We live in a digital world. Websites like Zillow, Apartments.com, Craigslist, and Trulia can give you access to a seemingly endless database of apartments and homes for rent, but at what cost? Online marketplaces certainly play a role in helping renters do their preliminary research, but there are many reasons why consulting a real estate agent is still the best choice.
Unless there’s a contract stating otherwise, an agent working on behalf of a renter is a co-broker and will collect from the listing agent’s fee—a fee that you’ll pay in full whether you go directly through the listing agent or not. Property owners will sometimes pay the broker’s fee directly to the listing agent so that you won’t have to. An agent working on your behalf can easily identify these cost-saving scenarios for you.
Working with a real estate professional will make your life easier. Even with the help of an agent, finding a new place can still be time-consuming. When looking by yourself, you have to research potential properties, coordinate times to see the listings, tour the prospects, and arrange your finances before signing a lease. An agent takes the bulk of these responsibilities off your plate.
This is particularly important for people relocating to another city or even to another country. I recently helped a graduate student from Latin America secure an apartment while he was in his home country. I was able to provide him with available listings that fit his criteria (many of the listings he had pulled online were no longer available or had fine print that made them unsuitable) and interfaced with the listing broker to ensure the application and lease signing process went smoothly. Your time is valuable, agents are here to help you make the most of it.
Not every apartment for lease will make it to an online marketplace. In some cases, real estate professionals have connections with landlords that grant them exclusive rights over leasing and selling. Even if a landlord intends to list their apartment on the open market, they may first ask their real estate partner to float their property around to potential renters in an off-market deal. To get access to these units, you’ll need to be working with a real estate agent who’s privy to what’s going on behind the scenes. Senné Associates have access to some of Boston’s best listings before they even hit the market.
Landlords will sometimes list apartments above market value to maximize their profits. Agents regularly processing transactions have the most up-to-date market data and can gauge if these asking prices are fair. We know the true worth of each property and ensure you don’t overpay. Further, we may know of comparable options within the same price range that better suit your needs. Our extensive knowledge of the market will undoubtedly help you find your next apartment.
Negotiation is perhaps the most important service a real estate professional can provide. Many renters don’t realize how much back and forth goes on behind the scenes, you may not even realize you have the power to make certain requests. After years of practice, agents know what to ask for and how to ask for it. As an example, with the surge in pet adoptions during the pandemic, more renters are now looking for pet-friendly properties while many owners state “no pets.” In some cases, I’ve been able to successfully lobby on behalf of my clients’ furry friends. A good agent will be skilled in the art of negotiation and make sure you get the most for your dollar.
The final step before you can move into your new apartment is to sign the lease. Real estate professionals regularly work with lease documents and can verify if the details of your lease are standard fare. Our main purpose for reviewing these is to make sure there aren’t any unreasonable requests or stipulations. Leases are there to protect you and your investment. As a renter, you should have any paperwork you intend to sign looked at by an agent to guarantee you’re getting into a fair agreement.
While there’s no need to completely stop using online marketplaces when looking for your next apartment, there’s no substitute for having a real estate partner at your side. We’re great at helping you source apartments options and sign leases with favorable terms, and even have access to exclusive listings before they hit the market. Working with an agent is a great way to ensure you find your next apartment quickly and with ease. If you’re interested in moving soon, contact me at [email protected] or 617.640.7163 to learn more about my services and how I can help you.
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