Frequently Asked Questions
Renters
Owners with apartments for Rent / Sale
Buyers

 
Q & A for Renters
 

See our special section for vacation rentals.

Q:  What kinds of documents are required to rent an apartment?

A:  In most cases, the only documents you need to provide are a copy of your passport, two references, and a signed copy of the rental agreement.  Sometimes, the owner will also request a letter from your employer or from your school.

Q:  How do the agency fees work?

A:  The agency fees depend on the length of your stay as outlined below:
     
     Length of Rental                           Total Agency Fee
     Up to 45 days                               35% of total rent
     45 days to 2 months                    50% of one month’s rent
     2 months to 4 months                 25% of the total rent
     4 months to 200 days                  One month’s rent
     200 days to one year                   15% of the total rent

Q:  When is the fee paid?

A:  The fee is paid when the rental agreement is signed.

Q:  Do you provide a student discount?

A:  Yes.  There is a 10% discount on our fee to all students providing valid student identification.

Q:  What do I need to pay upfront to reserve an apartment?

A:  Typically, the agency fee and required security deposit are paid upfront.

Q:  How do I make an upfront payment if I live overseas?

A:  You can pay the agency fee to Urban Living by credit card through our secure on line server.  You can pay the deposit to the owner by wire transfer (we will provide you with all the necessary information and instructions).

Q:  What is your cancellation/refund policy?

A:  Agency fees are not refundable.  However, if you have to cancel your reservation as a result of a visa problem and you submit us proof, we will issue you a credit for the agency fees that can then be used on your next trip.

Q:  Can I visit the apartments that I like?

A:  Yes.  For rentals of over one month, our specialized agents will be happy to show you apartments.

Q:  Do I have to pay taxes or are those included in the rent?

A:  Unless otherwise specified, taxes are included in the rent.

Q:  Do the apartments have an internet connection?

A:  Most of the apartments listed on our web site have a high-speed internet connection (either ready to use, or provided by the owner upon request).

Q:  I see an available apartment on your website. 
     Why can’t I reserve it for three months from now?

A:  Owners cannot take the risk that they might lose a potential tenant because of a future reservation. In order to reserve in advance the owner would need be guaranteed rent for the three months prior to your arrival, which would not make financial sense for you.

Q: Can I start renting on the 17th of the month?

A: You can rent starting anytime of the month an apartment is available.  However, typically owners who are renting on a month-to-month basis will want a tenant from the 1st to the 30th. Owners who also have shorter-term rental apartments available are often more flexible, but also often charge more.  There is always room for negotiation, keeping in mind that a landlord is more likely to be willing to negotiate a six month lease than a six week lease.

Q:  Can I clean the apartment myself and not pay the cleaning fee?

A:  No matter how well you clean, owners prefer to use a professional cleaner in order to maintain a guaranteed condition for the next tenant.

Vacation Rentals

Q. Why shouldn't I just stay in a hotel?

A. Why stay in a hotel when you can have a comfortable furnished apartment for your next business trip, vacation or holiday?

Get more space for less money with a furnished rental.

Q. I would like to make a reservation on-line, but I don't write English well. Can someone
help me through this process?

A. Our website is currently in the process of being translated in numerous languages. In the meantime, you may call the agency to talk to one of our agents. Our staff members speak English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Italian, Dutch and Japanese. They will be delighted to assist you in your reservation process.

Q. Our plane lands in the morning. How soon can we move into the apartment?

A. Once you get a confirmation of your booking, you will have to plan your check-in with the owner. Please keep in mind that most apartments will be available (as with hotel rooms) by 3:00 PM, however some owners may provide you with an access to the property a little sooner.

Q. Our plane lands late in the evening. Will someone check us in?

A. Once again, you will need to plan your check-in with the owner. Keep in mind that late check-in fees may apply.

Q. How late can I check out?

A. As in hotels, you will have to leave the apartment by 11:00AM at the latest.

Q. Would you please recommend an apartment in a quiet neighborhood!

A. Keep in mind that the city is always in motion. Bars and restaurants pop up all over like mushrooms after the rain. Among quieter neighborhoods we recommend: Midtown East, Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Brooklyn Heights. These residential districts are favorites among those seeking more tranquility, or a family-friendly atmosphere.

