Their level of service may depend on the location and the agent themselves. Real estate agents will guide you on your search and help narrow down your options. Since they know the ins and outs of properties, they can match you with the right neighborhood and apartment size and amenities within your price range or fit your budget. They can also help you schedule tours for you to see the rental firsthand. To boot, they can also negotiate a lower rent with the property manager or landlord or obtain better terms that will make your life easier as a tenant.
Here are five common situations where you may benefit from hiring a real estate agent when you’re looking for your next apartment or rental property:
One thing to remember is that realtor fees and how much you have to pay vary by city or location. Common rates are usually equivalent to one month’s rent or 15% of the annual rent on the apartment. Likewise, you may or may not have to shoulder the fees. Sometimes, it will be the landlord or property owner who will pay the agent after finding a desirable tenant. In cities like New York City where the competition for apartments is very high, brokers typically require a fee of one month’s rent. In Seattle, on the other hand, agents collect a flat fee of a few hundred dollars from the renter.
It’s important to discuss fees upfront before you sign any agreement and work with a real estate agent. Make sure you understand how the professional can help you find a rental property, and how much he or she will get paid. Understand what fees you will be responsible for, and what will be shouldered by the property management or your potential landlord.
Hiring a local real estate agent to help you find that perfect rental property you’re aiming for means you can take advantage of the professional’s knowledge and expertise of the general real estate market. Depending on your location, an agent can be a godsend to help leverage your property search. They can also be helpful when you're negotiating terms with your potential landlord.
So go ahead. Understand your situation and explore your options so you can make smarter decisions as a renter. Whether you plan to get help from a realtor or not, the lessons and experiences you acquire from being a renter will help you when you start your house-hunting later on. You never know, the real estate agent that helped you score a nice apartment may also be the one to help you find your dream home when the time comes.