In Milan an active business nobody talks about is the selling of landlords lists to prospective tenants.
It works this way.
I open up a shop along the street stressing the fact that I promote direct negotiations between tenants and landlords. I shout the fact that speaking with my company you spare the money of the hefty fees usually asked by real estate brokers. To put this into perspective, a broker charges between 10 and 12% of a net yearly rent, taking the example of a good one bedroom in the center, valued at 1,000 EUR a month, the math is simple. Monthly rent times 12: 1000*12, gives the yearly net rent, that is 12,000 EUR. 10% is 1,200 EUR and 12% is 1440 EUR.
This companies usually charge just 250 EUR, a 80% discount to the above prices. Of course you have the hassle to make a couple of calls to landlords, maybe not speaking English, but who cares, it's definitely worth the effort.
Ideally these shops should collect on a daily basis the news about new flats coming to the market, directly from landlords, not paying them and thus incentivized to promote their place in these venues.
Always on a daily basis a new list of "available apartments" should be created, also taking into consideration the flats that were available yesterday but today not anymore. You pop into the shop, you tell the employee the area of the city you are looking at, and in a few second the guy generates a long list of landlords you can call and interact with directly. You have to pay 250 EUR for the service, but in exchange for a couple of calls and few visits you spare more than 1,000 EUR. Well, this is the theory. Let's have a look at what goes on in practice in these places.
When you open up a shop, it's easy in a couple of weeks to put together a list of landlord, even taking it directly from internet websites, like Kijiji and bakeca. There you find the personal emails and direct cell phones of landlords and a general description fo the flat, eventually you can even steal a few pics if they were published. You easily build up a database of 100 names of landlords, and you do not care so much about where the flats are located... it's ust enough that they are not so far from the area you open the shop in.
When a client come in, you sell him "the list" ... or better "the crap", he pays 250 EUR and immediately leaves, being sure of having made a good deal.
What happens the day later?
The poor prospective tenant starts making phone calls or asks an Italian friend on his behalf to make phone calls to the number listed on the papers paid 250 EUR, and he immdiately discovers:
- landlords have no clue who the company is, never heard about it and not willing to work with people on the phone
- landlords used to be landlords few years ago, not anymore, they sold the flat and maybe their number was taken from the internet posting they made about it
- flats exist, but the address is completely wrong, they are ina completely different area relative to where they are shown to be
- phone numbers simply do not exist
- flats are real, but they were rented out 6 monthsa ago, and even if the landlord informed the company is always showng the ad as active because is a good location, and so the landlord answering ecomes very angry about being called n times a day
- you realize, meeting a friend who bought the servicee a couple of weeks before, that the "list" is exactly the same ... they are selling the smae list of worthless names times times again
Well, let's put it simply: it's a scam.
Whenever you buy a service in Milan and also in other places, always give a look at the reviews of the service online, for example of google maps. These companies have only:
- 1 star from real profiles, with pictures, telling you the above expericnces
- 5 stars from fake profiles, telling you that in a few minutes they were able to get in contact with the landlord, see the place and close the deal... at the wonderful price of 250 EUR. The employees, needless to say, were very helpful and they are expert in real estate ... whatever it means
Do NOT trust these people. If you want to spare the money of real estate agencies, go on the web and look for places on your own, don't pay something with no value at all good money.
If you wish to share the experience you had with these companies, please write us at: email@example.com