Renting a Home
For some, renting is their best option at the moment in light of their situation and the housing market in their area. While many choose to rent for poor reasons, like culture, without running the numbers first or being aware of their options to boost their credit scores for free or buy a home without a down payment, others have completely legitimate reasons for renting and it is wise for them to do so. I go over some of the possibilities on my Rent or Buy section, and include a calculator here on the subject.
If you are looking for a short term rental OR step by step instructions that can apply to a long term rental, click on my section for short term rentals here. That includes Determinations Prior to Beginning Your Search, Locating a Rental, Crime, Furnishing, & Self-Storage.
For those where renting is their best bet, credit is still a big factor. This article goes into that more.
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. 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.
I offer rental assistance for a tiered hourly fee 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 for sales, not rental assistance, & so I must limit my time with that. Here are the tiers for the first 10 hrs not including any finders fee if applicable:
$50/hr - Final rental price at or below $1,000
$40/hr - Final rental price between $1,001 & $2000
$35/hr - Final rental price between $2,001 & $3000
$30/hr - Final rental price $3,001 & up
While 90+% of listings for sale are online on MLS, a much smaller number (maybe 60%) of renter listings are on MLS.
Here are some links we have used to help people find rentals in the past.
One matter to note when dealing with any landlords directly, which is much more common when considering properties not on MLS, is that it is more important than usual to make sure that everything is documented. For instance, someone in my family had their security deposit taken because they were dealing with a private landlord who did not have as much of a reputation to uphold as a rental company. Because they did not take pictures of their space prior to going there, they had less recourse to win a small claims battle over the security deposit despite the fact that they left the space the way that they found it.
There are also a number of questions to ask landlords & property managers prior to submitting an application.