nothing is that easy in New York City. You need to determine what neighborhood fits your personality/life style and at the same time determine what kind of space/amenities you will need. For example you may work in the East Village and love the energy there but are you willing to pay the steep price tag for a “shoe box”(and by “shoe box” I mean a tiny apartment) in a run down building that is a 4th floor walk-up. Do you feel comfortable living in an area where it’s a constant party scene every night?

A book that is an amazing source of info for the ins & outs of every neighborhood is the NFT (Not For Tourist) guide of New York City. You can buy this in any Barns & Noble and make sure it is the most up to date version because there is a new version every year. Another great way of getting to know a neighborhood is by Googling it. With an endless source of information in cyber space why not take advantage of it. If you prefer doing it the old fashion way, taking a stroll through the neighborhood, go for it! But make sure you have your trusty NFT guide with you so you can spot the important things.

Step 2: Determine What You Are Willing To Sacrifice

In your apartment search you are going to have to sacrifice something whether it be size, location or amenities. You are going to have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally because the grim reality is the perfect apartment doesn’t exist (unless you have an unlimited budget) The general rule of thumb in New York is the further uptown you go the bigger and cheaper the apartments will be. The further downtown you go the smaller and more expensive it will be.

You need to determine what is most important to you within your unique budget and find that middle ground. My advice, is if you find an apartment that is 70-80% ideal, take it, because the pickier you are the harder the search will be! I learned this the hard way a longtime ago and you do not want to get stuck chasing around that “magical apartment”. Yes, it is possible you might get lucky and find that perfect apartment but so is hitting the jackpot in the lottery!

Step 3: Determine What You Can Afford And If Your Budget Is Realistic

Once you have an idea of which neighborhoods you prefer to live in, now you have to determine if your a budget is realistic. Determine what is the average price for an apartment for those neighborhoods. How? I recommend going to a website called apartmenthero.com. This website will provide current market averages for every size apartment rental in every neighborhood in the city. Results are usually pretty accurate but sometimes they can be a little off, about plus or minus $300. When you first enter the site you will be prompted to enter information to compare your current apartment to the current market rate. If you’re a “newbie” and do not have an apartment yet, go to the right column of the website, click on “average rents in Manhattan”. Another great way is to do your own research on nytimes.com. I find that nytimes.com rental listings are much more accurate and up to date, as opposed to Craigslist and other sites where there are tons of bait & switch scams.

Next, determine what you can afford, landlord’s make this part easy because to qualify for most apartments in the Big Apple, you need to have a good credit standing (650 or above), earn a yearly household income of 40-50 times your monthly rent and if you don’t, then you need a guarantor. He or she needs to earn 80-100 times the monthly rent. For example the average one bedroom apartment in East Village is about $2,300 -$2,600 per month; you will need annual household income of $92,000 to qualify and a guarantor, would need a yearly income of $184,000 minimum.

Step 4: Timing Is EVERYTHING

I have a good friend whose ex-wife worked as a real estate agent for eight years. When they were still together, I had the unique opportunity of getting some great tips on how to look for an apartment in New York. The most impacting tip she gave me was that timing is everything. New York is unlike any city in the country when it comes to this, in most cities you generally start your apartment search two or sometimes three months before your move out date. In New York the market moves so fast that most landlords want to sign leases immediately after your application is accepted. At the very most, you have a month to search, the best deals generally come out the first week of the month or the third week of the month. Approximately 70% of the listings in the first week of the month are for movers moving on the 15th, 30% are meant for movers moving at the beginning of the next month.

Make sure you secure an apartment at least 1 1/2 week prior to when you want keys! My advice is you only need 5 days (sometimes less) to find an apartment. The first 2 days should be getting to know what’s out there, the 3rd and 4th day should be narrowing down your search and 5th day should be getting your paperwork together & submitting your application. With every rule there are exceptions, if you find an amazing place that is 95% ideal on your 3rd or 2nd day do not hesitate, take it! What is great to you is more then likely great to most apartment hunters. The vacancy rate in Manhattan is usually around 1-2% so there will be always more people looking for apartments then there are availabilities.

Step 5: Determine What Strategy You Will Use To Find Your “New Home”

This decision can make or break you depending on your situation. There are two ways to go about finding an apartment in New York City, you can do it the easy/expensive way and hire a broker to find you a place or you can do it the hard/affordable way by doing it yourself. I personally have done it both ways and it all depends on what you are looking for and what is your situation. Here are the benefits of both methods:

Benefits of doing it yourself

1) You will save MONEY!!!

