From The New York Shitty Inbox: Decent Digs In Greenpoint?

This item comes from a guy we’ll call Jay. He writes:

Hey Miss Heather,

I’ve been coming up on your blog a lot lately.I’ve been doing lots of late night Craigslisting on Greenpoint. I’m living through some typical Brooklyn housing drama right now (live in a loft in Williamsburg, my friend who was on the lease moved out, and the remaining lease holder/dick head recently told us that he would be increasing our rent by $450. but I digress).

Aaaanyways, I figure that it’s kind of a brilliant time to grow up a bit. I’ve been in Williamsburg for 4 years, and Greenpoint has always seemed like the logical next move for me.

So that’s what brings me to you. Whenever I think I’m on to what seems like a good lead for a place to live, I do a google search and I feel like I invariably come up with a page from your site noting how the building is infested by fleas/managed by a pyscho or a pervert/sinking into a toxic waste field. Well, I imagine that’s actually probably pretty indicative of the majority of what’s out there. However, I’m curious if you (or your readers) have come across anything notably good. IE a broker who actually gets it, a decent reasonably priced building, etc.

I figured it might make for some good fodder for your blog.

Thanks for what you do. I love your blog.

First off, thanks for the kind words, Jay. They are appreciated. Secondly, there are plenty of very nice, ethical landlords and real estate brokers to be found here— or so I have heard (my building, which I have lived in for 5-6 years is currently occupied— sorry). The bugger is finding them! For this reason I am handing your question over to my readers. Do you know of any good brokers/landlords Jay should contact regarding his search for a new home? If so, post them via comments or send ’em via email at: missheather (at) thatgreenpointblog (dot) com. I’ll gladly forward them.


Miss Heather


14 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: Decent Digs In Greenpoint?

  1. cc on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 9:40 am
  2. good luck! i moved to g’point a few years ago, and had NO luck with craigslist- everyplace was way too much $$, it was about the pricing range for bed & n7. we knew one landlord tho and they had one empty spot, which we jumped on.
    since then friends have tried to move up here too, but they were never able to find any affordable stpots. they ended up going out past bushwick on the morgan & jeff. ave stops.

  3. meganificent on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 10:00 am
  4. Check out Proper Real Estate on Nassau and Leonard (don’t get scared by the non-modern-looking office). Talk to Donna. For a brokers fee equivalent to 1-month’s rent, she’s helped me and my friends find some great deals in Greenpoint. The most amazing thing I saw her do was negotiate rent DOWN with a landlord, with a couple that was signing a lease while I was in her office. She’s absolutely fair, and will persistently help you find what you’re looking for at the price you want. I don’t have their phone number offhand, but I’m sure you can Google it.

  5. neighborhood threat on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 10:59 am
  6. Speaking as someone who was a real estate agent in this area: Greenpoint has very, very low attrition. People don’t leave. They don’t leave because unless their landlord jacks up their rent, they have a deal that they cannot match anywhere else. So the good units don’t come up for rent and what does is jacked up. Additionally, while the Polish population has decreased, they still own the buildings, and there is a lot of rentals between friends and family and most units don’t reach the open market. Also, landlords in Greenpoint are picky. That’s good, it means your building will be clean, but they aren’t going to go put their apartment on Craigslist and deal with screening 300 hipster kids who think that because they’ve always paid their rent on time, a landlord will rent them a $2000 apartment when they don’t have a steady job. MOst of the good stuff goes to brokers. But most of the good brokers with the good stuff (like Kenn Firpo in his day) aren’t on the internet.

    If someone wants to move to Greenpoint they need to get off their duff, get off the computer, and come here and walk around and talk to people. IF you walked from one end of Manhattan Avenue to the other (which is not a long distance, and is something you should do before you move to any neighborhood, get up and walk around on the main street) and go into every broker’s office.

    I don’t even count this as giving away secrets because I always say that and I always get 60 reasons that they’re a special snowflake and could not POSSIBLY do that. Kids these days. 🙂

  7. feinsodville on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 12:02 pm
  8. I’ll second Meganificent’s comment about Proper Real Estate. I used them to find my current place, and they were super helpful and nice. When Donna found my current place for me back in June 2008, she said she’d try to make sure my rent didn’t go up when I renewed my lease. I just renewed it for a second time, and it still hasn’t been increased from its original June 2008 figure.

