10 Questions to ask your No-Fee Luxury Agent about Renting an Apartment

You’ve spent hours searching the internet and sifting through hundreds of apartment listings to finally get to the finishing stages of the search. Before you go ahead and make your mind-up on any of those no-fee luxury rentals you’re about to see, make sure you prepare yourself knowledge-wise and ask your agent or broker the following 10 questions to make sure you know everything about the units!

The majority of no-fee luxury rental apartments in New York City come with amenities, and though the variety and availability of these differ from building to building, most will stick to a conventional amenity list. It’s always important to ask as many questions as you can about the units you are visiting as well as trusting your real estate agent or broker to be an authoritative source of information for all your questions. If you’ve got more questions after reading this article, be sure to ask us via our contact form! We’ll be happy to provide any information regarding no-fee luxury rentals in New York City.

1. Is there an amenities fee to use the gym?

When asking about the building’s amenities, be sure to ask whether or not there is an extra charge added onto your rent for using the gym. Knowing the fee related to using your building’s gym can help weigh the pros and cons of whether or not to have the simplicity of having a gym in the same building, or whether you’re better of saving money and going to a gym external to your luxury building. Additionally, if the building does charge a fee for using the gym in the building, be sure to ask whether or not you are allowed to bring guests with you, and how many, and whether the gym contract is locked into the full time of the lease or if you can go at it month per month.

2. Does the Building accept Guarantors?

Most of the time when looking for a luxury building in New York City, you have to be prepared to be asked that you make at least 40 to 50 times the monthly rent in order to qualify for the apartment you would hope to move into. Don’t worry if you do not make the monthly rent times 40-50, as there are many solutions around this minor issue. Many luxury buildings in Nyc allow for Guarantors who make at least 80 times the monthly rent and the majority of nyc luxury buildings will additionally require that the Guarantor is located within the tri-state area (though some exceptions may be made on a case by case basis and depending on the building).

If you do not have a Guarantor who makes 80 times the monthly rent and is located within the tri-state area, you have another possible solution which is to ask whether or not the building allows for the external guarantor company “Insurent”. Insurent is a company that can act as a third-party guarantor for you, for a fee (usually this fee is about a month’s rent).

3. What is the temporary wall policy?

If you’re looking to move-in with roommates or simply separate some of the space up in your upcoming rental, you might want to ask your agent what the temporary wall policy is regarding that unit and what the building management allows. It is often the case that buildings no longer favor temporary walls or pressure walls in units as they tend to be more partial to sectional bookshelves (or often walls that do not fully reach the ceiling, also known as partial walls). If you’re specifically looking for units or buildings that allow or are flexible with a temporary wall policy, be sure to tell our agents as we have in-depth knowledge of all the buildings that are more favorable towards these policies.

4. How’s the cellphone service in those sky-high apartments?

It is no unknown fact that Manhattan and Brooklyn is constantly booming with brand new high-rise apartment buildings that go well beyond 30 floors and as such, it might be in your interest to consult with your broker or real estate agent if the height of these buildings affect the cellphone service.

5. Is the building technology-enabled?

Many no-fee luxury rental buildings in New York City are becoming more technologically advanced and modern with intra-building systems such as ClickPay, BuildingLink and RentManager which are online websites (and sometimes apps) that you can use to notify the building of any maintenance requests, package delivery instructions or any other specific instructions you wish to send to the doormen. Although these systems are almost used in most buildings, it is always good to double check with your real estate agent if the building you are viewing has these systems.

6. Is that the actual rent I’ll pay each month?

The New York City rental world can often be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with certain industry terms such as No-Fee, Gross Rent and Net Effective Rent. It is always important for you to familiarize yourself with these by asking your broker or agent what they mean and how they will affect your monthly rent but if you forget to do so or just need to learn about these, we’ll briefly break these down for you below:

When searching for luxury apartments in New York City, you’ll often see the advertised rent of apartments as “Net Effective Rent”. The Net Effective Rent of an apartment unit is how much you’ll be paying after the concessions have been deducted. If you’d like to calculate the Net Effective Rent for an apartment, you have to take the Gross Rent into account, deduct how many free months rent the building has given you and times it by 12 months (or however many months your lease is). You will always find that the Net Effective Rent is lower than the Gross Rent (as long as you’ve been given concessions). Here is a numerical example to show you what it will look like:

  • Gross Rent (4,500$ per month for 1 bedroom)
  • The Building is willing to give you 2 months free on a 14 month lease
  • The Net Effective Rent is then $3,857.14 (You multiply $4,500 x 12 = 54,000 and then divide it by your lease term 14 months)

The important difference between Net Effective Rent and Gross Rent is that you’ll actually be charged the Gross Rent once that the free months have been used up, so be sure to ask your real estate agent when and what price difference this will be so that you can best understand the change in prices.

7. What is the pet policy towards Cats or Dogs?

The majority of luxury no-fee rental buildings and apartments in New York City tend to be quite open to pets as long as they are under the regular 50 pound weight requirement (though some buildings are not pet friendly and as such, if you have a pet be sure to notify your broker or agent). It is often the case that when moving in with a pet, luxury rental buildings may ask you to provide a photo of your pet, information about the breed and weight of the pet and may ask you to sign a pet-rider (an additional rider to your lease that explains you’ll be moving in with pets). Additionally, you might be asked to pay a pet-fee (if you’re working with us, we’ll often waive this fee and pay it for you!). If you’re specifically looking for pet-friendly buildings, there are a good handful of luxury rental apartments in New York City that have pet washrooms, pet care and are closely located to pet hotels, etc.

8. What are the current concessions and can I get more if i get a longer lease?

As we described in Question number 6, you should most definitely ask how many free months rent you can get or if the building is willing to waive your gym or amenities’ fee. Your agent will always notify you of these but it might be valuable to ask your broker if the concessions offered can be heightened if you change your lease time. It is often the case that you’ll get given certain concessions on a regular 12-14 month lease, but that if you were to double up and sign a two year lease, they could potentially be open to offering you more free months or incentives to sign a longer lease.

9. Are packages available outside of weekday hours?

We know that during those first moving in weeks, we all tend to go for an extra shopping spree for new furniture and materials to decorate your newly moved-in apartment! It might be worth asking your agent what the building policy is towards package delivery and if they have a system in place for you to pickup your packages outside of regular hours. Most buildings will either have a dedicated package room or will allow the packages to be left with the doorman in a separate storage room.

10. Will you and your furniture fit in the elevator, hallways and doorway?

Although this question might seem unconventional, we thought it would be important to include it as it is often overlooked and taken for granted that all your furniture will fit in the hallway of your newly chosen luxury rental building, you should familiarize yourself with the service elevators you’ll be using prior to moving in and check how wide the corridors are (especially if you’ll be moving large couches!)