Renter

Can You Hire A Real Estate Agent To Help You Find The Perfect Rental Property?

Many real estate agents are there exclusively to help us navigate the intricate process of buying or selling a home. Yet, don’t be surprised because there are also some who are exceptional in assisting renters in finding a nice and desirable apartment, condo, or any rental property.
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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:

 
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1. Finding an apartment in your area is like a battlefield. In larger cities with highly competitive markets, such as New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, using a real estate agent is necessary to help you get appointments for unit tours and showings and lock in that perfect rental property. These cities have huge populations of renters, so hiring a realtor can give you a huge advantage in your search. Likewise, agents also have access to rental listings available in the Multiple Listing Service or MLS.
 
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2. You’re relocating to a new city. Moving to a new city can be both challenging and overwhelming. More so when looking for your next apartment where the neighborhoods are unfamiliar. In this circumstance, you can take advantage of a local real estate agent’s knowledge about available homes, apartments, and rental properties. It will also be helpful if you can’t have a longer visit to your next city until your final relocation date.
 
3. Scheduling a tour or property showing is difficult. Sometimes, it can get difficult to contact a property manager via phone or email (especially in larger cities) or get to the leasing office of the property you are looking at if you are moving into a new city. A real estate agent can help make it possible to schedule a tour or after-hours showing, especially in these troublesome situations. Having an agent represent you can also give you more credibility since the property manager will know you are serious about your search.
 
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4. You’re looking to rent a single-family home. According to MarketWatch, single-family rental homes make up over one-third of all rental properties in the US. There are about 16 million rental households, and the high demand is showing no signs of slowing down. If a single-family home rental is what you’re looking for, you may realize that it can be harder to find listings and schedule showings unlike if you are looking into apartment buildings, which often have a property manager on-site. Real estate agents have access to the local multiple listing service, thus, they will know which houses are available for rent and can help you schedule tours faster.
 
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5. You’re a first-time renter who wants to better understand the complicated matters regarding your lease. While most tenants can find a place on their own without the help of any real estate professional, it isn’t surprising to feel overwhelmed with all the complicated matters a rental lease entails. Before signing the dotted line, enlisting the help of a real estate agent can help you understand all the vital information included in your lease. They can also be very helpful if you’re the type who doesn’t want to waste your precious time sitting in front of the computer, trying to browse for rental properties and narrowing down your options, but still having difficulties getting tour schedules to see properties.
 
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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.

 
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There are many ways to find a real estate agent who helps not only home buyers or sellers but also services renters. You can check online for local rental listings and websites of real estate firms. You may also know about reliable real estate agents from personal referrals. Ask your families or friends for the names of experienced agents whom they’ve already worked with when they bought or sold a home. Chances are even if they don’t work with rentals, they probably have a colleague or a team member who also deals with rentals with whom they can connect you.
 

Bottom Line

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.

10 Moving Mistakes You’d Want To Avoid

Moving is complicated and stressful. There’s more to it than buying several boxes, packing your stuff and relocating to your new home because, in reality, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Here are some of the most common moving mistakes, and tips on how to avoid them through proper planning and allocating enough time towards the process.
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1. Miscalculating how many boxes you’ll need.

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Before packing your things, try to come up with a good estimate of the number of boxes you need. If you fall short, take note of what you already have — such as suitcases and dresser drawers — and use them as makeshift moving containers to cut down on the costs of boxes.

 

2. Not getting enough padding for your items.

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Having enough padding materials is necessary if you don’t want to end up with broken items when you arrive in your new home. You will need a good stock of bubble wrap or thick packing paper to cushion fragile items and protect your furniture edges from scratches. Likewise, you can also use personal items such as linens, blankets, bedding, and even clothes and dish towels to wrap up any fragile and sharp objects and fill in the gaps in their moving boxes.

 

3. Forgetting to label your boxes.

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“Labeling boxes is Moving 101,” according to Moving.com. When you pack your things, don’t forget to have markers and tape with you to organize your stuff. Knowing what things are included in each box will also lessen the time it will take you to unpack.

 

4. Packing your things at the last minute.

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Even if you’re the least organized person and you plan to just throw things into moving boxes, remember that packing takes time. You thought it’ll only take you an hour to pack the things in your bedroom when in reality, it could take you a whole day to sort through your stuff. The kitchen might even take you 2-3 days, especially if you have any delicate items that need to be carefully wrapped and stored. Remember to give yourself enough time and be realistic about how much it will take you to tackle each area in your home. You can avoid the stress of trying to pack on a tight timeline when you plan these things ahead.

 

5. Not preparing a moving essentials bag.

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A moving essentials bag is a duffel bag, backpack, or a suitcase where you can easily access the things you’ll need on the day of your move and the few days after it. It’ll be convenient for you since you won’t have to rummage through all your moving boxes just to find a basic item you’re looking for. Fill it with your personal items and necessities such as your wallet, keys, medications, basic toiletries, important documents, electronics and chargers, a few clothes, etc. If you have kids, remember to have them pack their own essentials bag, as well.

 

6. Not getting rid of things you no longer need.

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Sort through your items and simply throw out the things you no longer need. Remember that the fewer things you have to move, the better and less stressful it can be for you. You can save time, money, and effort, and won’t have to waste resources like boxes, padding, and fuel. So don’t waste time packing stuff you don’t really need, only to unpack them again in your new home without knowing where those things will fit. You can donate your stuff or give them to family members once they no longer serve a purpose in your life.

