Should you work with a real estate salesperson to find a rental unit?

People are often surprised to learn that registered real estate salespeople can help you find a rental. In fact, there are distinct advantages to hiring one.

Finding and working with a salesperson or broker to help you find a rental property is very similar to hiring one for purchasing a home. In that sense, it can be a valuable experience to have before you decide it is time to buy your first home.

Before you start looking at rentals, you first have to shop around for a salesperson. Once you’ve found one who offers the service options that best suit you, you’ll be asked to sign an agreement with the real estate professional’s brokerage. This agreement, which is a legal contract, will describe the services to be provided and state the amount of commission and how it will be paid. The contract may require you to work only with that brokerage for a specified period of time.

By signing this agreement as a renter, you benefit from the same protections afforded to home buyers and sellers.

For example, you will be able to take advantage of the salesperson’s education and experience, as well as their specific knowledge of the area in which you want to live. What’s more, working with a salesperson provides you with insurance that can protect your deposit for the rental.

Real estate professionals must also follow standards that emphasize fairness, honesty and integrity, providing you with further protection.

In terms of commission, typically the landlord pays for the services of a salesperson, but you’ll want to confirm that detail with the person you are working with.

After you’ve signed the agreement with the brokerage, you should have a detailed conversation with the salesperson about your preferences in a rental unit. For example, where would you like to live? A stand-alone home or an apartment? How much can you afford to pay each month, with or without utilities? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want a big kitchen?

The more thorough the discussion you have, the better the chance that they will find the place that is just right for you. Armed with your criteria, they will be able to search and return with a list of possible locations for you to consider. They will also arrange for you to see the units you may be interested in viewing.

Finally, when you find a place, they can help negotiate the terms of the rental, including the length of the lease. Negotiating can be time-consuming and stressful, so if you can have a salesperson do that for you, that can be a big relief.


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