Should You Hire an Agent to Find You a Rental Home?

locating detroit area rentalsMany of the calls we get on our rental properties are a dead-end for us and the interested party as we don’t manage something that fits their needs or budget.  A decent number of these callers tell us how difficult a time they’re having finding a home and complain about the time they’re investing in their search.

Surprisingly though, when we ask these people if they’d like to hire us to find them a rental home, 100% of them tell us no.

We’ve always found this to be odd. 

A majority of people looking to buy a home hire a real estate agent to assist them.

The opposite seems to be the case with people looking for a home to rent.

Logically, there isn’t much difference between looking for a home to rent versus buy.  In fact, it should be easier for an agent to find someone a rental home because most tenants aren’t as picky as buyers.  Put another way, a person renting a home puts nothing into the deal and can easily move at the end of their lease if they don’t like the home.  Those buying a home make a bigger and longer commitment, so you’d expect them to be more discerning.

Let’s take a look at the pro’s and cons of using an agent to find a home to rent:

Reasons FOR using a Real Estate Agent Reasons AGAINST using a Real Estate Agent
Agents have access to the MLS list of rentals Agents typically do not search websites for rentals
Agents save you time by sifting through available properties and setting showings for you Unless they ask enough good questions, they may not understand what you want 
You don’t typically pay agents anything for finding a property, the property owner pays them Agents typically only earn ½ month’s rent as commission and may not work very hard
Agents should protect you from signing a bad lease agreement Agents aren’t attorneys and may have limited experience with leases
Agents make sure your deposit to hold a property doesn’t “disappear” Your deposit may still be stuck in escrow if you have a dispute with a landlord or agent
Agents typically have more experience at negotiating than you They may also negotiate against you unless they’re a buyer’s agent

Of all the issues above, the two biggest in our opinion are:

  1. Most agents don’t look at Craig’s List, RentLinx or other websites for rental properties.
  2. Agents make a lot less in commissions on rentals so won’t be willing to show as many homes to a renting client as to a buying client.

If you do decide to work with an agent, don’t be surprised if they charge you a small upfront fee to make sure you’re committed to them.

Also, be sure to find one that will send you not only MLS listings, but will also search other websites for you and send you those results also.

By the way – we’d be more than happy to assist you in your search for a rental home in the metropolitan Detroit area.  Just give us a call or send an email.

Posted in: 2. Tenant Blog Posts, Finding Rental Home

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Comments:

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