Almost any New Yorker you meet will likely complain about the thousands of dollars they had to shell out on broker’s fees while finding their home in the city. Coupled with exorbitant moving costs, they’d probably tell you it was somewhat of a nightmare. A couple of years ago, two former Google employees decided they wanted to build a service that would bypass all of that heartache. Enter Joinery.
It’s now been a little over a year since Joinery, the brainchild of Julia Ramsey and Vianney Brandicourt, launched. Since that time, this broker-bypassing and apartment-hunting service has racked up 1,300 apartments in its database. In addition, Joinery has seen its monthly acquisition rate go up by 275 percent over the last six months.
So how does it work, exactly? If you’re looking for a new place, you visit the site, scout through their listings, start communicating with the existing tenant living there, and then schedule a visit. It’s as simple as that (granted all of your paperwork checks out and the management company approves, of course).
Emma Bonoli was one of Joinery’s first customers. At the time that she used the service there were only 20 listings to browse through. That made the process all the easier, she tells Curbed. While Bonoli has never used a broker, she found Joinery to be easier and more trustworthy than Craigslist.
Folks looking to move out of their homes can just flip the above process—only in this case they have a chance to make some money as well, which they may choose to use to help defray moving costs. Joinery allows its users to charge up to half a month’s rent as a new renter’s fee, but Ramsey informed Curbed that most users don’t tend to charge more than a couple of a hundred dollars.
Rebecca Bavinger and her husband wanted to leave their rental in Harlem and buy a new place, but she was hoping it wouldn’t be a completely random person moving into their old home. She preferred to find someone who was already familiar with the neighborhood, and Joinery really allowed her to get to know potential future tenants.
“I think this whole process is just more trustworthy,” she said. “You can really be upfront about some of the drawbacks, and I think it just gives a much better perspective to the new tenant.”
Joinery’s latest addition to the service is a feature that allows customers to directly connect with landlords and management companies; in turn, the latter also don’t feel left out of the conversation. Management companies are using Joinery as an extension of their existing referral programs: they are prompting outgoing tenants to use Joinery to find a replacement tenant. Upon a successful referral, the outgoing tenant earns a flat referral fee from the management company, Ramsey told Curbed.
So far, a little more than half of all of Joinery’s listings are in Manhattan, 34 percent are in Brooklyn, 9 percent in Queens, and 5 percent in New Jersey—and the numbers keep on growing.