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Let Someone Else Do It! Cool Places to Live Makes Renting in Detroit Easy

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This post authored by Nicole Rupersburg of Eat It Detroit.

[Photo by Dmytro Doblevych]

Looking for an apartment in fabulous Detroit? Karyn McCray of Cool Places to Live has you covered.

In what is a pretty novel concept in Detroit and yet standard practice in cities like New York and Chicago, Karyn is offering her services as a rental broker. This basically means that she will do all the research and go out and look at different properties on your behalf, then present you with reports of her findings.

Well why pay someone else to do it when I can just do it myself?"

Really, Mr. Worky Worksalot? You’re going to do all that work yourself? Welp, have at it and best of luck.

The thing is, when people are searching for rental properties they usually end up using sites like and Which is like trying to find a job through Monster or Career Builder: sure, the listing is there, but whether or not the information is correct and up to date and if you’ll ever get through to an actual live human being through the site itself is purely speculative. Quirky properties that don’t submit their listings to these sites are missed, so unless you’re cool with whatever, having someone who is an expert in the market holding your hand isn’t such a bad option.

And for a compiled list, she only charges $40.

Imagine the time it takes to sift through endless listings, looking at the area, the cross-streets, trying to figure out what businesses are nearby, is it s safe neighborhood, how far is it from the freeway, checking the sex offender registry to see if any of your potential new neighbors pop up ? it can be daunting, and most of us just don’t have that kind of time. Let Karyn do the work for you! She’ll get all your criteria: new construction vs. historical construction preferences, whether or not you have pets, do you want to be close to schools, are you cool with living next to someone who got caught peeing in publicany preferences you might have she factors into her search. Consider her your personal apartment locator. And all that time, effort and energy you saved – surely that’s worth one night’s bar tab, no?

Unlike an agent, Karyn does not work for a particular building or brand. She works for you. In addition to compiling listings that fit your criteria, she will also go out and look at these properties on your behalf – so you don’t have to. To do that, her rates start at $460 and she will provide a full report of each property that includes photos, her assessment of the property, and helpful little need-to-knows like “this place is really cool but doesn’t have an elevator so if you’re really into fitness it would be great,” or “there’s a bum outside the place but he’s harmless and won’t bother you.” (Ah, the Detroit need-to-knows?)

$460 may sound like a lot of money, but people from out of state realize it’s a steal. To find a rental in New York City you have to have a broker, and their fee is usually 10-15% of a year’s rent. Considering the average monthly rental rate in Manhattan is $3,331, that’s a fee of $4,000-6,000.

Karyn will dig up any and all rental properties you desire, whether that’s a traditional apartment, loft, flat or house rental. She’s already weeded out the places that she wouldn’t recommend to her own frenemies so everything you’re left with is what she considers the cream of the crop. The best part is, she isn’t trying to sell you – there will be no huffs of impatience if you don’t like what she initially presents to you, no pushing you into a pad you’re iffy on. “I’m not trying to stick you somewhere because they’re giving me kickbacks,” she says.

Karyn has worked in the Detroit real estate market for some time, and finally decided after putting in so much work for other people that she would work for herself instead. She found that people were constantly asking for her help and expertise anyway and said to herself, “I should be charging them for this!” So she launched Cool Places to Live in December 2011, a website that acts as a concierge service to the city. It is a resource to help people find out where to live, eat and play in Corktown, Midtown, Downtown and New Center. “With all of the incentives to move downtown, what better way to help people out?” she asks. In the future she’d also like to partner with some of the companies offering incentives to their employees to move into the city.

Whether you need full-time assistance or just a carefully-researched compilation of listings that meet all of your criteria, Karyn can provide. And to find out more cool things to do in these neighborhoods, check out Cool Places to Live.

· Cool Places to Live [Official]