If you are new to the City, considering a move here, or live elsewhere, you may be aware that there is an industry that exists solely to scam you out of thousands of $$$: rental brokers.
A rental broker or agent will help you find an apartment and will coordinate viewings, do the legwork and try to get you your dream place all for just 10% - 20% of your annual rent. That may sound good, but 10% - 20% of your annual rent is usually in the $4k - $8k range, far too expensive for my taste.
They also don’t really try to find you what you want, just get you something within your acceptable range that gives them the highest commissions. They will always push you to the upper limits of your price range because it means they pocket more cash.
The reason that rental brokers survive is that they flood craigslist and other free channels with fake apartments that sound amazing, along with an ad for their services. When you call to find out about it, they say something along the lines of: Oh, it JUST rented, but we get stuff like this all the time. Sign this contract with me and I will find you another one just like it…
There are a few free, no-fee, landlord-tenant direct listings available on craigslist and other sites, but the constant stream of crap broker posts make it incredibly frustrating and difficult to find them, and many people just resign to the broker scam because they think they don’t have the time to search on their own. Victory for the scammers.
Enter Oliver, a new iPhone app which helps filter out all crap posts, the scam brokers, and the other non-sense ads in the traditional channels, then present them to you in an easy to use map App with search filters, appointment scheduling and viewings, photos and clear rentals rates.
You can download Oliver for free on iTunes.