Not every "for-rent" is a "homecoming."
How long does it take you to finalize a new home for rent? Can you silence your inner needs of owning a perfect apartment with perfect french windows, a serene neighborhood, and a backyard?
In your quest to find the perfect home, you might have come across innumerable "for-rent" apartments or checked out dozens of ads. Hiring a real estate agent saves all that time.
The real estate agent is the "pandora's box" in the real estate world. They have access to the most selective apartments, which are affordable, well-furnished, and centrally located.
One of a real estate agent's responsibilities is maintaining the infrastructure requirements of a rental apartment. They monitor property surroundings, check for wear and tear and run asset maintenance through property management software.
If you still have time before you leave, learn about these 14 benefits of a real estate agent to find your next rental.
Who are real estate agents?
Real estate agents are licensed professionals who connect tenants to landlords, arrange transactions, and negotiate the correct price terms. Real estate agent work on a contractual basis and charge commissions for services. If you book a real estate agent to find a house for rent, they can't leave you midway through all the paperwork.
Real estate agents are trained in the art of selling. They can drive you downtown, lay the groundwork, and help you decide on a potential home investment. The amount of effort they put in is a testament to the benefits they bring.
Benefits of a real estate agent
Direct interaction with property owners or landlords might land you in a quandary of thoughts. The owner's background, rent, security, and legal compliance are the main issues you must worry about. Since they own the place, it won't take them a minute to blame you for something and send a notice of evacuation. A real estate agent binds both parties into a contract that expires after at least a year. The contract prevents the owner from falsifying charges and accusing the tenant out of the blue.
Before you call a place your home, you need to do the math. You need to examine the place, identify the defects and inform the property owner about the current condition. Real estate agents help you narrow down your analysis, calculate incurred costs and tie you up in a negotiation with the owner.
Getting into a contract with a real estate agent can help you learn what they do and the benefits they bring on board.
14 benefits of using a real estate agent
- It’s free
- You can have an honest relationship
- Agents have total access
- You might be a bad negotiator
- You might have credit issues
- The nuances of the lease
- Security deposit implications
- Ethics and Expertise
- Facility maintenance
- Rent control
- Neighborhood and locality information
- Police verification and documentation
- Move-in inspection and repair
- MLS (multiple listing service)
1. It’s free
When you contract with a real estate agent, they will usually not charge you anything because the landlord will pay for the agent’s services. If a landlord rents to a tenant represented by a real estate agent, the cost to the landlord can sometimes be as significant as an entire month’s rent. But again, that’s not your problem.
2. You can have an honest relationship
Like going to a car dealership where the staff is non-commissioned, dealing with a real estate agent can be great because that agent will be working for you while paid by the landlord. This lances away money from the picture — at least between you and the real estate agent. This means the goal of both parties can be to find you the best apartment at the best price in the best location.
Your relationship with the real estate agent shouldn't be cloaked in ulterior motives, which makes for a more stress-free experience.
3. Agents have total access
Yes, we know that you are computer savvy and capable of looking on all the online sites, finding the still-existent rental magazines, and even cruising neighborhoods in search of "for-rent" signs. You are good at Excel, and you like to make spreadsheets, and you know you could create a beautiful rendition of everything for rent in the neighborhoods you like and your price range.
Our point here is that there is no good reason for you to have to do that since a real estate agent can complete all of that work for you. They will constantly hit you with warm leads and bring detailed property insights to your table. It is up to you to reject, accept, or ask for more choices. What could be easier?
4. You might be a bad negotiator
Michael Rozbruch said, “Everything in life and business is negotiable, everything!” He wasn’t kidding; this can be especially true in apartment rentals. In Austin, Texas, many would-be tenants look at the listed price for an apartment as an asking price as if the property were a home.
In Chicago, IL, If a landlord lists a one-bedroom unit at $1800, the tenant might come back and offer $1700, which is an accepted practice. Another person might try and get a discounted monthly rent for a longer-term lease. Your real estate agent can mediate your requirements if you are uncomfortable with these business dealings.
Let your agent do the down-and-dirty negotiations while you sit back and wait to see if your offer is accepted.
5. You might have credit issues
Just as good credit is essential when you buy a home (you can still buy with bad credit, right?), it’s equally important as you attempt to obtain an apartment lease.
