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Real estate agents are often associated with buying or selling a home. They are certainly great people to have on your team in these situations. But did you know that you can also use a real estate agent when you are ready to rent a home?
Benefits of Using an Agent
When moving to a new home or new city, it can be hard to find a good rental in your price range. Rental properties tend to have higher turnover that purchased properties so the selection can really vary within just a few months. Working with an agent can help save you time in your search.
An agent can also provide valuable information about the area. This can be everything from typical commute times to information about public and private schools. Agents often know about rentals before they are marketed to the public, so they can even get you a great deal before a lot of competition makes it difficult to find.
Paying an Agent/Property Manager
Most of the time, the person renting out the home or apartment (the landlord) pays the agent to place a tenant, manage the property, or both. You can make the argument that this translates to a higher rent cost for you, the tenant, which may be true. But it almost always means better and more responsive service as well. You will typically not pay the management individual or company directly.
Tenant placement fees vary but are usually between $500 and one month’s rent. These are generally a one-time payment made from the landlord to the agent. Property management fees can run around 10% of the monthly rent and are also paid from the landlord to the property manager or management company. The tenant is very rarely responsible for any of these fees. Some places even prohibit landlords from passing these expenses directly to the tenant. Working with a reputable agent and property manager can help you be confident that the set up is both legal and in the best interest of everyone involved.