Q. I use a wheelchair. Are any of your apartments adapted to my needs?

A. Unfortunately, we don't have any furnished apartments specifically adapted for wheelchair access, however several apartments in our listings are on the ground floor and have wide doorways or spacious elevators.

Q. We are students on vacation looking to be right in the center of action, what
neighborhood do you recommend?

A. The Theater District, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, the Meat Packing District and The East Village are all great areas. Greenwich Village and The East Village are hip, young neighborhoods full of energy, from chic piano bars to laid-back jazz joints. The Theater District draws a mixed crowd of tourists to its many shows, bars, clubs and restaurants. The Meat Packing District is very hip, full of "pretty people", who flock to its many designer establishments.

Q. Will my apartment have INTERNET access?

A. Many of our apartments are equipped with internet access. Please check the amenities listed with each apartment description to ensure that you choose an accommodation that features this service.

Q. When will I know that my reservation is confirmed?

A. As soon as you have paid the agency fees, your reservation will be confirmed. Urban Living will send you a confirmation in writing (via email). Please verify that the details of your rental are correct.

Q. When do I pay the balance?

A. The balance of the rental cost must be paid to the owner of the apartment upon arrival. Prior to remitting the rental fees, please take the time to inspect the premises and insure that everything in the unit is in working order (AC/TV). If the full balance is not provided, the reservation will be canceled and the agency fee lost.

Q. What means of payment do you accept?

A. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. You have the option of paying through our secure on-line payment. This service allows you to pay in any way you prefer without sharing financial information. You may also send a wire transfer.

 


Renters
Owners with apartments for Rent / Sale
Buyers

 
Q & A for Buyers
 

Q: As a foreigner, can I buy an apartment in the US?

A: Of course you can! Many foreigners invest in the United States especially in New York City. Condominium buildings are investors friendly and make things easier for foreigners.

For investing: A condo will provide you with a more liquid asset. You can also rent it while you wait to resell (you may not be able to do that in a co-op).

To live in:
Some buyers meeting co-op requirements would prefer to live in an "owner occupied" building and will then prefer to buy a co-op. Who else can take better care of the apartment and building than the owners?

Q: What are the differences between Condominiums and Co-ops?

A: Condominiums are becoming more popular in New York City as new residential buildings are constructed. Unlike co-ops, condo apartments are "real" properties. Buying a condo is much like buying a house. Each individual unit has its own deed and its own tax bill. Condos offer greater flexibility, but are often priced higher than comparable co-op apartments.

Advantages of Buying a Condo

  • In most cases, buyers can finance a larger portion of the purchase price (up to 90%) and therefore put less money down.
  • With a condominium, you do not need board approval approval to purchase or sell.
  • Condo apartments can be freely sublet, giving you more flexibility.
  • Monthly maintenance fees for condos are much lower than for co-ops (because condominiums do not have an underlying mortgage, whereas almost all co-ops do).

Disadvantages of Buying a Condo

  • Condos are generally more expensive than comparable co-op apartments to purchase.
  • Monthly maintenance payments are not tax-deductible.
  • In New York City, 85% of all apartments available for purchase (and almost 100%
    of pre-war apartments) are in co-operative buildings.
  • When you buy a co-op, you don’t actually own your apartment. Instead, you own
    shares of a co-op corporation that owns the building. The larger your apartment,
    the more shares within the corporation you own. Other features, such as terraces and being on a higher floor can impact the number of shares allocated to an individual apartment.  Monthly maintenance fees cover building expenses including heat, hot water, insurance, staff salaries, and real estate taxes.

Advantages of Buying a Co-op

  • Co-ops are generally less expensive than comparable condominium apartments.
  • Some of your monthly maintenance fees are tax deductible.