Landlords today are even pickier than they used to be. Some will require an application from your employer, your monthly income, permission to access your credit report, and clearance from the last two landlords ( and other items that may be asked for). A good real estate agent can walk you through the process while proofreading your application.
If you have bad credit, it can be an issue that means quick application rejection. A real estate agent, however, can go to bat for you and explain to the landlord or rental company exactly why you would be at a better credit risk than your credit score might indicate.
Even though the information will be the same, it may mean a lot more to the landlord if it comes from a third party — your agent — and if there are good reasons for your poor credit. Your agent may also have dealt with the landlord or rental company in the past, and they may trust his or her judgment. At any rate, it’s great to have someone else on your side.
6. The nuances of the lease
Do you understand the nuances of an apartment lease? If not, it's time you open your brains to legal language.
Are you able to plow through legalese? Do you know what rights a lease bestows upon you, and are you aware of the responsibilities that come with it? Do you know the consequences of moving out early?
An example of legal documentation:
"The application for this Lease and all representations contained therein are made a part of this Lease. Resident warrants that the information given by Resident in the application is true. Any misrepresentation made by Resident in the application shall constitute a material non-compliance with the terms of the Lease and shall be a basis for the Owner to terminate this Lease and repossess the Unit as provided by law after the Owner gives Resident 10 days written notice of said material noncompliance."
This type of language is common to apartment leases, and your real estate agent should be able to explain it to you. If not, the agent should be able to get you in touch with a good lawyer that can review the lease. Again, suppose a lawyer advises you that a portion of the lease needs to be changed. In that case, your real estate agent can be the go-between, contact your landlord, and work out any changes in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties involved.
7. Security deposit implications
Some landlords are fair regarding security deposit issues, and others are not. Generally, normal encroachment, or a few nicks in the wall or a dirty carpet, should not be a reason to forfeit your security deposit.
Most municipalities have laws that protect tenants from landlord security deposit abuse. In some municipalities, if a landlord withholds a security deposit, he is convicted of a crime. In other words, if the amount illegally withheld was $500, you could be awarded $1500 plus attorneys’ fees.
If your landlord doesn't relent, the real estate agents can help you make a "compromised settlement." Experienced agents know how to control and seize a matter without letting each party face the music. They alert you to potential fraud before you even sign a lease, as the lease would bind you legally for a year or longer.
Similar to the "Hippocratic oath" sworn by doctors, real estate agents swear to help the client until the end of the deal. They abide by the "The Realtor's Code of Ethics," a set of guidelines to strengthen consumer awareness, trust, and reliability.
The realtor's code of ethics has been set in writing for 100 years. It was first started in 1913 by National Association of Realtors (NAR) members. These guidelines instill the values of trust, loyalty, and zero fraud for real estate agents. They are obligated to provide you with clear and honest information. They only take what's theirs, the 10% commission on the deal. Even though they don't have a real job, they do not befool clients in their own financial interest.
Sure, you can wander door-to-door and inspect every "for-rent" property. But what about hidden issues like market value, price settlement, technical feasibility, connectivity, and security? Aren't these things figured out once a person starts living on a particular property? A real estate agent's professional expertise gives insight into all latent details. It prevents you from spending big dollars on the wrong apartment.
You can trust an agent as they know the entire area inside-out. They can compare the price against genuine pricing parameters, check for hidden outages or leakages in the property, and contact the neighbors to gain more information. A real estate agent maintains high personal and professional standards while showing you a house. They have vendor tie-ups, service tie-ups, and technicians that can solve every recurring problem in your house.
10. Rent Control and negotiation
It is lucrative for owners to charge more bucks for their property. They have a way around the price. They claim to offer more facilities than they can provide so that in the nick of that decision-making moment, the person agrees to pay more.
A real estate agent controls the rent disbursement as per lawful practices. If they discover the landlord overcharging, they will negotiate with him on your behalf. Reversely, they help owners get the best out of the deal too, with property accounting, to gain profit. They urge both parties to arrive at a fair, doable, and consistent rent.
11. Neighbourhood and locality information
Real estate agents specialize in selling houses in a particular area. They are assigned areas based on their expertise, familiarity, and convenience. For example, if you are relocating to Jericho County in Vermont, you must pre-book your rental. You can't show up in snow-clad Jericho with your lock, stock, and barrel and go house hunting. A real estate agent helps you with that.
