Should I use a broker to find a rental premises?
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Broker
Do you need to use a broker to find a rental property? There are advantages and disadvantages to using a broker to find a rental property. The biggest disadvantage is that you may have to pay a fee. If you are like me you hate paying a broker for anything, that with a little work I can get for free. One other possible disadvantage is that they deal with or have relationships with landlords that require them to do background checks, such as credits checks and looking into references. While that may not be an issue for some people, with the economy over the last few years, many of us have some items on our credit report that could hurt our chances of getting a rental property.
The next issue I have with real estate agents is that I have found many of them to be extremely dishonest. They will do whater is necessary to get you to sign the lease even if it may not be in your best interests or that they may have left out some significant information regarding the rental premises. After you sign a lease your recourse is usually limited. Always try to get some references for any real estate agent you use.
Another downside to using a broker is that they may requests upfront fees. Do not pay any upfront fees to a real estate broker. If they find you a place they may want to charge you an application and credit report fee and that is fine. While we all hate fees these you may not be able to avoid if you want the property in question.
Also, a scam going on today is that someone will list a property, as a broker or owner, and meet you there to show it to you. They will request a month of security deposit which some people will pay. The problem is that these people actually do not own the property and are not brokers. It may be a foreclosed upon home or just one that is actually for rent and this scammer knows this. While this is difficult to check out you can go to local property records and see who the recorded owner is.
So there are some advantages to using a broker. You have someone doing the leg work for you and they should only be finding rental properties with landlords that they either know or might know some background on. So a good broker will know what is available and what would be a good fit for you. There are also some landlords that only use brokers so if you want that specific property you have no choice but to use one and with some landlords they will actually pay the brokers so you have no fee involved.
A good realtor, which is very hard to find, can be a vast source of knowledge on the local rental market and be of extreme use when fing a new house or apartment to live in.
If you want to do this on your own and avoid any possible fee, you should try local resources first. Local newspapers or pennysaver are a great source of rentals. Craigslist is another. If you know of a neighborhood you like drive through and see if you see any signs for rental properties. If you are diligent you can usually find a place without a broker. I just had to find a new home and used the local pennysaver and found one. The market where I am is kind of tight and it was hard to find a house in the cheap price range I was looking for. When I did find it I had to move very quickly because if I had not there were numerous other renters interested in it.