 

7. You choose to DIY your move instead of getting professional help.

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Think twice before deciding to DIY your move instead of hiring the expertise of a professional moving company to save money. Remember that a DIY move may not be as cheap if you will count these major pitfalls, such as wear and tear on your body, damage to household goods, and unexpected fuel costs. Even if you have friends who are willing to help, it’s still labor-intensive and risky.


Hiring moving experts will help you in assessing the size of your move. They are also a great help for moving belongings and furniture, lifting heavy items, and handling the move in a safe and organized manner. You will do yourself a favor if you hire the pros, especially if you have a truck’s worth of heavy belongings.
 

8. Not anticipating the cost of your move.

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Most movers offer estimates, not quotes, so you can have a general idea of what your move will cost you. This will be helpful especially if you’re trying to keep costs in a certain range. Figure out how much you need to budget so you won’t be surprised in case there’s a fuel surcharge or you will need significant add-on services from the movers. Experts recommend that you get at least three estimates from different moving companies. Also, don’t forget to ask questions about possible hidden fees, especially if you’re considering the cheapest bid.

 

9. You didn’t check your insurance.

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With moving insurance, there are many policies and coverage levels to choose from. Before choosing a moving company, ask about what types of coverage options are available to you and whether you need to get more than what’s being offered. This is also the time to review your homeowner's insurance policy if it offers additional moving insurance to know which works best for your move.

 

10. You forget that plants and animals have special needs when moving.

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With all the other things you’re worried about, it’s unavoidable to forget the special needs of our pets and even plants when moving. You can’t just throw them in the box or load them in your car. Make sure that before moving day, your pet has current shots, tags, papers, and certificates, especially if you are moving from one state to another.


Keep in mind that lots of movers won’t handle plants especially if you’re crossing state lines. If you’re planning to bring them by car, remember to first check with the USDA for specific rules and regulations in the state where you’re relocating. If you find out you can’t move your plants, you may opt to donate them to friends, the community garden, or the local retirement home.

5 Things That Might Cost You If You Hide Things From Your Landlord

As a renter, there’s nothing more valuable than maintaining a good relationship with your landlord or property manager. One way you can keep a positive connection is by being honest and upfront right from the start. However, one surefire way to form a negative relationship is to lie or hide things from them. And because you will usually be found out anyway, you’ll have to deal with the consequences of your actions sooner or later. This could make your life more stressful in the long run.

Some of the most common things tenants hide from their landlord include pets, a roommate, damage or problems to the property, running a business, or even DIY repairs or improvements. While many of these things might not seem like a big deal to you as a renter, there are reasons why landlords choose to enforce these rules to their unit in the first place. Here are some of the things that might cost you if you’ve been dishonest to your landlord:

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1. MONEY

Hiding things from your landlord can definitely cost you additional expenses. If you are

lucky enough, you will be simply charged with a fine and be required to pay extra rent or deposits as outlined in your lease. If your landlord discovers that you’re secretly keeping a furry friend—which could be against your apartment’s pet policy—the management company could slap you with a hefty fine or charge back pet rent and deposit. In one of the worst-case scenarios, they may even ask to remove your pet and may consider terminating your lease. And that security deposit you’re holding onto that you can put towards a new place may be forfeited.

2. A PLACE TO LIVE

More than a simple fine, you can also get evicted if you break rental contract rules.Landlords have their reasons when they say they don’t want a pet or an unlisted roommate in their rental property. Your pets may not be covered by their insurance, and unlisted people may not be held liable if they caused damage to the property. It is simply not worth it to skirt the rules and breach the terms of your lease if it would mean you’ll be out of place to live. To avoid a stressed out life brought about by the ramifications of breaking your rental contract, do some research before you sign the lease.

3. CREDIT SCORE

If you’re still hoping to own a house as part of your American Dream, this can be one of the most important things you don’t want to risk while you’re still a tenant. If your landlord decides to evict you for breaking the terms of your lease, it can seriously affect your credit rating. And having a good credit score is certainly crucial for finding a new rental place or getting approved for a mortgage loan. It plays a big role especially when time comes for you to buy a home. The eviction may cause a serious drop in your credit score and it will likely appear on future tenant screening reports.

4. LEGAL ACTION

We know it’s something we all want to avoid, but hiding things from your landlord could even be a cause for a lawsuit if things escalate further. Some states allow landlords to sue tenants for damages or repairs they caused during their occupancy. It’s even a more likely scenario if your pet accidentally bites someone or your additional roommate incurred damage to the unit. As the renter, you have the option to countersue, but just think of how much time and money it might cost you during the process. Your landlord may also choose to take legal action if you refuse to pay fines or bills to cover the damages to the property.

5. YOUR REPUTATION

Aside from paying for additional expenses, losing your place to live, and risking an attractive credit score, what about your reputation? And we’re talking here about you losing a good rental reference, which is necessary when it’s time for you to apply to a new apartment. Even if your landlord is kind enough to let you stay on his property and only charges you with a fine, he/she will still likely bring up the dishonesty with your prospective landlords. Or the property’s management company could give you a negative review every time they areasked about your performance and reputation as a tenant. Without strong references from past landlords, this could make it rather difficult to secure a nice place that you actually want to live in.

 

Bottom Line

While rules differ from state to state and the consequences of your actions depend on the severity of the situation and the rental management style, being honest to your landlord is still the best policy. Do some research on the rental property before you sign the lease. If you want to move in with your pet or have been planning to get one soon, choose a pet-friendly unit where you’ll need to pay the necessary pet deposit and extra charges. If you have a friend who wants to temporarily move in, get written permission beforehand to know if it’s even possible. Likewise, read your rental agreement carefully before you dare break the rules. At the end of the day, always contemplate the lesson of the old maxim: “Honesty is the best policy.”