The way I see it a broker should be doing one of two things (or preferably both):
1. Saving you time in finding an apartment; and/or
2. Saving you money.
It took two afternoons (in January this year) to find this apartment. When I saw it was being renovated so I had no idea what it would look like but it was a decent size (~500 sqft), on a nice street off 8th Avenue and only up one flight on stairs so I took it on the spot and was happy with how it worked out.
But I spoke to three brokers. One was useless and showed me things I could've found myself. This is particularly true of the larger buildings in, say, Midtown West, where you just inquire with the front desk about vacancies. But this apartment I found before it had shown up on the managing agent's website.
Looking in winter helps too (apparently).
The noise thing bothers me slightly. Like the codger below me likes to bang on the ceiling if he thinks I'm making too much noise (nevermind, you know, the stream of traffic and people walking by outside). This has including me having the "audacity" to put on a duvet cover at 11pm on a Tuesday. I'm not sure he realizes who has the power in this relationship since I live above him but anyway...
It would be nice to have an apartment where noise wasn't a factor and I've had a look around at to see what else my money could get me and, honestly, I think I'd need to spend $2700/month to get something that would obviously be better.
So I guess I'm staying put. :)
Noise is a huge problem as well. Lots of NYU kids in this neighborhood who are out at all hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. But the far West Village is like 50% more so I'm going to be staying put for the time being :)