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View Full Version : Using a realtor to find a rental apartment or condo



Gazpacho
06-17-2011, 09:01 PM
I've heard of people, when they move to a totally new location, using a realtor to find an apartment or condo to rent.

Are there any advantages to this?

GarrAarghHrumph
06-17-2011, 09:16 PM
Some rentals are only available through realtors, so there can be an advantage in that you get to see those properties. The disadvantage, of course, is the fee.

In some regions of the country, most rentals - or most good rentals - are only available via realtors. In other regions, that's not true. When we moved to NY, for example, we had to use a realtor, or we wouldn't have seen much.

Gazpacho
06-18-2011, 05:15 AM
Is there a way to find out if there are a lot of listings only available to realtors?

Prancer
06-18-2011, 06:10 AM
I've heard of people, when they move to a totally new location, using a realtor to find an apartment or condo to rent.

Are there any advantages to this?

One of my neighbors is a realtor who works with people moving long distances. She does a lot of prep work before the people arrive; she has them fill out a questionaire and then finds properties that meet their criteria. She has information packages prepared for all the local neighborhoods and will add anything she's missed if the clients ask.

When the new people actually come to town, she shows them the places she has chosen for them based on their criteria and takes them on a tour of the area, pointing out the things they've asked about. When they've made a selection, she helps with the move. She does all this for both renters and buyers; it makes no difference to her.

She's expensive, but I think if I were moving from far away, I'd consider her worth it. She saves her clients a tremendous amount of time and trouble, IMO. Most of her clients pick a place to live in one day, there's someone local to handle this end of the move, and the clients know where to find places from the very beginning.

Louis
06-18-2011, 06:40 PM
Ask who pays the realtor's fee. Most of the time in the NYC area, the tenant pays. In other areas of the country, the landlord pays.

In NYC, you often pay a minimum of one month's rent and up to 15% of the first year's rent. It can be quite an expensive proposition.

On the other hand, if the landlord pays - which usually happens in slower markets - the realtor may be able to find you a better place than you'd locate on your own and offer valuable information about the area that can help you settle on a good location. Granted, the rent will probably be a bit higher than things you would see on Craigslist, etc., but that's the tradeoff.

There are some listings in some areas that are only available to realtors, but keep in mind that there are some direct-from-the-owner rentals where realtors are not welcome. If you do use a realtor, I'd be hesitant to sign an exclusive agreement or else you'd be stuck paying his/her fee if you end up renting directly.

Kruss
06-19-2011, 12:25 AM
I just moved to a new condo rental at the end of April and we used a realtor. We saw perhaps a dozen houses and condos before we found our present home. While we reviewed online resources for homes, so did our realtor. The best thing is that she negotiated a lower rent for a 2 year lease for us, and helped with all the paperwork for background checks and the lease.

We didn't pay a dime, nor did we sign any agreement with the realtor. Those renting their homes are the ones who paid the realtor.

We found a lot of listings on Realtor.com, under the Rentals section. Good luck!

Gazpacho
06-19-2011, 03:58 PM
Thanks for all the info! So will they help me look over the lease to make sure I'm not getting myself into a bad situation? Will they help me if I have a problem with the landlord?

Kruss
06-20-2011, 04:28 AM
Mine helped us by going over the lease and making suggestions. She even came with us to the walk-through to help make sure the condo was in the condition it had been promised, and to help us mark down the condition of the condo as we took possession.

As for if there is a problem later on with the landlord, I don't have any info on that but I seriously doubt it. I think once the deal is done, that's it.

gibbsmichelle5
07-23-2011, 08:18 AM
I am sure a realtor acts as an advisor as well as a good friend. Mine was really helpful and it was not at all a trouble for me to get the possession of my condo.

Admin Edit: edited for advertising links. Also buh-bye.

Aceon6
07-23-2011, 12:33 PM
Thanks for all the info! So will they help me look over the lease to make sure I'm not getting myself into a bad situation? Will they help me if I have a problem with the landlord?

This works the same as buying a house. If the realtor represents the seller/landlord, s/he is bound to look after their interests first. If you are paying the fee, the realtor's job is to look after your interests. This would include help with the lease. If you're looking for help, the best bet would be to be willing to pay a "finders fee." This is not the same as the rental fee.

As for landlord problems, probably not. Even if you pay the finders or rental fee, the realtor may not have any relationship to the landlord other than connecting you to the property. If the landlord pays, again, it's in the realtor's best interests to look out for the landlord.

My best rental was one where I paid a finders fee and the realtor was very familiar with the building. He found me a small unit in a very upscale neighborhood at a very reasonable rent.

danceronice
07-23-2011, 07:26 PM
I am sure a realtor acts as an advisor as well as a good friend. Mine was really helpful and it was not at all a trouble for me to get the possession of my condo.




Um...no.

Speaking as someone who did listings for rentals, here's the thing: if it says "no fee", what that means is I am flat-out working for the landlord. I will try to help you, I will find you options based on your price range, but my job is to get a body in that apartment who will pay the rent on time. You will have to sign a release in most states before an agent will show you any properties and it will clarify fees and such.

And please, on behalf of listing agents everywhere (many of whom are real estate AGENTS, not realtors, meaning we're already splitting our commission with a bonded realtor whom we work for, and that commission is all we're getting), PLEASE come in with at least a little research on the market so you understand what you're asking for. I worked in Boston. I cannot tell you how many people would call on our ads and say things like "Well, I'd really like to find a two-bedroom on Beacon Hill or somewhere downtown [our agency pretty much did within Boston proper, some buildings in East Boston, C-town, and once in a great while for landlords we knew and liked, places farther out], I need parking, too" and when I'd ask their price range I'd get "I'd like to stay under $1300/month, but with utilities I could do $1400." And then they'd get annoyed when I'd explain that I can't show them something that doesn't exist. Can I find a two-bed with parking for $1400? Yes. Will it be on Beacon Hill? No, certainly not from any of our landlords. Can I show you a great apartment for just $1700 in the North End? Yes. Is there offstreet parking or easy on-street? No, it's the North End. There is ONE building we show at with a garage and it's much more expensive.

If the landlord has an application, FILL OUT THE WHOLE THING. If you refuse to put something on there, don't be surprised if you're rejected.

Agents aren't psychic. If it's in the database, we'll show it, but we are usually not the only ones listing the property and if someone jumped on it five minutes after we left the office, we don't know that.

Please never, ever, no-show. Call if you have to cancel. But if you just don't show up, you've screwed up the agent's day and possibly PO'd a landlord as well.

Honestly, doing rentals in Boston was horribly stressful. At least in the lower end of the market--people did not understand prices, they expected miracles, they refused (when shown what existed in their price range) to change what they were looking for instead asking for something that didn't exist...it was annoying to say the least.

Oh, and one thing our realtor stressed to all the agents, which applies to clients: never go meet someone you don't know at a property, especially if you don't know the area.

As for helping with the landlord, generally not much. They either aren't someone the agent knows, or (you have to remember) if it's an issue of taking sides, the landlord who puts listings with an agency is the more valuable client. I did have one situation as a renter where I still kept in touch with the agent, but she was the landlord's sister! (And he was the best landlord ever from a tenant's perspective, anyway. And I was an easy client--she showed me three places in the range I said in the area I wanted, I liked one, I made an offer, got approved, took it.)