New Rentals Site Tries to Cut out the B.S.

naked-apartments-1009.jpgWe’ve got no idea if this’ll fly, but it’s an interesting concept: A start-up company with the catchy name of Naked Apartments is trying to change the way apartments are rented in this town. Prospective renters fill out a free, secure anonymous profile that gives them their credit score range. After that, brokers send them offers, which include a proposed commission, a rating of the broker by other renters and apartments that match their search criteria; renters can also request an offer from a specific listing. They’ve got about 5,000 listings on the site now, and just signed a deal with Mark David, so they’re off to a good start. Think it’ll work? Anything that tries to cut down on scamming brokers gets our vote of support.

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  • who the h*ll is Mark David that so impressed signed deal with him. Sounds like a designer or hair salon.

  • daveinbedstuy

    Paying a commission is assinine.

  • the rental market is a bazzar. It’s long overdue for something that brings a little sanity – to both sides!

  • But 90% of listings never hit the internet, and no-fee listings are such a bad deal that you end up paying more than the fee, and how else are you going to find the hot new spots like Dowisetrepla???

  • I’ve been a huge fan of this site since it launched. Happy to see them getting some positive coverage. The idea I think is pretty great and seems to be working.

  • oh hells to the NO. it’s just another wormy broker site trying to hoodwink unsuspecting people who think brokers are necessary.

    *rob*

  • MAKE THE LISTINGS TRANSPARENT!!!

    Floorplans, Street/Cross Streets, Comprehensive photos. Not practical for all listings but at least do it for the “quality” ones.

    ***Bill Thompson for Mayor***

  • “Anything that tries to cut down on scamming brokers gets our vote of support.”

    Seems like there’s an extraneous word accidentally left in.

    “Anything that tries to cut down on brokers gets our vote of support.”

    There, fixed it for you.

  • I just took a quick look at the listings in brooklyn… and they are ALL basically blank. “Photos coming soon. Contact Broker for details.”

    Why is this better?

    I don’t understand how rental brokers think it’s acceptable to take thousands of dollars from someone without putting in any effort whatsoever! Sure, they’re maximizing their profit, but they are also scummy and operating well outside the realm of ethical behavior if you ask me.

    Why should this site get ANY positive recognition if they are allowing the brokers to post anything they please?!

    If it is not improved, I hope this site fails. Simple as that.

  • I’m one of the founders of naked apartments and I wanted to reply to a few of the comments.

    @tybur6 and @Brownstones Half Off In terms of some our listings not having photos, that’s something we’re definitely working on. We want to promote quality – a number of those listings are new to market today and so don’t have photos but should within the next day or two as well as better descriptions. We hear you loud and clear. Starting next week, we’ll also allow renters to search by ‘pics only’ which hopefully partially addresses your valid concern.

    @tybur6 To answer your question of ‘why is this better?’ we think naked apartments is better because as a renter you know everything up front from the commission you will have to pay, the real listings you’ll be seeing and what other renters think of the agent or landlord you’ll be working with. If listings are fake, this comes out in the reviews. Also, as a renter, you create a single profile of what you are looking for and listings from many sources come to you instead of having to scour the net looking at listings that are potentially fake. You’re anonymous until you share your contact info. and have the chance to write reviews of brokers after you’ve worked with them. We think that makes the process a bit better.

    @daveinbedstuy and @dreamking If you don’t want to pay a commission you can still very much use our site. There are lots of ‘no fee’ apartments on the market that agents have access to that our own our site. And starting next week you’ll be able to search for ‘no fee’ apartments only. Additionally, the site is for landlords as well, like Rose Associates, which uses the site so you’ll be getting access to those listings (0% commission) as well.

    @Butterfly we don’t think of ourselves as yet “another wormy broker site” (ouch, btw!) since none of us are brokers. We’re actually a bunch of frustrated renters who tried to come up with a solution that makes renting easier. We also have landlords on the site, brokers are subject to renter reviews, and as a renter you know what you are getting into up front.

    We actually really appreciate everyone’s comments – they’ve fueled ideas for improvements. We want people’s suggestions so please contact me with them. I’d love to discuss what we’re doing and our take on things if people have further questions as well. Please contact me with questions/comments/hate mail at sdesai at nakedapartments dot com

    Shankar Desai

  • you guys are cranky! I think this is great for renters and I’ll be passing it on to all those young folks I know who keep on thinking it’s cool to move here…

  • Why not cut out the middleman and do direct renter landlord hookups?

    Craigslist needs a run for it’s money.

    You could do some sort of landlord ‘credit rating’ too, to give renters a sense of who was reasonable and who to stay away from.

    You’d get huge traffic as a source for no-fee apartments.

  • Just wanted to ad a few more thoughts from our perspective as the creators:

    @ WeaselMaster we see naked apartments as a platform for brokers AND landlords, so we have apartments that are no fee from brokers, 10%, 15% and no fee from landlords. It’s a one stop shop. Basically, if you don’t want to pay a fee and go direct to landlords you can definitely do that at NA, or you can work with an agent who represents no fee apartments (increasing your reach further) and if you’re willing to pay a fee for an exclusive that only a broker has access to, our site works as well.

    @miss priss thanks for “spreading the news”.

    A few more key points:

    1. Brooklyn is an area where we want more listings. Help us out. We’ll be the first to admit there are some gaps in our listings.

    2. We run a credit check upfront and make it free to renters so that they end up seeing apartments that work within their parameters.

    3. Unlike yelp, etc, the only people that can review brokers are renters that actually were connected via the site. This should improve quality.

    4. @tybur6 – the point of this site is to have renters pay for what they get. If a broker makes you an offer that is exactly what you want with ample pictures, etc, you work with them. If you get spammed with low quality listings without pictures, then brokers need to get your attention some other way. In our minds, they do that either with great reviews or with more attractive commissions.

    5. Also, with our site the apartment search comes to the renter. This site allows renters to post their info and brokers/landlords approach them with deals that fit their profile. It means less time searching various sites and making sure you don’t miss something. It also means less spam, as you get to control which brokers you speak with.

    Again, if you have any questions/suggestions/hate mail, email me, Shankar Desai, sdesai at nakedapartments dot com. Thanks for all the comments.

  • Anything to cut out the middleman. In this case the middleman is that parasite of a real estate broker you hire to do nothing. Homeowners just put for rent signs in your windows it is the best way to force bloodsucking parasites away!

  • So.. how is this “cutting out the middleman” if I’m getting listings from a scumbag broker and still having to pay a fee? They seem to make a big deal about “knowing the fee” before seeing the apartment. Almost ALL brokers tell you the fee upfront!
    Seems this is just another Broker scam, the only ones who seem to have a “positive” are the brokers who can see your credit BEFORE deciding to work with you. You’ll still need to pay the broker upwards of $100 for a credit fee to apply, broker’s CAN’T use the credit report you give them.
    If Brokers are “signing up”, you have to question who’s interest this site is really for.

    But, as long as it’s free and the only people paying for Naked Apartments are the brokers…..