Free Business Plan: Apartment Bloodhound

Here
s an idea for a business for you can start for little money.

Hire yourself out as an apartment bloodhound. For like $400 a client, you scour Craigslist, the classifieds, the bulletin boards, pump the word of mouth, etc. You find places that fit your client’s needs, you visit the place to see if it’s worthwhile and report back say, 3-5 choices.

And that
s it.

No percentages, no paperwork shuffling, no exclusivity. You are simply a hogwash clearer.

Especially in New York, all you need is a computer and enough money for an unlimited weekly metro card. A digital camera wouldn
t hurt either.

Craigslist is full of lies and poorly written entries. The realtors have all the good properties snatched up. Navigating For-Sale-by-Owner deals is like writing a book report on The Illuminatus Trilogy.

The only thing we ask in return for this free business plan is a free apartment.

UPDATE: Well, bend us over and call us pro-rated, our idea might be illegal. Martha writes in to the tip line, “Some states (like the one I live in) stipulate that only licensed real estate practitioners may receive proceeds from a real estate transaction. While you may be able to make the case that your fee is not coming from the proceeds of the sale, I can assure you that the local realtors will do their best to drum you out of town. After all, that’s how realtors get their listings–by scouring classifieds and for-sale-by-owners.”

Comments

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  1. mitten says:

    You’ll probably want to check with a lawyer, but you probably need a real estate license to do this. Just glancing at paragraph 440 and 440a under at The New York State Board, it looks like you may be required to have a license to do this. But check with a lawyer, maybe I’m reading it too strictly.

  2. Treved says:

    I’m no lawyer either, but this business might be feasible if you’re doing it only for people who want to rent. I know for myself the most annoying part of moving is finding an apartment. What’s the law on having someone help with that?

  3. Joel Johnson says:

    Yeah, this would really work best for rent only. But I don’t see how it could be illegal for a person to be your proxy to shop for apartments.

  4. adamondi says:

    After all, that’s how realtors get their listings-by scouring classifieds and for-sale-by-owners.

    No, that is not how realtors get their listings. Realtors use a service called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that is far better than scouring classifieds and FSBO listings. But realtors pay a fee to post listings to MLS and also to access full MLS listings.

  5. mitten says:

    Here’s the relevant language from the NY code linked above:

    +++
    any person, firm, limited liability company or corporation, who, for another and for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration, lists for sale, sells, at auction or otherwise, exchanges, buys or rents, or offers or attempts to negotiate a sale, at auction or otherwise, exchange, purchase or rental of an estate or interest in real estate,
    +++

    It may be that simply locating a property and then not helping on the negotiation may be doable without a license. I’m just saying that it’s probably worth checking with the Real Estate board or a lawyer about it before getting slapped with a hefty fine for practicing without a license.

    As for Realtors and listings, yes, Realtors use the MLS to find properties when they are showing properties to potential buyers/lessees. But when they are looking for more clients to sign a listing contract with (ie. they want to represent the seller and stick their sign out in front of the property), they definitely do use the FSBO listings as a source of potential future clients.