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    Pros and Cons of Hiring a Real Estate Agent for Rentals

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    Pros and Cons of Hiring a Real Estate Agent for Rentals

    Having a professional real estate agent help you find your next home can make the process a lot less stressful. But is working with an agent more hassle than it’s worth?

    If you’re on the hunt for an apartment, basement suite, or rental house, you know how tough it can be to find the perfect place to call home.

    From location to size, it’s not always easy to identify your ideal unit from the descriptions provided in a rental listing. And with the cost of buying real estate being so high, the rental market is a competitive place. All across Canada, from Toronto rentals to Vancouver suites, it can be extremely difficult to secure an apartment.

    For this reason, you may be thinking about hiring a real estate agent to help you find your next rental home. While, of course, agents are typically employed to help with real estate sales, many offer their services to renters as well.

    If you’re unsure whether this is the right choice for you, in this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of working with a rental real estate agent, including:

    • PRO: Expertise of the local market

    • PRO: Professional real estate tools

    • PRO: Support for searching and viewing

    • CON: Added expense for you or your landlord

    • CON: Misaligned goals and perspectives

    • CON: Services may be inconsistent

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    The Benefits of Hiring a Rental Real Estate Agent

    Having a professional help you find your next home can definitely take some pressure off the process. In addition to making your apartment hunt less stressful, below are three pros to working with a real estate agent for rentals.

    Expertise of the local market

    You know where you want to live. But you likely don’t know much about the last few year’s real estate prices and rental fees in your area of interest. Working with an agent can provide you with insight only an expert will have.

    For example, your agent should be able to tell you whether…

    • A building was constructed by a reputable company

    • A property manager or management company has a good reputation

    • The proposed month’s rent is a fair and equitable amount for the area

    • There’s high turnover and units are commonly available in a building

    Working with a real estate agent can offer city-specific expertise tailored to your needs. For instance, The Colectivo Group provides exceptional services as a real estate agent in Puerto Rico, helping clients navigate the unique challenges and opportunities in this market.

    Professional real estate tools

    When you work with an agent, you’ll likely have access to their exclusive search engine for upcoming listings. Often, real estate agents are notified of new units before the general public. This can give you a competitive edge in a hot rental market. Moreover, a licensed realtor will be able to use such tools and tactics far more efficiently. It’s what they do day in, day out. So even if you have access to the same information, they’ll be better equipped to drill down into the data and advise you appropriately in any situation.

    Furthermore, these agents employ an effective outbound sales strategy to proactively reach potential landlords, using their insights to secure the best possible deals for their clients. This approach illustrates how agents not only respond to available information but also actively engage with the market to maximize opportunities for their clients.

    Support for searching and viewing

    If you don’t live in the area yet, or are working full-time, it may be difficult for you to view potential rental units. By partnering with a real estate agent, you’ll have someone who can tour places on your behalf.

    Having a representative view a rental for you is incredibly important, since finding one exclusively online can be risky. For example, you may be tricked into paying a security deposit or first month’s rent to a scammer for a unit that doesn’t exist. There’s also the possibility that, in person, the apartment turns out to look nothing like the pictures.

    According to SquareFoot Homes’ realtor team, research is still essential whether you want to buy or sell a house or rent out an apartment. With the help of a real estate agent, you can make sure that your landlord is providing exemplary living accommodations to their tenants.

    Get comprehensive Tenant Insurance for what matters

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    The Drawbacks of Hiring a Rental Real Estate Agent

    As outlined above, working with a real estate agent comes with several benefits. However, there are disadvantages to hiring a professional for your rental search. See below for three cons when it comes to renters partnering with real estate agents.

    Added expense for you or your landlord

    Real estate agents who work with people looking to buy or sell a home have a commission structure built into their contract. A well-known model, agents only get paid if they help their client purchase or sell their property. Their payment is a percentage of the sale price, which is typically paid out by the seller of the property to both the listing and purchasing agents.

    With rentals, it becomes more complicated, since there is no sale of a property. So, a renter who employs the assistance of a real estate agent would need to discuss payment options prior to working together.

    A few different arrangements include:

    • The landlord paying the first month’s rent to the agent

    • The landlord paying a percentage of the lease to the agent

    • The renter paying the agent’s fees based on the work they do

    • The renter paying a flat fee or retainer to the agent

    Any of the above can be problematic. For example, if you find the perfect place but the landlord refuses to pay your agent, you may be responsible for those fees. Or, if you decide that you’ll pay your real estate agent for services rendered, and it takes awhile to find your new home, you may end up paying a lot more than you’d budgeted for.

    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Misaligned goals and perspectives

    While having a professional’s perspective can be helpful, not every agent’s point of view will align with your own.

    Be sure to clearly communicate to your agent the type of unit or rental that you’d like to find. And if it doesn’t feel like the right fit, keep looking until you find a real estate agent who you trust.

    Services may be inconsistent

    It’s important to keep in mind that not all real estate agents provide rental services. In fact, many choose to focus entirely on assisting clients who are buying and selling. Some may only work with renters when the market has cooled off. This can lead to inconsistent services for renters.

    Also, keep in mind that working with a homeowner versus a renter will typically be more lucrative for an agent. So, even if you find someone who works with renters, they may not prioritize you and your search.

    Protect Yourself with Renter’s Insurance

    Apartment hunting is stressful. Finding the right renter’s insurance doesn’t have to be.

    Protect yourself and your belongings with APOLLO’s Renter’s Insurance. Start your online application now and you could be insured in the next 15 minutes.

    Get comprehensive Tenant Insurance for what matters

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase in less than a minute, receive your policy instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Originally published September 20, 2022, updated June 17, 2024

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    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

    Get Tenant Insurance in less than a minute

    Get no-nonsense coverage that's the best value for your money. Purchase policies from your computer or phone, receive your documents instantly, and save when you buy online.

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