-Broker fees are expensive; they range from 1-month rent to 15% of the annual rent. If the broker has an exclusive on the listing, you will likely have to pay 15%

2) You avoid shady money hungry brokers

-Lets face it in every industry there are bad apples and the real estate industry is no exception.

3) You will learn the City

-With all the walking you will be doing you will get to know the city better then you ever have before.

4) You’ll be in better shape when your done

-You will be in better cardiovascular shape because you will be walking a ton! So you better have on some comfortable sneakers.

Benefits of using a Broker

1) Faster and more efficient

-Your apartment search will be less time consuming and more efficient because brokers have access to thousands of listings you will never have access to and can show you a bunch in one shot.

2) Avoid outdated listings

-Websites like Craigslist, Renthop.com & Apartments.com are flawed and poorly regulated and most of their listings are barely updated. Brokers listings are updated daily because they have direct contact with the landlord

3) Brokers know what a landlord wants

-Each landlord in the city has their own preferences and application requirements. Brokers know what each landlord is looking for in a tenant; this can save you time, heartache and expensive application fees.

4) You will have access to more Apartments

-Approximately 41% of available listings in New York are only accessible through brokers. These types of listings are called “broker protected listings”, the land lord will only take applications represented by a broker.

Step 6: Here Are Some Great Tips

1) Talk to a Doorman

-If you do decide to try doing it yourself talking to doormen is a great way to find an apartment. Doormen not only have info to the building they are working in but to other buildings the landlord may own.

2) More is not always better

-If you do decide to use a broker, more than one broker at a time is not always better. Brokers have almost all the same listings because most listing are open. For example if you call ten brokers and give them your detailed description of what you are looking for there is a distinct possibility you will be shown the same apartments. At the same time you should not limit yourself and work with one broker, you might be missing out, because some brokers have exclusive listings. My advice is, you should only use three brokers and if you find one that you feel is competent and trustworthy, stick with him/her.

3) Use NakedApartments.com

-This website gives you the ability to not only look for rental listings while discreetly contacting brokers/landlords but you can give them a review if you had a bad or good experience. You can also look at the reviews of other brokers or landlords before you decide to contact them.

4) Don’t be afraid to negotiate a broker fee

-Most brokers would rather negotiate and get the deal done then risk having the next broker showing the apartment and rent it before him/her. Do not get carried away, no broker will take less then a month. Remember if the apartment is an exclusive listing you will have no leverage for negotiations.

Apartment Locator VS Apartment Database Search! What’s Best For You?

Let’s start with the fact that 80% of all searches start on line, that being said when you do a search on Google or Yahoo for the terms “rental apartments” or “apartments for rent” you are faced with two basic options; apartment locator that offers their free service ether from their internet sites or using classified ad postings and other internet sites that offer the use of an apartment database. Which is the best for you? Well, that depends on what your needs and wants are and whether you like the “do it yourself” apartment hunting or being helped by a professional Apartment locator.

The Apartment Locator: If you are relocating to a new area or a new city, a place you are unfamiliar with, you don’t know the neighborhoods, schools, job centers, transportation, etc, the apartment locator may be your best choice.They respond to your request by phone or email (you decide) to ask you some details about your ideal apartment. You want to give them as much information about your wants and need as far as: budget, date of move part of town and more. The apartment locator is knowledgeable about the area of his local rental market. They will be very helpful in finding you rental property that suits your particular needs, best of all, in most cases this will be a totally free service. The apartment locator is normally paid “finder’s fee” or “referral fee” from the landlord apartment complex or landlord.

The Apartment Database Search: Unlike apartment locators, the typical apartment database offers an extensive choice of apartment listings. You can read the descriptions of apartment communities see maps, amenities, rent ranges, photos of inside and out and in some cases contact information. All this information helps you understand if a particular rental apartment or complex meet your needs and wants. If you like the “Do it yourself” method an apartment database site might be the one for you. Most require a simple registration which asks for name email and date of move. You do not submit your telephone number and you will not be contacted personally by anyone.

Same as apartment locator, most apartment database are free to use, in some cases you are even offered an Apartment Rebate of $100.00 or more if you tell the property you visit and/or lease that you where sent by a specific referring source ( apartment locating database or website). So, which is better for you? The apartment locator or the apartment database?