An increasing number of real estate agents are assisting renters in finding their dream apartments, condos, and rental homes. However, it is necessary to look for a rental real estate agent because many others still focus on buyers and sellers.

Using a real estate agent in a highly competitive market, such as New York or Los Angeles, can give a renter a huge advantage. There are far more listings than those that are easily uncovered by Internet searches. Rental agents have access to listings included in the multiple listing service (MLS) database. They also know about unlisted units coming on the market.

Key Takeaways

  • It is possible to save $100 a month or more on rent by renting from individual investors or their property management companies.
  • It is harder to find these properties, but a rental real estate agent can help.
  • Agents can also negotiate better terms with individual landlords, including help with bad credit and allowing pets.
  • There is an easy way to find rental real estate agents.

Bargains From Rental Income Investors

The 2008 financial crisis caused rapid growth in rental income investing, which created opportunities for renters to save. Yields on government bonds and other investment-grade debt fell substantially. Retirees and other investors looking for steady income could no longer depend on bonds.

At the same time, real estate prices declined much more than rents. As a result, the income returns from real estate went up. Informed income investors with sufficient capital began switching from bonds to real estate investing. This substantial increase in properties rented out by individuals led to lower prices for renters.

Real estate agents are much more useful when renting from small investors. Large apartment complexes are easy to find and tend to have fixed policies.

Using Real Estate Agents to Help Find Rental Property

Renters can often save $100 or more per month by renting from an individual investor, but they might need an agent to find these properties. In many ways, searching for small rental properties is more like looking for a home to buy. The best place to start is usually a site like Zillow, which gives home buyers and renters a good idea of the prices involved and which areas to target.

Finding the right area is not the same as finding the right apartment complex. At an apartment complex, the management will always be able to tell you which units are available now and which ones will be available soon. When renting from individuals, one often needs a rental real estate agent to help find rental property.

Rental Real Estate Agents Offer Advantages

Beyond giving renters a leg-up in their search, a real estate agent can also be a powerful asset when negotiating terms with future landlords. When individual landlords are renting real estate, agents can sometimes convince them to allow pets for an additional fee.

Agents can also reduce security deposits. Alternatively, they might be able to get a prospective landlord to accept a larger security deposit if a renter does not have good credit. Agents might even be able to set up an arrangement for continuing to rent month to month at the end of a one-year lease.

Finding Rental Real Estate Agents

The easiest way to find a real estate agent who works with renters is to check local rental listings online or in your community newspaper. Keep an eye out for listings posted by real estate firms rather than property management companies or individual landlords.

Once you find a real estate agent who has posted a listing that appeals to you, get in touch by phone or email. Then, ask about the listing and if they know about similar listings. From there, you can have your agent set up showings for you.

While agents can be amazing assets for future renters, be sure to discuss fees upfront. In some markets, the renter is responsible for agent fees. In other areas, their fees are covered by property owners.