Disadvantages of Buying a Co-op

  • All prospective purchasers must be approved by the Board of Directors. The Board approval process is often time-consuming and rigorous: it requires extensive information regarding finances, employment, and personal background. Even celebrities have been turned down by some selective New York co-op boards. Not only does every board has their own set of rules, those rules can be changed over time.
  • Monthly maintenance fees for co-ops are much higher than for condos. This is because the monthly fee includes part of the underlying mortgage for the building.
  • Many co-op boards limit the amount of the purchase price that can be financed and require higher down payments than are usually required for condominiums.
  • It is harder to sub-lease a co-op. Each co-op building has its own rules, but many limit or forbid subletting.
Q: What will a Co-op board check to approve a purchase?

A: The Co-op board will check:
  • Financial History
  • Job History
  • US Credit
  • References (professional and personal)
  • How you will use the apartment. Pied-A-Terres are not always allowed.
  • Guarantor
  • Life Style
  • A home business is often not allowed
  • A low purchase price might go against your purchase
  • Pets are not always allowed
  • Possibility of noise
  • Interview required
  • Additional requirements that may come up

Q:  What part of the purchase and ownership costs are deductible?

A: Deductable costs include:
  • Mortgage interest: under current U.S. law, all interest that is paid on a mortgage of less than one million dollars is tax-deductible.
  • Points: buying a home involves a number of different fees and other expenses. One of these, called points, represents a small percentage (usually one percent)of the loan and is paid up front at the closing. Normally, no more than three points are charged on a typical mortgage loan. Points are fully deductible at tax time. Points charged on refinancing loans are also deductible. Property taxes.
  • Part of the Maintenance can be deductible in a Co-op
  • Moving costs
  • Home office deduction
  • Assessments
  • As an investment, whatever you spend to furnish the apartment or to improve it is |deductible

For more information see a Certified Public Accountant

 


Renters
Owners with apartments for Rent / Sale
Buyers

 
Q & A for owners with apartments to rent
 

Q:  Is there any fee?

A:  There is no fee.  Our service is totally free of charge for you.

Q:  How do you make money?

A:  We charge a fee to renters.

Q: Do I need to put anything in writing?

A:  Yes.  You will need to fill out an apartment description and sign a listing agreement.

Q:  Is the listing agreement exclusive?

A:  No. We do not require an exclusive listing agreement from you to list your apartment on our website.

Q:  If the agreement is not exclusive, why do I have to sign a listing agreement?

A:  The agreement allows us to post the pictures of your apartment and send them to our clients.  It also stipulates that you have the right to rent/sublet the apartment and that the apartment is good condition.

Q:  Can I send you my own pictures?

A:  We need to have our agent inspect the property.  When we take the pictures we know they will be compatible with our system.

Q:  Where are your clients from?

A:  Our clients are both national (United States) and international.

Q:  How far in advance do I need to post my apartment on your website?

A;  You can list your apartment with us at any time, however the sooner you list it, the more exposure it will get.

Q:  Do you handle the renters’ check-in and check-out?

A:  No.  We do not keep a set of your keys.

Q:  How does the renter pay?

A:  Short-term renters usually will pay you in cash upon arrival.  Long-term renters usually make arrangements with you directly on a case-by-case basis.

Q: When do the renters pay?

A: Short-term renters usually pay on the day they move in.  You make case-by-case arrangements with long-term renters.

Q:  Will you give me the renters’ credit history?

A:  This is usually possible if the client is from the United States.  For our international clientele, because they do not have a U.S. credit history, you can ask for references, a guarantor, and bank statements, among other things.

Q:  Can I find a renter on my own?

A:  Of course!  But please let us know as soon as you do because a rental cannot be cancelled once you have signed the guest agreement.

Q:  Is there a penalty fee if I cancel a signed guest agreement?

A:  Yes.  The penalty is 30% of the total rent for a short-term stay and 30% of one month’s rent for a long-term stay.

Q:  Is there a penalty if the renter cancels or doesn’t show up?

A:  We will do our best to find you another tenant, but keep in mind that the renter paid the agency fee when they signed the agreement, so renters rarely cancel.

