Ok, Ok, i get it, all you need is an apartment but there are too many websites to choose from.  It seems like every broker wants to make money off you. No apartment ever looks like the pictures that are posted and you're tired, you're angry and suddenly moving back in with your parents doesn't seem like the end of the world.  Before you go calling your mom and asking what's for dinner, let me give you the skinny on how to navigate this search.  Below you’ll find the guide on the most popular sites, and maybe one or two more you didn’t know of:

These are the bad boys in middle school your mom told you to stay away from.  The ones that promise you one thing and then do another.  This is what we in the real estate world refer to as the “Bait and Switch”.  These listing sites require no proof from the brokers that that the listings they upload are real.  They allow brokers to upload listings without verifying the address, the price, if the inventory even exists.  Brokers upload these listings in order to generate more leads, and more leads bring brokers more deals.  Now, this is not to say that every listing is fake, and this is also not a jab at brokers.  But the existence of this process is what causes a lot of frustrations on the renters end. Keep in mind Naked Apartments was acquired by giant online real estate company Zillow in 2016 for $13M so in order to keep the gravy train running, the site needs to make sure brokers are getting their leads.  

Not always thought of but definitely a reliable resource.  Its not a name you hear a lot but with monthly viewership in the 30,000’s, they are doing something right! I wouldn’t say it s the prettiest, or even the most user friendly, but their information is reliable, and when you just want to do the search alone, this is a great place to turn.

If i had to put a number on it, I would say Streeteasy is about ~95% of the time reliable.  The differentiator between the other sites and this is that Streeteasy requires the listing agent to upload their exclusive agreement they have with the landlord, so it is supposed to take away the opportunity for fake listings.  This isn't followed in its entirety of course.  Because most listings on Streeteasy are supposed to be exclusive listings, it will be common for there to be a broker fee, usually 15%.  Like Naked Apartments, Streeteasy was also acquired by Zillow, but earlier, in 2013 for $50M.  

NOW... I think we can all agree that finding our perfect place online can already be tricky to navigate... transparentcity.co is the new player in town that connects renters directly to property managers allowing you to bypass that 15% broker fee.  Before you commit to signing on the dotted line of that on that broker fee check, check it out.  Trust us, you'll be doing yourself a favor with that extra spending cash.  The websites like streeteasy in the sense that it is NYC centric but with a sole focus on no broker fee buildings and listings.