A real estate agent briefs you on the neighborhood information, localities, nearest markets, and transportability of a particular area. They provide you with gazillions of house options that are affordable, well-connected, and secure. It would take you months to know about the neighborhood or locality of an area, while real-estate agents have it all printed for you.
12. Police verification and documentation
So you made up your mind about renting an apartment. You're happy with your choice, and so is your real estate agent. But what next? Most property owners run a full-blown applicant background and police verification on tenants. You must have a clean slate, no criminal record, and a good salary to suffice the requirements. If you have a bad credit score, real estate agents try to defend you in front of the owner.
The police and legal verification process is arduous. But your real estate agents do the heavy lifting for you. You need to submit the required number of documents, ID proofs, and other legal certificates, and they will conduct these checks without making you a part of the process.
13. Move-in repair and inspection.
Real estate agents outsource the "move-in" property management tasks to third-party vendors. Before you move into the apartment, these vendors send their teams on maintenance and inspection duty. The team conducts deep cleaning, pest control, bathroom cleaning, or repairs electronic appliances in advance so that you don't face a problem afterward.
Real estate agents also help you communicate with existing tenants of the apartment and add you to relevant groups. You can easily split the bills, technician costs, carpenter costs, groceries, and other additional costs with your flatmates without pulling the real-estate agent into the conversation.
14. MLS (Multiple listing service)
If you think your real estate agent is a one-trick pony, think again. Siging up for a real estate agent exposes you to the gamut of the real estate world. Your information is disseminated among landlords and owners with the best properties, deals, and discounts.
MLS software is a suite of services that real estate agents or owners use for correct property valuation and appraisal. It computes the actual market value and sorts buyers and tenants interested in proposing an offer. It glances through rental applications of each tenant and sets custom criteria to shortlist the best tenant. The software matches tenants with a group of buyers that match their price range, bedroom requirements, and other facilities.
Now, as we have gone through the dissertation on the benefits of a real estate agent, let's look more closely at where the need arises in the first place.
Why consult a real estate agent to find a rental property?
A real estate agent can give you keys to your dream home, condo, studio apartment, or co-living space. Although they take a specific commission, they can offer you better deals than newspapers, magazines, or the internet. They have inbound ties with a circle of landlords that fit in well with your requirements.
Using a real agent gives you a competitive edge. You can get the best properties at a fraction of the price of standard rentals. Real estate knows the innards of a local real estate market and has its pulse on fresh listings. They are in touch with small investors and large apartment complex owners. They act as a mediator between the renting party and the client to surmount deal discrepancies, exchange of information, and price.
Renters can approach a real estate agent directly rather than a third-party rental website that charges hundreds of dollars in commission. A rental company or management can only tell you the currently available rooms or units in an apartment complex. Their evaluation might be biased or reserved based on social and economic factors. But a real-estate agent only shows you the best properties without a tinge of bias or discrimination.
In some markets, real estate agents are referred to as realtors. While it's just a shorthand, there are some differences between the two terms.
Realtors vs. real estate agents
It takes quite a few years of experience for a real estate agent to become a realtor.
A realtor is a licensed professional who has been in the real estate space for over five years. They undergo training roundups every year and pursue additional real estate certifications. They are specific board members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) board. One realtor manages a team of real estate agents and subjugates them to different areas and municipalities.
A real estate agent is a junior-level professional with a license to help you shortlist and purchase apartments for rent or lease. To achieve the license, each agent goes through a state-level examination. They are trained on a particular area's local, federal, and state policies. A real estate agent works closely with landlords or sellers to list vacant homes while aspiring buyers or tenants invest in a particular property.
Call your real estate agent for your next housewarming
While you may be the type of person who does not want to deal with third-party entities that seem to mint money, you may be better served by a real estate agent.
They do all the legwork, are well-informed, and make the rental procedure easy and breezy. Yes, it can be a DIY project, but it is worth considering the services of a qualified agent to unlock your next home!
Get insights into your present real estate business and control oversights with vendors and contracts through the best property restoration software.
This article was originally published in 2019. The content has been updated with new information.