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Finding a new apartment to rent can be a time-consuming, stressful affair. Some people opt to pay for a rental real estate agent to help them secure a location and avoid the hassle, but working with an agent has its drawbacks too.
Before deciding whether you would like to work with a realtor or not, you should weigh the pros and cons of using the service. If you decide to lead your own apartment search without the help of a real estate agent, there are plenty of ways you can still find and view several available properties in your chosen area.
You can begin your solo search online, browsing your social media connections for any offers and checking through rental sites and real estate agent listings on no-fee websites. If the web is not turning up the types of properties you want and you live nearby the area you intend to move to, you can hit the pavement and start checking out the neighborhood for any available apartment units. Read on to learn more about the drawbacks and benefits of working without a realtor and what you can do to make your independent apartment search a fruitful one.
If you are on the fence about whether or not you should use a rental real estate agent to find your next property, the best thing you can do to help you decide is consider both what you will gain from working with a realtor and what it will cost you, literally and figuratively.
For many people, one of the biggest benefits of using a rental realtor is the amount of time that can be saved. You can work with a realtor who will trudge through all the listings, make viewing appointments, organize leasing documents and more, saving you time and energy. They also may have exclusive access to some available properties in the area or connections with property owners that could work to your benefit and expand your list of potential properties.
This can be especially helpful when moving to a new city or region
Rental real estate agents are generally paid on a commission or fee-based plan, meaning they will earn a percentage of your annual rent for the services they provide or they will receive one to three months of rent costs as payment. If you are uncomfortable paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a real estate agent, you will probably want to skip on hiring a rental agent. Despite the benefits mentioned above, working with real estate agents can sometimes make finding the right apartment more difficult.
Trying to save a few bucks by going for a cheaper agent or an agent from an unreliable company can easily backfire. The wrong real estate agent may not show you the sort of apartments you requested, wasting your time and making you feel increasingly desperate to find a place. Some rental real estate agents run “bait and switch” scams whereby they reel you in with advertisements of an apartment you like but later tell you the apartment is no longer free but that there are other similar apartments available nearby. In all of these cases, the real estate agent is not working in your best interest and may even be trying to scam more money out of you than they need to.
If you decide to find an apartment on your own, there are plenty of resources online to help you on your way. In most cases, doing online research is the best way to start looking for a new home, whether in your neighborhood or in a new area. Consider following these steps to using the internet for your online apartment search:
Believe it or not, plenty of people still find their apartments through word of mouth and physical signs posted in neighborhoods. If you would like a more face-to-face approach to finding your next apartment or you have yet to turn up anything useful through your online research, consider using a few of these ideas to finally find the home you have been looking for: