226 W 150th st.
45 W 139th St
40 Pinehurst Ave.
Photo By: Mathew Henry
By Bohemia Agent Daoud Heidami
Finding the right apartment can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. That’s where I come in! Here is a list of some questions I’ve received throughout my real estate career. Knowledge is power especially when it comes to New York city real estate.
What’s the biggest issue you see with newbies looking to rent/buy?
I love love love helping people find their new homes. Whether it’s a rental, condo or co-op, so much of finding the right home is based on instinct – so I always tell folks I work with to “trust your gut!” I also advise prospective buyers/renters to work with a knowledgeable licensed broker because as an essential part of the process they will provide better access to listings, arrange more convenient showings, negotiate on your behalf and guide you through the intricacies of contracts and leases. The bottom line is – good agents will have your “fiduciary” backs!
What should you look for in your broker? What are some of the most valuable traits/skills to look out for in the one you want to work with?
You want someone who listens to you and understands what your needs are. Your time is valuable so your agent has to have a clear understanding of what it is you’re looking for. I always suggest creating a list of “must haves and must have notes,” to discuss with your broker, e.g. no walk ups, pet friendly, washer/dryer and other essentials. Different from a wish-list, it’s outlining priorities.
What are the most commons issues people should look out for when walking into a new place? (I’d imagine things like water pressure, lights, appliances, stuff like that could go here)
I always suggest that clients take pictures or videos of apartments we see together. That way they have something concrete to refer back to at the end of the day.
People say when you’re looking for a place to live there’s always an area you have to sacrifice on: location, price, etc. Do you have an opinion on which factor is most important, and why?
This is always dependent on the individual because everyone has different needs and wants; again priorities. Real estate is all about location, location, location – so that is usually at the top of the list.
There are a ton of websites that allow you to search for places. Are there any ways you can spot a fake apartment ad online? Are there any dead giveaways that it might be a misleading listing?
Some third party sites will leave ads up even after they are rented. I would say listen to your gut here, as well. And if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
What’s the value in working with a real estate office that focuses on one particular neighborhood as opposed to an entire city, or really large area?
Bohemia Realty Group focuses on uptown rentals where you get more bang for your buck. We have more exclusive relationships with landlords north of 96th Street than any other firm. Equally important, the majority of our agents live in the neighborhoods we service, so beyond having the upper hand on listings and availabilities, we know the communities, the stores, restaurants, services and schools. It’s our home, too!
If you’re on the fence between two places you like, are there any tips to make the call that you feel are worth mentioning?
Back to the gut! But in my experience, the top three priorities that help our buyers and renters jump the fence are proximity to the subway, elevators and laundry in the building.
While signing a lease in general is very important, what specific areas would you say are worth paying attention to/questioning. Anything that a new lease signer might not realize is important to take a mental note of?
First and foremost for New York renters is to find out if the apartment you’re considering is on a rent stabilized or non-stabilized lease. If you’re signing a stabilized lease, when it comes time to renew, your landlord can only raise your rent based on what the New York City Rent Guidelines board votes for in a given year. For example, last year the board voted for a rent freeze on one-year leases and a 2 percent increase for two-year leases. If you sign a non-stabilized lease (free market), the landlord can raise the rent to whatever he or she chooses at renewal or even not to.
Have any suggestions as to how to get on your supers good side once you move out?
Supers are humans too. Always be kind to your super and tip during the holiday season or maybe some baked goods or a drink to wet their whistle.
What are you favorite areas in Manhattan that you feel are underrated?
Washington Heights, Hudson Heights and Inwood are the neighborhoods I think you really get more bang for your buck right now. They offer a lot more square footage for an affordable price and I also LOVE Ft. Tryon and Inwood Hill parks - two hidden gems.
Daoud Heidami is a licensed real estate salesperson who specializes in finding gems that are wallet-friendly. He has been a New York City resident for well over a decade and acquired a deep knowledge of the city's evolving neighborhoods.