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Working with a realtor to find your next rental apartment can save you a lot of time and stress, especially if you are moving to a new area or city that you are not very familiar with.
Although most people associate realtors with buying property, many big cities also have plenty of real estate agents that can help you search for a new living place even if you only want to rent.
In most cases, realtors earn their income either as a commission or a fee based on the price of the rental. This sum is typically paid be the renter, but in cities with high vacancy rates, they may be covered by the property owner. The additional cost of using a rental realtor dissuade some people from taking advantage of the services they offer, but there are several other pros and cons to consider before deciding whether you want to use a real estate agent or not. Renew the following sections for more information about rental real estate agents and what you need to know to make the most of their help.
If you are still on the fence about whether or not to use a rental broker, you should weigh the pros and cons of a realtor for your specific situation and city. If you are moving to an unfamiliar neighborhood, real estate agents are the best chance you have of finding an apartment that fits all of your qualifications, particularly in terms of neighborhood amenities, transportation and the like. Along the same lines, realtors often have access to many more listings than the public or even unlisted available properties that you could not have found on your own.
In bigger cities or areas with low apartment vacancy rates, the benefits of a realtor are often felt even more. The most important benefit of using a rental broker for many people is the amount of time it can save. Whether it be from sifting through hundreds of listings or visiting apartment after apartment for a viewing, your real estate agent can take care of all the most time-consuming parts of finding an apartment. Some rental realtors can also take care of all the leasing paperwork for you, saving you all sorts of headaches from hours of gathering signatures and faxing documents.
On the other hand, there can be some good reasons for finding an apartment without using a realtor. In some cases, you may have to cover the agent’s commission fee, although this is not always the case. This fee can be a percentage of the annual rent or may be equivalent to one or two months of rent. Depending on where you are renting and what your price range is, this fee could come to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Beyond the price tag, real estate agents can also have more influence in your renting process than you would prefer. If you choose the wrong agent, she or he may waste your time with properties that do not fit your qualifications or that involve shady contracts. If you are very unlucky, you may run into an agent that runs bait and switch scams, advertising one apartment and then telling you that it has just been sold but that there are other apartments in the area you can check out.
If you do decide to go with a rental broker, you want to make sure you choose the right one. The best way to know if you are choosing the right one is by doing some good research. Check out a potential realtor’s internet history and online reputation. If the realtor is a member of a large agency, you may have more protections. If he or she is from a smaller agency, make sure the website is up to date and not full of broken or repeated links.
A good agent should have multiple available listings on her or his real estate website. Here are a few questions you may want to keep in mind before signing on to work with a realtor:
Even if you do decide to go with a rental agent, you cannot put all the work of finding your perfect apartment on them. Unfortunately, you will still have to participate in some aspects of the rental project no matter how involved your rental realtor is. Here are some tips on what you will want to remember when working with a real estate agent: