Adam's Rental Assistance
Updated: May 11
In this article, I go over the free resources I have available, the typically paid rental assistance that I offer to prospective tenants, some alternatives, some exceptions, rebate information, etc.
Free Information on my Website
On my website, you'll find a number of free resources available, many of which apply to prospective tenants.
1. Renting: Some basic tips
3. Renting When You Have Low Credit or Eviction History
4. Rent or Buy: Choosing which is best for you
7. Reducing Rent Costs for Tenants
10. More for Tenants
Adam's Personal Tenant Assistance
Because of the hourly fee involved for my tenant representation & the fact that everyone's needs are different, how I will help will depend on your preferences.
1. Gathering information from you to help develop the best property searches & the right questions prior to going to homes
2. Setting up an MLS feed for you to get properties sent to you as they hit the market on MLS, including to your texts if desired
3. Helping you set up searches on other websites (in person or via remote desktop)
4. Asking questions of landlords/property managers prior to property viewing if some information unique to you would rule out properties that isn't visible online
5. Going with you to properties to represent you, pointing out positives and negatives
6. Going through the lease agreement with you
7. Helping with other needs you might have, like boosting your credit, budgeting, area tours, acquiring a driver's license if you don't have one, have just moved here, and are legally able to acquire one
I do not offer property management services for landlords, only tenant representation. Here are some basic tips on what to look for in service providers.
Why an Hourly Fee?
Unlike buying a home, where the seller pays a decent amount to buyer's agents in the vast majority of cases (usually 3% of the sales price), in the rental market, landlords, if they pay anything to those assisting renters, pay very little in the vast majority of cases. If a landlord is offering a rental agent finder's fee, it's often 10% of the first month's rent, which is usually less than 5% versus what they would receive for a similar home buyer for significantly more than 5% of the work.
One of the reasons why most new full-time agents don't make it in the business is because of activities that don't make sense financially, with free rental assistance being a common one. In my own career, there were many activities that didn't make sense financially that I initially engaged in, with free rental assistance being one of them. That's one of the reasons why I only sold 3 homes in my first year of business (vs >30 in the past year at the time of this writing). In order to grow in my business, I had to say no to some things, whether free rental assistance for anyone who asked or even my favorite job ever, being a youth minister for over 4 years. I was a youth minister part-time throughout the first 4 years of being in the real estate business. After ceasing being a youth minister, my business grew by 50% or more the next year, and the year after that was around double the year prior. While there are still activities that I engage in that are charitable, such as a website I've developed for the homeless, poor, and frugal, including but not limited to offering a free credit boost and free budgeting assistance, free rental assistance for all is no longer one of my charitable activities. 87% of new full-time agents cease full-time real estate within 5 years.
Some Realtors avoid helping renters entirely. Those that do will often prioritize their other work with sales because of the low or no compensation with rental assistance, often giving those seeking to rent low-quality service. Other agents who help renters to find a place are new agents with low expertise. Others like myself are able to give renters quality service through an hourly fee, sometimes paid directly by the renter and sometimes paid by a relocation company like one that I used to work for where I helped renters for an hourly fee paid by that company.
An initial 30-minute consultation over the phone or via Zoom is free. After that, I offer rental assistance for a tiered hourly fee in South East VA including admin time like communication with those looking for a rental or the landlords/agents of prospective properties that they've inquired about, transit, & showings. For those that desire it, I can also provide area tours as I did in my previous work with Go Destination Services. That said, most renters who don't have their company paying for relocation assistance (as was the case with my work with GO) opt out of paying a Realtor to help them find a rental property & choose instead to find one on their own. Note that if I am working with a renter for more than 10 hrs, prices go up by 25%. If my work with a renter goes beyond 20 hrs, prices go up 50% from the original amount. My primary focus is on sales, not rental assistance, & so I must limit my time for that. Conversely, if the total time you need is less than an hr, I'll waive my hourly fee.
Here are the tiers for the first 10 hrs not including any finders fee (sometimes paid by landlords/property managers & would be credited towards what you would need to pay me) if applicable:
$75/hr - Final rental price at or below $1,000
$70/hr - Final rental price between $1,001 & $2000
$65/hr - Final rental price between $2,001 & $3000
$60/hr - Final rental price $3,001 & up