A. The new rules are confusing even to those in the industry. Just to summarize, the new interpretation of the law would mean that if an agent is working “exclusively” for a landlord, then the fee must be paid by the landlord.
It is important to note, however, that if the apartment you are being shown is not your agent’s exclusive, then they can still collect a commission from you.
There is yet another consideration. If the landlord pays the commission, then he will likely pass that cost on to the tenant by raising the rental price, unless the apartment is rent-stabilized and already at the maximum legal limit.
In my opinion, this is a disadvantage for a tenant. Your rent will start off higher and will never go down; so, in effect, you will be paying the rental fee over and over again. Some areas have already seen an increase in rental prices.
This change is currently under review and would not take effect until there is an official decision.
Q. I’m about to list my home and the agent is telling me that I have too many knick-knacks lying around. Does this make a difference?
A. One of the first things I look at when listing a property is how it appears to a buyer. I often tell people that less is better. If there is too much “stuff” filling up the space, then a buyer is apt to feel claustrophobic and uninvited.
Personal items like these are nice for you, but to someone else, it may be overpowering. I recommend boxing up as many of these items as possible. Remember, you will ultimately have to pack these things anyway, and it will only help to make your place seem more open and attractive.
Once packed, you may want to place them and any other boxes, large items, etc., into short-term storage. This will add to the value and appeal of your home.
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