    Two pieces of advice: 1) consider looking east of McGuinness Boulevard. Yes, it’s less hip and it can become a bit sleepy after, say, 9:00 p.m., but rents are lower than in the Manhattan Avenue/Franklin Street area; also 2) a lot of the Polish landlords aren’t keen on tenants with pets. I’m not sure why that is, but I got rejected from a few places before I found my current one, because I have a cat. Not the end of the world, but don’t be surprised when it happens.

  9. supersloth on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 2:23 pm
  10. I had a very different experience than megnaficent and feinsodville. I went to Proper Real Estate last winter while I was apartment searching and found them to be pushy, rude, and discourteous. I was berated for suggesting that the apartment we were looking at was overpriced and proposing a slightly lower monthly rent. I second neighborhood threat’s suggestion of walking around the neighborhood and talking to people.

  11. jay on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 4:27 pm
  12. Thanks guys for the thoughts. Yeah, I figured that actually getting off my ass and walking the streets might be one of my secret weapons in this search, as I imagine there’s plenty of people who don’t actually do this.

    Interesting to hear the different experiences to Proper Real Estate. I will give them a call and report back.

    And yeah, keep the thoughts coming!

    –jay (the guy with the original question)

  13. lylet on Wed, 9th Jun 2010 5:38 pm
  14. I second the idea of walking Manhattan Ave and looking in the windows of the different brokerages. Just stop by each to get a feel for the people and see what kind of listings they have. I was lucky enough to find a good apt in Greenpoint on craigslist – but it took a lot of effort (and I work in Manhattan RE so dealing with broker bullshit isn’t too frustrating for me).

    The bottom line too is to be aggressive with brokers – it’s usually the only way to get a legit response.

  15. guernsey on Thu, 10th Jun 2010 10:39 am
  16. Victor at Greenpoint Properties. He’s Polish-American, grew up in the neighborhood, and is truly an expert and a nice, decent guy.

  17. grifforama on Thu, 10th Jun 2010 1:47 pm
  18. It’s true about Greenpoint landlords and pets. Absolute no go.

  19. dh on Thu, 10th Jun 2010 4:20 pm
  20. My vote is also for Proper Real Estate. I used them a couple of years ago and Dorothy found me a great 2 bedroom apartment in Williamsburg well below market rate (was looking in Greenpoint, but the Williamsburg deal was too good to pass up) I can’t really vouch for their professionalism, as I just saw one apartment and was done with them.

    They seem to have pretty good relationships with Polish speaking landlords in North Brooklyn that don’t mess with Craigslist.

    Also, my barber told me the Polish classifieds (some newspaper) often have good deals on apts in GP/WB. Speaking Polish helps I suppose.

  21. al oof on Fri, 11th Jun 2010 12:23 am
  22. we found our place through albero parkside realty, which is across from mcgolrick park. mr. albero was really great and helpful, and we got an amazing place at a good price where we’ve lived for 6 years. i’d like to get a bigger place so my partner can have a studio (instead of using our bedroom) and if we look again, i will try albero first.

  23. ipfreely on Sun, 13th Jun 2010 12:39 am
  24. Victor at Greenpoint Properties. Nice guy, super prompt, and no BS. Friends found an apartment in Greenpoint through him as well.

  25. jay on Mon, 14th Jun 2010 2:28 pm
  26. So glad to hear the feedback! I’m giving Proper Real Estate and Greenpoint properties a shout for sure. I’ll post back to this thread about my experience there, as well as any other good resources I come across. thanks guys.

  27. jay on Mon, 17th Jan 2011 10:26 am
  28. Just thought I’d drop back in… It’s been a LONG time since the search started, but I’ve been meaning, for the sake of posterity, to do a quick post saying that I had a FANTASTIC experience with both Proper Real Estate and Greenpoint Properties.

    In the end, it turned out that another realtor had the connection for the place that was the great match for me. But by far Donna and Victor were the best people to work with, and I’m kind of bummed that things didn’t work out to get a place through them.

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