Possibly the most hilarious analogy I’ve ever heard for devaluing currency to raise exports! Thanks to the Cafe Hayek blog for promoting this and the Center for Freedom and Prosperity for creating this excellent video: Economics 101: Learning From Sweden’s Free Market Renaissance
I found this on Reason.tv. This is a 90 second explanation of the political football that has been played over the past year. This is the first time I’ve seen the NRCC produce something of value to me.
Courtesy of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation:
Do natural disasters, earthquakes, or wars stimulate an economy and create growth? Did World War 2 get the US out of the Great Depression? Frederic Bastiat explained why such thinking is fallacious in this video from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. More information on the Bastiat Legacy Project is available at www.AtlasNetwork.org/BastiatLegacy, and for more videos like this from Atlas view www.vimeo.com/atlasagi
A friend e-mailed me asking to help a friend find their first NYC apartment. I wrote him an e-mail, and I figured that anyone can benefit from the experience I had in NYC (even though I just left). Here is that e-mail, with some personal stuff taken out. Your NYC experience may have differed, but this was mine.
If you want to sign a lease, or co-sign a lease, you usually need the following:
1) Your yearly income usually must be 40X monthly rent (this is fungible, but a pretty solid rule). To rent an apartment that is 2K a month, you need to make 80K a year. If there are 2 of you in a 2 bedroom, then both of you combined must exceed 80K.
2) You need to have proof of employment. A letter from the HR department does the trick. This is also where they list your salary.
3) They run your credit (and charge you for it during the application process). I don’t know what the minimum requirement for most landlords are, but I assume it is 650+. Basically you or your roommate HAS to have good credit.
4) They usually want to see copies of your last 3 paystubs, your social security card, and a copy of your ID (drivers licence / passport).
5) You are required to pay first month and a security deposit up front (equivalent to 1 month rent).
6) Some landlords only work through apartment brokers (people who are paid to show off a vacant apartment, to screen potential residents, and to complete the rental process with a qualified tenant). They charge anywhere between 1 month rent (8.25%) up to %15 (for nicer apartments). This is another check you need up front. Some landlords don’t use brokers when screening applicants, and do everything themselves. Some use brokers, but will absorb the broker fee, so the tenant doesn’t have to write that separate check. Many use brokers, and charge this to the tenant, effectively raising the rent.
7) Rent is negotiable. I got my last apartment in the middle of the housing bust. The person who lived there 1 month before I moved in was paying 2200 / month, and I went to the broker and offered 1800. He told me he couldn’t go lower than 1900 and that is where we landed. I always keep an eye on rental trends, here is the report I used: http://www.citi-habitats.com/market.php. I feel that their average rent actually skews high compared to what I actually saw when I was looking for apartments, but the trends seem accurate.
8) X month free, raising rent, etc. Landlords / Brokers are very picky in choosing tenants, due to rental laws in NYC. They have very few legal options to evict bad tenants / late-paying tenants, so they’d rather absorb an upfront cost to get quality renters. That is why all those previous steps I listed exist. There is the concept of a rent-stabilized apartment versus a free market apartment in NYC. Most buildings older than 1971 are rent-stable, which means you get a legislated benefit: When you renew your lease, they are only legally allowed to raise your rent by a small percentage (I’m not sure exactly but I think it is like 5%). If you are in a newer building, and there is a lot of demand for apartments in NYC that season, they can raise your renewal price to whatever they seem fit. I lived in an old apartment in Brooklyn that was rent stable. My friend lived in a nice, new doorman building in Battery Park. His studio cost $2000. They raised his renewal price to $2500 (25% increase!). He moved out (to Astoria).
I just moved out of Manhattan 3 weeks ago. They offered to renew my lease 2 months ago at the same price I signed last year (not even raising it a small percentage). This is a very clear signal that renters definitely has leverage in NYC *right now*.
9) Craigslist Craigslist Craigslist. Also check out RentHop. Apartments on craigslist are here today, gone tomorrow. Inventory flips quickly, and you probably won’t find an apartment for rent more than 1 month ahead of time. Same with brokers. Craigslist and brokers usually only have apartments to show that are vacant, or are opening up in 1 month or less. The moral of point 9 is that you need to watch craigslist like a hawk. You check it in the morning, make phone calls in the day, and view the apartment that night. You also should already have all your paperwork ready, in order to submit an application on sight or the next day.
10) Open houses. Find these on Craigslist. Some landlords / property managers who show the apartments themselves don’t do individual showings. They will have bi-weekly open houses. This means that you and 50 other people will show up to see an apartment. If you even want to have *a chance* at getting one of these apartments, bring all your paperwork with you, and be ready to submit an application on the spot. Even if you don’t have everything, submit an application and tell them you will fax them the rest of what they need the next day. This is how I got my Brooklyn apartment. Also, showing up with my roommate in nice work clothes also helped, seeing how everyone else was an NYU college kid with their parent their ready to co-sign.
11) Crash with a friend for up to 2 weeks to find a sublet of 1-2 months. Then take those 1-2 months to find an apartment worth leasing. Post a message on facebook asking if anyone is subletting, and have any NYC friends you have post a message on their statuses also asking if anyone knows of anyone subletting. If that doesn’t work, hit Craigslist. If you sublet with 2 strangers, and are, for sake of example, paying $1000 a month, don’t assume the full rental price of the apartment is $3000. It is probably lower, and they are probably charging you more. You may think this is unfair, but it is reality – you are a stranger. Subletting is actually a great deal in my opinion, even if you are paying a larger share than the people who are on the lease (which you will be).
12) If you have a specific neighborhood in mind, walk through it. If it’s a doorman building, ask the doorman for the number to the leasing office. Many buildings have a sign on the front with the number to the leasing office. If it has neither of these, you might want to even try ringing the building super (I haven’t done that explicitly, but …). I was viewing an apartment in the Manhattan building I eventually rented in. I didn’t like it. I was walking out with my broker, and the super was walking in. He said ‘did you guys check out apartment X?’. I said ‘no, we saw apartment Z’. Super then said ‘X just came on the market’, and even though the broker didn’t have a key to X, the super let us in. That is the apartment I actually rented. Also, once you get one leasing office on the phone, ask them what other buildings they own, and what is available. This is a great way to get an apartment without a broker. If your friends live in a big building, do the same thing. Even if you don’t want to live in that exact building, ask the renting office if the building owner owns any other buildings in NYC (a lot of them do).
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.