How to Find By-Owner Apartments in NYC


Living in New York City can be a dream come true for many people. The bright lights, the celebrities all around, the city that never sleeps. But finding somewhere to live at an affordable rate can be nigh impossible, with the rent trends in New York constantly changing. One option that can help with that is renting a no fee apartment from the owner rather than a property management team or developer

By-owner apartments in NYC can typically be found at a cheaper rate even in a potentially better location. Best of all, by owner apartments have no broker fees. But they can be hard to find sometimes. To make it easier, we’ve created this comprehensive guide on finding by-owner apartments in NYC. We’ll cover everything you need to know to make the process far less daunting and hopefully get you into a great apartment in no time.

So let’s dive right into here, here’s everything to keep in mind when looking for by-owner apartments in New York City.

Finding For Rent By-Owner Apartments in NYC

New York City has one of the most lively real estate markets in the entire world, so you won’t have trouble finding apartments for rent throughout the city. But the vast majority of the apartments on the market are owned by developers, real estate companies, or property developers. 

So finding by-owner apartments for rent can be a bit of a struggle, but here a few tips and tricks to keep in mind that will make it much easier:

  • Ask friends and other people from the area — One of the most effective ways to find apartments for rent by the owner in NYC is just through word of mouth. NYC is a big place, sure. But word travels fast, so if you put the word out there to friends and other people that you know, you’ll be surprised at how fast you can hear something. People that are looking to rent out the apartments that they own want to find someone to move in, so it works both ways.
  • Check social media and online posting boards — Facebook Marketplace has become one of the best places not only to find good deals on items or vehicles but also for homes to rent or buy. Similarly, checking online posting boards like Craigslist will go a long way towards finding a great place. Since big companies won’t use these means to advertise, almost all of the deals you find will be for rent by-owner, making the search way easier.
  • Use real estate listing sites — NYC real estate sites like Streeteasy and PropertyClub can be a great place to find by owner listings. Listing sites like these usually also have filters that allow you to only look for options that are listed as by-owner or no fee to skip the need to sift through all the extra stuff. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Looking at NYC By-Owner Apartments

If you’re looking to score a good deal on a high-quality New York City apartment, then by-owner units will typically be your best bet. But sometimes people get caught up in the great value and end up being part of a scam. 

Here are a few things to keep in the back of your mind during your search for by-owner apartments in NYC:

  • Ensure that the person who’s listing the apartment for rent is actually the owner of the unit. Do a quick online property search to see if you can find the current owner of the property while simultaneously confirming that the address is a legitimate place that can be rented out.
  • Never pay cash for anything that has to do with the transaction, including the deposit. If you give someone cash because they’ve convinced you that they’re the owner, they could easily walk off with your money and you will never hear from them again. Use something that can be traced, such as a check.
  • Verify the landlord/owner’s photo identification before making a deal and starting to transfer any money between parties. Ensure that the person you’re dealing with truly is who they’re claiming to be.

Benefits of Looking for By-Owner Apartments in NYC

If there were no benefits to renting by-owner apartments in NYC, then there’d be no reason to do so! Let’s take a look at a few of the key reasons why it might be worth it to look for one.


By far the biggest reason to consider looking for a by-owner apartment in NYC is the lower rent that typically comes with them. As one of the most expensive real estate locales in the world, finding a deal in NYC can be tough. But by-owner apartments can often be rented for a lower price, and you also won’t have to worry about broker fees.

Easier to Negotiate

This one goes hand in hand with being more affordable, but it’s often far easier to negotiate rent when you’re dealing with a single landlord. The big property management companies that own most of the apartments in the city need to charge certain prices to cover all of their bills while also ensuring that they aren’t giving deals to some people and not others. That could lead to a whole slew of issues for them that they just simply don’t want to deal with. 

More Accommodating Landlords

A single landlord is also typically going to be a bit more accommodating for their tenants. If you’re a great tenant and you end up being a day or two late on rent one month, many of them won’t mind as long as you communicate the delay and let them know. They’ll also typically have far fewer rules and regulations when it comes to living in their unit than the standards put in place by established property management companies. 

Are There Any Reasons for Not Renting By-Owner Apartments?

Fortunately, the benefits of renting by-owner apartments in NYC greatly outweigh the potential disadvantages, as long as you’re vigilant and careful during your search. The most common reason that people in NYC avoid looking for by-owner apartments is the chance of being scammed. 

But if you follow our tips and tricks above to make sure that everything is legitimate, you’ll have a good opportunity to find an amazing deal. Best of luck during your apartment search, we hope you find the apartment of your dreams here in NYC!


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BDC 318 : Jul 2024