When you’re looking to rent an apartment to live in, you have a number of decisions to make. You need to choose a neighborhood and budget, while deciding whether you want to furnish it yourself. Once you’ve made these decisions, you may believe that you are ready to find your apartment. However, you may not actually know what questions to ask when renting an apartment.
Depending on where you live, there are many potential landmines. Landlords may try to take advantage of you, not telling you about issues with the property and overcharging. You will need to do your due diligence and hope that you get all the right information.
Alternatively, you can speak to a real estate agent for help renting an apartment. There are advantages and disadvantages to using a realtor when moving apartments. Here’s what you need to know.
Why don’t some people trust realtors?
You may have spoken to friends and family members who have warned you off real estate agents. They claim that realtors are just not trustworthy, and are likely to mislead you into renting a place that doesn’t fit your needs.
There is reason for skepticism, in that there are realtors who are unscrupulous in how they do business. The simple reality is that realtors earn money on commissions, and they benefit from quickly finalizing a deal at a high price. However, that does not mean all realtors are dishonest. In fact, most do their best to get you a good deal.
You should be cautious when choosing a realtor and look at testimonials online. But is it worth the risk?
Finding the perfect place (in half the time)
One reason you may choose to go with a realtor is that they are likely to find the perfect apartment in a fraction of the time it would take you. They have listings of what is available in the area you are searching, as well as insight into what keywords to look out for. They will identify the pros and cons of each place before presenting them to you, arming you with information before you ever see the place in person.
You can get much of this information yourself, but it will take you a lot longer and you are likely to miss out on many indications. The chances of finding the best place are much higher when using a realtor.
Knowledge of tenant protections
An even greater reason to use a realtor is that they have an in-depth knowledge of tenant protections. These are laws that prevent a landlord from taking advantage of potential tenants. They regulate how much the landlord can charge, what can be included in a lease, how increases can be calculated, and more. These laws can save you from eviction if you are ever struggling to pay the rent.
Many Americans do not realize that rent control is a reality. They assume that the owner of a property can assert whatever rules they want to. This is why many tenants are easy for landlords to take advantage of.
You can and should read up on tenant protections in your state. It is important that you know what to expect and what to accept. However, you will not be able to get as much information as your agent already has. They can explain the different regulations to you, while using their knowledge in negotiations with potential landlords.
A lot of people end up paying much higher security deposits than are actually lawful. They end up agreeing to terms and conditions that not only don’t suit them, but that are outlawed because they are inherently unfair. Do not risk making a deal that disadvantages yourself because of a lack of information.
Having a working knowledge of the regulations yourself can help you identify if your agent is taking them seriously. Agents who disregarded these regulations in order to close a deal are not trustworthy and should be reported. However, as long as you can tell that they are keeping the landlord honest with these regulations, you will benefit from their presence.
There are dishonest realtors out there, but most can be trusted. Using an agent to rent your apartment saves you from significant issues down the line.