Darling, I am sorry, but I lost my key! (another NYC apartment hunting ?)
July 25, 2012 2:00 PM   Subscribe

2 years ago while looking for NYC apartments I came across an Upper East Side Broker's office that allowed me to leave my license and in return get a list of apartment rentals and keys to check them out that afternoon, by myself with no agent. Now I need to actually make the NYC move. Help me find a place that will do this? please?

To make a long story short I'm moving from Chicago to NYC.
I am on the hunt for an apartment.
I know the best way for me to do this is to get a broker.
I know what to expect. I know I will need Quaaludes to get through this. sigh.

My question is this:
2 years back I had been in New York on the upper east side when I stumbled into a broker's office. Unlike most that I had worked with, this particular office gave me a sheet of listings asked what I wanted to see and then gave me keys. In exchange for the keys I think I left, like, my license and maybe a credit card? Honestly I cannot remember. This sounds crazy but it actually happened… ha.
Anyways I ended up finding my dream apartment, thought about signing a lease but made a huge mistake and decided to move to Chicago instead.

Fast forward to 2 years later, it's now, and I cannot for the life of me remember what the hell the name of the Real Estate place was that I stumbled into that did the whole list and key thing.
I seriously have tried finding their name for days.

I know it's absolutely impossible for you to tell me which magical real estate company this is that I went into, BUT I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction… Do you know of any similar companies that show listings like this?
Every single one I find (and I've searched and searched) and gone into this time around when looking, is the whole typical broker thing. Most have been a waste of time.

Are there any more places that will simply give me some keys and let me look at apartments?

Any recommendations?

(looking for a 1bed or jr 1 bed. max rent 1750/mo. i have a cat because i'm ridiculous and think that my life will somehow magically be like breakfast at tiffany's etc.)

please help? please?
posted by twoforty5am to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am not a broker, nor in NYC, but I think this may be illegal.
posted by pantarei70 at 2:01 PM on July 25, 2012

Response by poster: At first I thought you meant me asking this was illegal and I was terribly confused.

I know it sounds sketchy and it might even be illegal but the place I went to and the apartments I saw were really classy.

Not saying that it makes it more legal... but I feel like it was reliable.
posted by twoforty5am at 2:03 PM on July 25, 2012

I googled Upper East Side Broker and got a nice listing of brokers. Some even have interactive selection dealies.

That's as good a place to start as any.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2012

Response by poster: I have found a good amount of brokers through google and stuff but what I was most curious about was finding one that does this whole list and key hand off thing. I'm not sure if there's a name for it and what to search for or if anyone else had a similar experience.
Most of the ones that come up in google just link you to an agent's listing and then you have to meet at that agent's office etc.
It's fine but I liked the method of getting several keys and just doing it myself better.
(if it's even an actual legal thing and not just some crazy experience I had. :))
Thanks though! I appreciate the links!
posted by twoforty5am at 2:32 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hmm...my guess is it wasn't a broker at all, but the landlord/owner...I've had that happen in the same situatio before
posted by sexyrobot at 2:54 PM on July 25, 2012

Response by poster: that's what I would think, but this was an actual office. it looked like a typical agents office. i can remember the letterhead and their logo, i can picture it, but i cannot remember the name to save my life. it is killing me now.
posted by twoforty5am at 3:47 PM on July 25, 2012

Best answer: Sure sounds like Bettina Equities to me. They own and manage several buildings around Manhattan, and they have an office on East 85th where you can do just as you describe (at least I know you could 3 years ago... I haven't been there since '09).

Bettina is a good company to deal with in my experience, but there are several such owner/management companies around town so you can shop around if you like. When I was searching, I would head to the neighborhoods that we were interested in and look for the little "managed by" placards by the front entrances of the buildings. That'll give you a good place to start your research, and help you avoid running around all day with a broker.

Another big benefit to apartment hunting via management companies: no brokers fees! Good luck with your search.
posted by departure lounge at 5:53 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding (thirding?) that this was probably a property management firm and not a broker. As far as I know, brokers aren't at liberty to just hand out keys to properties.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:28 AM on July 26, 2012

I am not a broker, nor in NYC, but I think this may be illegal.

Not in NYC and don't have an answer to the OP's question, but I have done the same through a Realtor when searching for rentals in Knoxville, Tennessee. I left my license and they gave me the key to the house I wanted to see, which meant they didn't have to find a warm body to meet me there on short notice.

My point is that it's a regular, non-illegal business practice in other states as well.
posted by carolinecrane at 9:41 AM on August 2, 2012

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