By Tim Stroh
Despite the fact that nearly all buyers of real estate use a Realtor to help them find the perfect property to purchase, many consumers do not utilize the help of a Realtor when they are looking to rent. Below is a list of five important reasons why you should consider using a Realtor to supplement your rental search.
- Market expertise. Realtors have the market knowledge that can come in handy during your search. Realtors are able to look up comparable units and buildings in the area that you’re considering to make sure that you are getting a fair rate. Realtors can provide you with average rental rates for different neighborhoods, which can also help you narrow your search to areas that fit your budget.
- A Realtor can save you money. Realtors can use their market expertise to negotiate a lower rental rate on your behalf. Many renters are not aware that rent prices are almost always negotiable, particularly when renting a home or condo. Realtors can also help negotiate the waiving or lowering of fees associated with rentals, and/or the inclusion of parking, storage, etc.
- You do not have to pay a broker fee. In the Chicago area, Realtors receive their fees from the landlord or management company, so they are providing a free service to the renter. On top of that, a Realtor only gets paid if they find you a place, further motivating them to do the best job possible.
- Notification of new rentals as soon as they hit the market. If you decide to use a Realtor, they can set you up to receive listings that fit your criteria as soon as they hit the market. This means that you can beat the competition by scheduling a showing before others even see that it is available. It also means that you don’t have to necessarily skim various rental websites every day to see what’s new. While you can often set up a new listing notification email for sites like Zillow and Hotpads, there is often a lag time between when the unit is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and when the listing hits the feeder sites. Having a leg up on timing can be crucial when looking for your next home.
- Convenience. A Realtor can take the information you give them in terms of what you’re looking for and set up showings that are back to back, where they drive you around to various options that match your search criteria. This means you don’t have to spend your time calling or emailing various landlords to set up showings on random days and times.