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February 05, 2007


Chris T.

Mike, you don't know just hard you've hit the nail on the head. I'm beginning a search with my sweetheart for the right place and we're definitely trying to go the For Sale By Owner route just to avoid the kind of scum we've already encountered, including the guy who stood us up one Sunday morning when I could've been in bed sawing logs.


Hey Mike, was it Annie at Kline Realty?


the sad part about all of this is that

a) realtors intentionally send you to awful apartments just so you'll bite on the third atempt (such an improvement, we better act fast)

b) and that, believe it or not, many of their rental leads are originally recruited from (naive?) landlords advertising in the no fee rental section on craigslist. after getting hit with 200 responses from pontential renters, the offer of a realtor taking caer of everything for you for free must be reassuring.

scott in Tokyo

Mike, I feel your pain. Just to soften the blow somewhat, I'll tell you about apartment hunting in the 16 million person Blade Runner megalopolis that is Tokyo.

First, you get to pay one to two months rent called "shikikin", which is a deposit that of course you will never get back. Next, you pay "reikin" which is one months rent "gift money" to the realtor for being so splendid as to introduce you to the place. Compound that with the insurance fee, the one time "member processing fee" and you can see your savings evaporate.

So for example, say you wanted a small, 3 room apartment 15 mins walk from the train station somewhere in the burbs. Thats about 1,200 bucks a month. To move in to that place it would cost on average 8,000 dollars. Awesome. Not including if you are using a mover, etc. Ha!

Oh yeah, and of course, half of the realtors that you call say "sorry, we don't rent to gaijin" (foreigners). Aw, Thanks a lot! That makes me feel GREAT.

Scott in Tokyo


Mike's story helps explain my reasons why I live in Newark. I also like the fresh air and multitude of trees. Yes, in Newark. Really. I'm near a park. But at the moment, I'm seeking a roommate. Any WFMU addicts interested? I'm a bit messy and I have a cat. Cheap. Near train. Easy street parking.

Wow, Scott in Tokyo, that would make my blood boil. Some of them don't rent to gaijin?!? What?!?! Shouldn't that be... oh, I don't know... ILLEGAL in any sane society? Oh wait, I forgot -- Japan is still pretty full of racists. (And yet, so much anime made in Japan is filled with non-Asian characters.)

Can you say in Japanese, "OK Mr. racist scum realtor, may your guts be ripped out by wild rabid karaoke-loving dogs!"?

Coincidentally, I am now listening to Quruli, a Japanese band.


worked in real estate [researching ownership/title work] .i remember a big time broker laughing about the ''Japanese buying up N.Y''. a media lie. we never saw Japanese names. never ever ever ever. [handled every citibank mrtg at one point so we could see] . but i learned : 60% of manhattan is owned by English citizens or companies. uh....... yep. for a long time. and they'll never sell. bet ya didn't know that! part of why the wealthy of England are fine with their society crumbling. they collect lots of dough. manhattan is just a sliver. that's where your rent goes. the bloody queen and her inbred sub-cretins. no offence to the good Celts.
in Germany - every apt. rental is the same price per sq foot . everywhere. no ''bad neighborhoods''. no landlord gouging. all the same price. i hate to tell you who got that rule going about 60 yrs ago.

Dan Gr

In Germany every apartment rental is the same price per square foot? That ain't so. However Germans at least don't have the horror's of the realestate world of NYC.
Here's how it should be: Leases have semi-indefinite periods of time, requiring you to give your landlord three months notice or find them a new tennant to take your place when you leave. Most listings (at least here in Munich) in the newspapers or online are from landlords or tenants and it will be that dude that shows you the place and has you sign any forms.
Not to say there aren't often fees. And that fee can be more insulting when you are just paying it to the landlord for the privelege of renting. But listings are up front about there being a fee and what it is, so you know before you even make the call. Kaution (security deposit) can often be 3 months. The real blow comes with deciphering what rent actually is. Landlords pay the heating and water (sometimes even the electricty) and charge you a monthly nebenkosten, and then every 6 months or so let you know that you somehow mysteriously owe them more. Plus heavy extra fees for maintainance of the building.
No, yeah, the real blow is that a sizeable chunck of rentals come with no kitchen. You either purchase the fixtures (sink, stove, fridge, cabinets, etc) from the previous renter if it's still there (it saves him the trouble of moving it, though really, you have no choice, as he won't choose you to take over the apartment if you won't agree to purchase his kitchen for his price) or you drop the serious cake necessary to build a kitchen.

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