You cannot make this stuff up. Working with this brokerage/office was like something out of a Wolf of Wall-street scam, except their agents can’t afford to even remotely look the part.
I went out with a couple of different agents as I was passed around a couple of times in my apartment search in Brookline with my roommates.
I will leave them nameless as my problem was with the entire experience and attitude of the office, not anyone in particular.
The dirty cars, clearly hungover brokers and sloppy appearance did not help though.
We went out with a handful of agencies, and having rented previously in Boston (and NYC where the fees are even higher), we’re familiar with how real estate agents work and get paid.
They show apartments, they collect a fee equal to one month’s rent, part goes to the agent and part goes to the office.
Throughout this entire process working with Nextgen Realty I became even MORE educated on fees.
Many listings that are in Boston are “Open, non-exclusive” listings. Many of these are management companies that have awful reputations (e.g. Alpha Management, who our broker told us to avoid).
But in areas like Brookline or ‘luxury’ areas like South End/Downtown, many individual apartments are represented exclusively by an agent, instead of giving everyone with a real estate license access to it.
This made sense to us, since if we were the owners we wouldn’t want a total stranger unfamiliar with the property showing it at all.
I was told by Nextgen brokers “these places aren’t very good and don’t exist much.”
We started stumbling on places on Zillow and Apartments.com that we would send our brokers. At first they told us they were “fake” or “already rented.”
Stupidly, we believed them, as they told us “people post fake stuff all the time just to get phone calls.”
We then set up a showing for a few different places on a Saturday in early August.
We sent them a listing that they confirmed 100% was still available. We LOVED the way it looked.
The next day when we got to the office they told us it “Just rented this morning.” Something seemed SUPER fishy about it so we pushed harder and said that we were going to cancel the showing if we couldn’t see that one.
The agent “double checked” and realized he was actually thinking of another one. Whatever, we didn’t care, we wanted to see it.
When we got into his car and started driving he said to us that the problem was actually “his office is not allowed to cobroke due to his boss’s policy,” and he was “not allowed to rent this one”, but if we wanted it “he would figure it out.”
We were like what? We wanted it based on pictures and we hadn’t even seen it yet.
He said he could not run the deal through his office and was acting nervous and sketchy.
We canceled the showing right then and there and were completely outraged.
We then decided to stop working with Nextgen (thank God). We made a couple of phone calls to some other rental companies (there are many other crappy ones out there) before we found someone at Coldwell Banker who helped us.
We rented the EXACT apartment we had asked to see through Nextgen – easy peasy, no problems at all.
In talking with an attorney friend as well as the real estate agent on the transaction after the fact, we found out it is actually illegal for an agent to not show a property because their fee would be less.
When representing buyers or in our case renters, if a specific property is asked about, they CANNOT refuse to show it because their money would be too low.
Or at a minimum, just TELL US instead of LYING and saying all these apartments were fake and rented already!
The people at Nextgen realty (owners too) are unethical, unprofessional, lie, and do whatever they can to “bait and switch you” into another apartment so they don’t have to give away part of their commission.
AVOID! You’re better off reaching out directly to people who post from Zillow and Apartments.com and seeing specific listings vs. working with a broker to see a list.
1page views and 4388$ of monetary losses. The most of the users reported the severity of the scam is high.