 


Renters
Owners with apartments for Rent / Sale
Buyers

 
Q & A for owners with apartments to sell
 

Q: Tell me about Urban Living:

A: Urban Living opened its first office in 1999 in Midtown Manhattan as a full service Real Estate brokerage company. Urban Living specializes in real estate sales and rentals (furnished for short or long term, unfurnished, and roommate share). Our extensive network base advertises internationally and reaches clients who come to New York for schooling, internships, corporate relocation, business travel, and to investment.

Over the last few years Urban Living received an increasing number of requests for rental properties located in Brooklyn and a strong interest in Brooklyn coming from international Real Estate Investors. In 2006, this growing trend has resulted in the creation of Urban Living International sister company located in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Q: Why should I use Urban Living as an exclusive broker?

A: Some of the reasons are:
  • Post your property on a State-of-the-Art website in 10 languages
  • Take advantage of our international exposure
  • Rent your apartment until it gets sold
  • Within a few minutes, by using key websites and the New York Times, the entire
    industry will know that your property is on the market
  • As a REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) member Urban Living will work with
    other brokers to increase your opportunity to sell.

Q: Where will you advertise my property on line?

A: Yes, we advertise extensively on line and are happy to share the list of over 30 sites with you.

Q: How long will it take to place pictures of my property on line?

A: Your property will be advertised on all the above websites with digital pictures within 24 hours after staging and photo shoot.

Q: Do you conduct open houses? If yes, when will be the first one?

A: Open Houses usually take place on Sundays. They are scheduled with you at mutually agreeable times.

Q: How will you decide on the price of my property?

A: To decide on the price of your property, your real estate agent will conduct a comparable search. Based on this search, your agent will advise you on the price you should ask.
It is in your interest and your agent's interest to market your property at the right price because;you want to sell for a good price and your agent wants to advertise a property that by reflecting the market has a good chance to be sold.

Q: What should I do to make my property more attractive?

A: The price has to be right but your property also has to be staged properly. Prospective buyers' need to be able to imagine themselves living in the apartment, so storing;personal items (photos, nicknacks) can be effective way to give the prospective purchase a "clean slate" on which to project their own future in the apartment. Clearing out closets and sometimes removing furniture will make your apartment seem larger and more inviting; items can be easily stored in a rented storage facility. Refresh your property if needed; a good paint job can make the difference.  And of course, your agent will be happy to advise you.

Q: How can I contact you?

A:  Your agent is available 7 days a week by email or by phone.  All our agents have a supervisor and are part of a team that can answer your questions and make sure your agent get your message.

Q: Will I have to talk to my potential buyers?

A:  No, all potential buyers will be directly in touch with your agent or communicate to your agent via their own agent.

Q: Will you provide me  feedback after showing?

A: Yes, your agent will always get back to you after a showing. Each week your agent will give you a report of all the new buyers interested in your property.  You will be informed about the degrees of interest and all the comments (both positive and negative).

Q: Can we review all documents before signing a listing agreement with you?

A: It will be a pleasure to sit down with you and review your contract before signature.

Q: What is the amount of your commission?

A:  For an exclusive listing, our commission is usually 6% since it involves a lot of expense and a large time commitment from your broker. For an open listing, our commission is 3%, but advertising will be limited.<

Q: Do you check if buyers are pre-approved?

A: Our agents always make sure buyers are qualified.

Q: Do you have other professionals you can recommend such as attorneys, inspectors,
lenders if needed?

A: We will be glad to refer professionals to you.

Q: What are the other costs I might incur in order to sell my property?

A: Depending on your situation you might have to face some of the following costs:
  • Broker's Commission
  • Seller's Attorney
  • Co-Op Attorney/Managing Agent
  • Flip Tax
  • Move-out deposit
  • New York City Transfer Tax
  • Transfer Tax Filing Fee
  • New York State Transfer Tax
  • Payoff Bank Attorney
  • UCC-3 Filing Fee
  • Miscellaneous Title & Recording Fees
  • Mortgage Satisfaction Fee
Owners with apartments for Rent / Sale
Buyers