Whether you're going from a home you've owned to a rental property in another state, or are looking for your first solo living situation after college or graduate school, you may be perusing rental listings and wondering how you'll ever be able to save several months' rent for a deposit while paying moving expenses and your other costs of living. While you may associate real estate agents with the purchase and sale of homes, they can sometimes assist with rental transactions as well. Read on to learn more about the payment structure for real estate agents helping you find rental properties, as well as the factors you'll want to consider when deciding whether to enlist the help of an agent to find your next rental.
How are real estate agents paid for helping you find rental properties?
When a real estate agent helps you find a home or condo for sale, he or she will usually receive a commission based on a percentage of the selling price. However, the payment arrangement for a real estate agent who assists with a rental transaction can vary from a percentage of the first month's rent to the security deposit or other initial payment. You may also opt to pay your real estate agent a flat fee based on the number of hours he or she has spent in trying to find your perfect rental home or apartment.
Should you get a real estate agent to help with your next rental transaction?
Although it's usually possible to rent a home or apartment without using a real estate agent of your own, there are some situations in which the use of a real estate agent can be beneficial. If you're in a hot renter's market where new properties are snapped up nearly instantly, you may want to cultivate a relationship with a seller's agent so that he or she can send rental properties your way as soon as they hit the market, rather than making you compete against others who are constantly stalking the rental listings in your area. A real estate agent can also help you if you're moving to an area you haven't (or have only rarely) visited before, as he or she will be able to make a number of dinner, home improvement, and entertainment suggestions to help you and your family members begin to fit in among your new neighbors instantly.