Real Estate

Where Can You Find a No-Fee Rental?

New York City’s median asking rent in April was $3,499, according to StreetEasy. In Manhattan it was $4,250. When you’re looking at numbers like these, the last thing you need is a broker’s fee.

In New York, that fee often amounts to 15 percent of the annual rent, or $6,298 for the median New York home. Add the first month’s rent and a one-month security deposit, and you’re laying out $13,296 before you even move your furniture in — and don’t forget you’ll have to pay the movers.

Fortunately, no-fee apartments still exist, and some neighborhoods have a higher share than others. A study by StreetEasy found that roughly half of New York City apartments listed during the months of June and July have no fees. The rate rises to 60 percent in December and January. This week’s chart, based on StreetEasy data as of April 2023, shows the New York neighborhoods with the highest and lowest shares of no-fee apartments.

A 50 or 60 percent share of no-fee rentals may seem high to those who have done some looking. That could be because most of the city’s no-fee rentals are in expensive new buildings and go for over $3,000 a month. To reveal where the highest share of units listed both above and below $3,000 were, the study ranked neighborhoods by no-fee listings in each price range individually.

In some cases, the same neighborhood offered a surplus of no-fee listings in both price brackets. Take Flatbush, Brooklyn, which had the largest percentage of no-fee apartments under $3,000 (71 percent), but also the second-largest percentage among those over $3,000 (88 percent).

Because there are fewer no-fee units at lower costs, they face greater competition. A suggested hack: Look for units listed by owners and building management companies — there will be no listing agent, nor their fee, in the equation. Also, some less-expensive rentals are not listed at all, relying instead on word of mouth to fill them. So don’t be shy about asking around.

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